State Rep. Matt Willhite (D-District 86) recently filed HM 909, urging the United States Congress to recognize the epidemic of suicide among veterans and to fully fund suicide prevention efforts by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
According to the 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, there were 6,139 veteran suicide deaths in 2017 — an average of 16.8 veteran suicide deaths per day. Veterans have reported difficulty when transitioning to civilian employment. Often times, the highly developed skills that veterans obtain while they are in the military do not translate to higher-level civilian jobs. This can result in economic disparities, unemployment and even homelessness.
“These brave men and women sacrifice so much to defend our country and our democracy. As such, it is imperative that we, as a country, do all that we can to honor their sacrifice and support them when they come back home,” said Willhite, who is a veteran. “Florida has 1,525,400 veterans, making us the state with the third-largest veteran population in the country. We must lead the nation in urging the United States Congress to recognize the current crisis of veteran suicide and fully fund suicide prevention efforts.”