Nunn Sponsors Bill To Boost Support Of Veterans During First 12 Months Out Of Military

Washington, DC — Iowa Congressman Zach Nunn says the suicide rate among Iowa veterans in the first 12 months after leaving the military is four times higher than the national average.

He says he’s introduced a bill that would create a pilot program to offer support to soldiers as they transition to civilian life.

The bill is named in honor of Marines from Iowa and Rhode Island who served together in Afghanistan and died by suicide within a year after they left the military.

The bill would set up 10 pilot projects that would counsel exiting servicemembers about the challenges that they might face as a civilian and how that might affect their mental health. Dean and Jill Lambert of Adel are the parents of Marine Corporal Adam Lambert who died by suicide in 2015 after leaving the military. They joined Nunn at a news conference this past week to show support for the bill. Dean Lambert says the help that’s offered to returning veterans often seems too clinical.

Part of the pilot project would include group counseling sessions about things that may remind veterans of combat.

Nunn, who has served in the Air Force and the Iowa National Guard, is currently in the Air Force Reserve. His bill has both Republican and Democratic co-sponsors, including Iowa Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who is an Army veteran. The bill would require local VA hospitals to offer to schedule mental health counseling for ALL veterans within 90 days of their exit from the military.