Two members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation are urging the House Appropriations Committee to provide $40 million to prevent suicide among military personnel and veterans.
U.S. Reps. Jon Runyan and Rush Holt say military suicides continue to rise.
During a news conference at the World War II memorial in Trenton, Holt says the funding is needed for counseling and outreach programs.
“It’s not enough to say, ‘If you feel suicidal, if you have problems, we have programs, give us a call.’ We have to go to where the soldiers and veterans are and make sure that they know they are not alone,” said Holt, a Democrat.
Ruynan, a Republican, said the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend the country deserve support when they return home.
East Brunswick resident Linda Bean, the mother of a National Guardsman who committed suicide after serving in Iraq, said counseling and outreach efforts can help save lives.
“We need to support this program. We need our legislators to support this program,” Bean said. “I do not know how we look a young recruit right in the eye and do any less than that.”
Runyan said he’s hoping awareness of the suicide problem will convince his fellow lawmakers to approve funding for the prevention program.