National Defense Authorization Act will help those in active duty and veterans

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WASHINGTON, DC – Defense bills passed in both the House and Senate last week.

NewsChannel 34’s Morgan Wright shows us how New York lawmakers are using the National Defense Authorization Act to battle active duty and veteran suicides.

<{Congressman John Katko, R/NY} Everyday in this country there’s literally thousands of people attempting to take their lives.

New York Congressman John Katko says concerns over suicide extend to our servicemen and women.

{Congressman John Katko, R/NY} you always have the normal stressors of life, and then you go into the military with additional stressors.

Katko says the new National Defense Authorization Act requires the Department of Defense to develop programs reducing the stigma of suicide, PTSD, and other mental health issues.

{Congressman John Katko, R/NY} We’ve got to properly recognize that and embrace the fact that it happens it’s okay and we can deal with it.

Fellow New York Congressman Anthony Brindisi says National Guard members are especially in need of the care.

{Congressman Anthony Brindisi, D/NY} According to the department of defense the national guard has the highest rate of suicide of any component of the armed forced. This is unacceptable.

As part of of the NDAA Brindisi and Katko’s legislation allows members of the National Guard and Reserves to access VA Vet Centers for mental health and counseling.

{Congressman Anthony Brindisi, D/NY} historically national guard members have not been able to utilize veterans centers for their mental health care.

While President Trump threatened a Veto… Brindisi doesn’t expect that to stop the bill.

{Congressman Anthony Brindisi, D/NY} Im very happy that House passed this legislation with a veto proof majority…

Brindisi and Katko both say changing the stigma over mental health will help save the lives of service members.

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