S 579

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 579

To amend title 10, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Defense to provide members of the Individual Ready Reserve, Individual Mobilization Augmentees, and inactive members of the National Guard who served in Afghanistan or Iraq with information on counseling to prevent suicide, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 15, 2011

Mr. LAUTENBERG introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services


A BILL

To amend title 10, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Defense to provide members of the Individual Ready Reserve, Individual Mobilization Augmentees, and inactive members of the National Guard who served in Afghanistan or Iraq with information on counseling to prevent suicide, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Sergeant Coleman S. Bean Reserve Component Suicide Prevention Act'.

SEC. 2. SUICIDE AMONG MEMBERS OF THE INDIVIDUAL READY RESERVE AND INDIVIDUAL MOBILIZATION AUGMENTEES.

    (a) Finding- Congress finds that a veteran who is either a member of the Individual Ready Reserve, an Individual Mobilization Augmentee, or an inactive member of the National Guard and is not assigned to a unit that musters regularly and has an established support structure is less likely to be helped by existing suicide prevention programs carried out by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

    (b) In General-

      (1) SUICIDE PREVENTION- Chapter 55 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding after section 1074l the following new section:

`Sec. 1074m. Suicide prevention for members of the Individual Ready Reserve, individual mobilization augmentees, and inactive members of the National Guard

    `(a) In General- The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that each covered member receives a telephone call described in subsection (b) not less than once every 90 days during the period in which--

      `(1) the covered member is a member of the Individual Ready Reserve;

      `(2) the Secretary determines that the covered member is an individual mobilization augmentee; or

      `(3) the covered member is a member of the inactive National Guard.

    `(b) Counseling Call- A telephone call described in this subsection is a call from properly trained personnel to determine the emotional, psychological, medical, and career needs and concerns of the covered member.

    `(c) Referral- (1) The personnel making a telephone call described in subsection (b) shall refer a covered member identified as being at-risk of self-caused harm to the nearest military medical treatment facility, accredited TRICARE provider, or other private provider in accordance with paragraph (3) for immediate evaluation and treatment by a qualified mental health care provider.

    `(2) If a covered member is referred under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall confirm that the member has received the evaluation and any necessary treatment.

    `(3) In carrying out paragraph (1), the Secretary shall refer a covered member to a qualified private mental health care provider if the Secretary determines that such private provider will ensure that such member will receive treatment and assistance without delay.

    `(d) Reports- Not later than January 31 of each year, beginning in 2013, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on--

      `(1) the number of covered members who have been referred for counseling or mental health treatment under this section, as well as the health and career status of such members; and

      `(2) any resource, regulatory, or statutory issues that may be impeding the counseling calls under this section from reaching all covered members.

    `(e) Covered Member Defined- In this section, the term `covered member' means--

      `(1) a member of the Individual Ready Reserve described in section 10144(b) of this title who has deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq in support of a contingency operation on or after September 11, 2001;

      `(2) a member of a reserve component who the Secretary determines is an individual mobilization augmentee who has deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq in support of a contingency operation on or after September 11, 2001; or

      `(3) a member of the inactive National Guard who has deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq in support of a contingency operation on or after September 11, 2001.'.

      (2) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1074l the following new item:

      `1074m. Suicide prevention for members of the Individual Ready Reserve, individual mobilization augmentees, and inactive members of the National Guard.'.

    (c) GAO Report- The Comptroller General of the United States, in cooperation with the Secretary of Defense, shall submit to Congress a report on suicide among covered members (as defined in section 1074m(e) of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsection (b)), including how many such members who have separated from service have committed suicide.

    (d) Use of Peer Counseling- Consistent with the findings of the August 2010 report titled `The Final Report of the Department of Defense Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide by Members of the Armed Forces', the Secretary of Defense shall develop, evaluate, and more widely disseminate programs (including peer-to-peer counseling) that promote--

      (1) connectedness between members of the Armed Forces and the family, peers, and the immediate chain of command of the members; and

      (2) suicide risk identification and response with particular emphasis on members of the Reserve Components.

END