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Holt, Runyan Call For Suicide Prevention Funds

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. April 30, 2013

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Congressmen Rush Holt and John Runyan speak to reporters at NJ World War Two Memorial in Trenton (photo by Phil Gregory)

Two members of New Jersey’s Congressional delegation are urging the House Appropriations Committee to provide $40 million to prevent suicides among military personnel and veterans.

Congressmen Jon Runyan and Rush Holt say military suicides continue to rise.

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.”

Christopher  Kosseff is CEO of University Behavioral HealthCare and runs a program that provides peer counseling for veterans

“When a problem, a financial problem, a marital problem, starts becoming a problem for them, the best thing that we can do is get them the support and the services that they need right away before it enters a crisis stage.”

East Brunswick resident Linda Bean is the mother of a national guardsman who committed suicide after serving in Iraq.

“We need to support this program. We need our legislators to support this program, and I do not know how we look a young recruit right in the eye and do any less than that.”

Congressman Runyan says the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend the country deserve support when they return home.

He’s hopeful that the funding will be approved.

“We’ve done it in the past. It’s worked out very well. Matter of fact l think last year it passed on a voice vote, but you have to be aware of it. If it doesn’t get in to the appropriations bill, you have to make an amendment somewhere else to push the funding there.”

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