Feb 3 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate unanimously passed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act, co-sponsored by Senator Tillis.

The legislation directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct annual evaluations of the Department’s mental health care and suicide prevention programs to gauge their effectiveness and make any necessary improvements or changes. A community pilot program is also established to help veterans in their transition from active duty and improve their access to mental health care services.

The bill is named after Clay Hunt, a Marine veteran who earned a Purple Heart in 2007 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon returning home, Hunt was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) but encountered significant hurdles reaching out to the Department of Veterans Affairs during his many attempts to receive proper care. Hunt took his own life in 2011 after failing to receive the care he needed.

“The Clay Hunt SAV Act will help improve veterans’ access to critical mental health care resources and services upon their return home from active duty,” said Senator Tillis. “This is the first of many steps Washington needs to take to honor our commitment to the brave men and women who serve our nation. We must continue to improve the delivery, quality, and efficiency of care at Veterans Affairs facilities in North Carolina and across the country. I look forward to working on a bipartisan basis to improve care for America’s veterans.”