Navy leaders and Congressional representatives address persistent mental health issues in service disrupted by recent suicide crisis after touring facility where four sailors committed suicide in just over a month I swear that
Lawmakers point to a 2021 law meant to provide assistance and ask why it hasn’t been fully enforced by the Pentagon.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., visited the Naval Maintenance Center in Norfolk, Va., on Tuesday with Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro to find out why the unit closed down. We have made an effort to better understand the In November 2022, a series of suicides occurred.
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Speaking to reporters after the tour, Kane said del Toro admitted he needed to do more for his crew.
“We owe you more than we currently provide,” Kane said del Toro told sailors.
Aside from four suicides at a maintenance center, the Navy has been unable to disclose a string of suicides aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington. The last suicide aboard that ship occurred in April 2022.
Two of the Navy’s top sailors recently said a suicide problem in the service has kept them up at night.
Kane linked the two suicide clusters by explaining that both commands had large units of sailors who did not clearly understand their purpose in the navy.
In the case of aircraft carriers, senators and seafarers interviewed by Military.com described their day-to-day lives far from what they expected while on duty.
“I thought you were probably going to do something on the water, but you’re in a completely different situation, a noisy construction site. It’s probably not what you thought,” Kane said. explained.
“It can sometimes lead to a sense of ‘What is my purpose?'”
On the other hand, the maintenance center has a large scale of 400 to 600 seafarers out of about 1,500 who are there on part-time orders, including those on humanitarian orders, pregnant or postnatal conditions, or those on limited duty. We have a delegation.
“There’s a group of people there… they don’t know. Will they be there for a year or will they be there for three years? What’s the next step?” Kane said.
The senator said both the percentage of seafarers “who may be working in command under limited duty conditions” and the time it takes for someone to see a doctor for mental health problems are key to the solution. He suggested that he might be part of it.
Kane also highlighted a problem pointed out by others in Congress, which is that a major law aimed at providing military personnel with easy access to mental health treatment has not yet been implemented. It’s a fact.
The Brandon Act, named after Brandon Caserta, who died by suicide in 2018, was passed last year but has yet to be implemented by the military.
Kane attributed the delay to tensions between the Pentagon and a key provision of the law designed to allow military personnel to confidentially seek mental health help.
“Do we want to provide a more confidential pass, or do we want it to be more normal to talk about it?” Kane said, “These things are kind of [cross] Sometimes in terms of how to implement them. ”
Military.com reported on the case of a sailor who, in the process of seeking help for a mood disorder, was drug tested for cannabinoids, a family of drugs related to marijuana. The sailor denied having used the substance, but the results were reported to the ship by a doctor and he was convicted of drug use.
Kane said, “I’ve seen this movie before. We’re doing a good thing…now we have to stay with it to make sure it’s implemented in the spirit it was intended for.” I have to,” he said.
The senator added that implementing the law “will be my focus going into the NDAA this year.”
“Take care of each other,” Del Toro told crew members at the maintenance center.
“Talk to each other and find out what you’re struggling with,” Del Toro said, according to Navy records provided to Military.com.
“Let me assure you that this is one family. Yes, I say this from experience.”
— Konstantin Toropin can be reached at email@example.com. follow him on twitter @ktoropin.
Related: What the death of a sailor who took his own life aboard the George Washington reveals about the Navy
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