With 63 or more New Jersey veterans lost to suicide every year, a bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joann Downey, Roy Freiman and Yvonne Lopez would make it easier for the State to create public service announcements (PSAs) regarding veteran suicide prevention. The legislation was advanced by the Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
Under the bill (A-1001), the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMAVA) would be permitted to accept voluntary gifts, grants and donations from the public and private sector for the purpose of funding PSAs intended to help prevent veteran suicides.
Upon the measure advancing, Assembly sponsors Downey (D-Monmouth), Fremain (D- Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon) and Lopez (D-Middlesex) issued the following joint statement:
“Every life lost to suicide is a devastating tragedy for those who knew and cared about that person. Each week, another veteran in our state dies by suicide, taking a heavy toll on our communities. Allowing the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to receive donations for PSAs will help them raise awareness about this critical issue. We need to encourage and share relevant information with veterans and their loved ones about healthy ways to seek help for suicidal ideation. We must work together to support struggling veterans in order to save lives.”
The legislation now heads to the Appropriations Committee.