Protect and serve

House passes bill aimed at curbing suicides among women veterans

US military cadets walk past gravestones of US servicemen and women. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

The House passed a bill on Tuesday aimed at identifying the Department of Veterans Affairs programs that are most efficient in preventing suicide among female veterans, after a study this summer found that women who served in the military had suicide rates nearly six times as high as those of civilians, and are more likely to commit suicide than their male counterparts. According to lawmakers, the bill would allow for the collection of data on how female service members are specifically affected by trauma. “One suicide is way too many, and the V.A., in my opinion, has to make this the highest priority,” said Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley, a sponsor of the bill. She added that it remains unclear which unique factors contribute to higher rates of suicide among female veterans, such as military sexual assault or other gender-related experiences, as most research only focused on male veterans. “Women’s experiences in the military are different than men’s — and certainly their trauma is different. There’s no data that we know of right now that spells out some of those trends.”

Read the full story at The Los Angeles Times and The Hill.


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