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Ernst Bill Seeks Improvement Of Pentagon’s Suicide Prevention Programs

Statewide Iowa — U.S. Senator Joni Ernst is a lead sponsor of legislation calling on the Pentagon to assess its suicide prevention efforts.

Recently released data indicates there was a 15 percent increase in military suicides last year compared to 2019.

The bill directs two agencies within the military that are focused on suicide prevention to improve data collection and reduce duplication. Ernst says there also should be better training throughout the ranks on what to look for to help prevent suicides.

The number of Army National Guard soldiers who took their own life increased by 35 percent in the past year. Ernst, a retired Iowa National Guard commander, and Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, a combat veteran and retired astronaut, are the bill’s lead sponsors. More than 30 other senators from both parties have signed on as co-sponsors of the “Save Our Servicemembers” or SOS Act.

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