Sen. Sinema visits White House to discuss veteran suicide prevention
PHOENIX — Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was at the White House on Wednesday for a briefing and discussion on veteran suicide prevention.
Sinema met with Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie and a bipartisan group of lawmakers to discuss efforts on how to curb an issue she says is meaningful to her.
Among the topics discussed was Arizona’s Be Connected program, a community-based approach to preventing suicide.
“We need to change the way we talk about suicides and especially veteran suicide in our community,” Sinema told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos in the Afternoon on Wednesday.
The first-term senator said she will continue efforts to pass legislation and create awareness about veteran suicide.
Sinema’s Sgt. Daniel Somers Network of Support Act was in the Senate-passed version of the defense bill, and the U.S. House included the legislation in its version of the bill in September.
The legislation was introduced after Sgt. Daniel Somers, an Arizona Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq and was diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD upon returning home, committed suicide in 2013.
Arizona most recently experienced suicide from a veteran in September, when an 86-year-old died in Cave Creek, according to a press release from Sinema.
“Veteran’s suicide continues to be a pervasive problem not just in Arizona but across the country,” Sinema said.
Editor’s note: If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24/7 at 800-273-8255.