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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 17, 2017 03:15 PM
From: Representative Peter Schweyer
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution Designating September 2017 as “Military Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania
In the near future, I plan to introduce a resolution that would designate September 2017 as “Military Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.

This legislation would focus attention the suicide rate of veterans returning from recent deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. A Department of Veterans Affairs study found that nearly 8,000 veterans committed suicide in 2010, an average of 22 veterans per day. That particular suicide rate is nearly 50 percent higher than the suicide rate among civilians of similar demographics.

In 2012, an Austin, Texas newspaper, The American-Statesman, investigated the deaths of 266 veterans in Texas who served during either the Iraq or Afghanistan war. The study found that 45 of the 266 veterans committed suicide, making it the fourth-leading cause of death behind illness, accidents, and drug-related deaths. During the same period of time, suicide accounted for just 3.6 percent of total deaths statewide. This data stands in stark comparison with the 16.9 percent suicide rate among the veterans investigated by the newspaper.

This resolution would bring attention to the need for additional suicide prevention efforts and awareness in Pennsylvania. Designating September as “Military Suicide and Prevention Month” in Pennsylvania would expand upon other observances, World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10th) and World Suicide Prevention Week (September 8th through September 14th) that bring attention to the need of creating a greater public awareness of suicide in our communities and to the alarming trend among our military veterans.

I hope you will join me in sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HR489