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June 11, 2015

Aguilar Amendment to Curb “Staggering” Suicide Rate Among Women Veterans Passes House

Last night, Rep. Pete Aguilar’s (CA-31) amendment requiring the Department of Defense (DOD) to address the rising rate of suicide in female veterans passed the House unanimously.  The amendment was added to H.R. 2685, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016, which funds the DOD.  The amendment funds a study of the causes and ways to address the higher rate of suicide in female veterans, which was reported earlier this month in a new study in the journal Psychiatric Services in Advance.

 “Our brave men and women in uniform risk their lives every day to keep us safe and free, yet they often don’t get the care they deserve and need when they return home. While attention has been given to the subject in the past, we have recently seen a conspicuous need for research that deals with the high suicide rates among our female service members and veterans. This week the LA Times reported on a recently released study which found that female military veterans commit suicide at nearly six times the rate of other women,” said Rep. Aguilar.

He continued, “We need to do better by the women who risk their lives to protect our nation– we cannot sit idly by while our female service members and veterans suffer in silence. My amendment would set aside $1 million to study the possible causes for this level of suicides among our women in uniform. Service-related causes like traumatic brain injuries and PTSD, in addition to non-service related factors such as adverse childhood experiences, financial troubles, and other external stressors, must be investigated if we hope to seriously confront this travesty head on.”

Rep. Aguilar’s amendment was adopted by voice vote and added to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which passed the House. Rep. Aguilar sits on the House Armed Services Committee and is a member of the Work for Warriors Caucus.