OKLAHOMA CITY – The full Senate approved Senate Bill 234 Tuesday to designate September 22 of each year as Veteran Suicide Awareness Day. Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, authored the measure that honors and brings awareness to the 22 veterans who end their lives each day.
“Data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shows that Oklahoma lost over 100 veterans to suicide in 2020,” Bergstrom said. “Nationwide, we lose 22 veterans a day to suicide. These statistics are heartbreaking, and the goal of SB 234 is to bring awareness to the lives we lose each day and raise further awareness to the mental health issues affecting our servicemen and women, including post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.”
Bergstrom added that the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs currently oversees the Oklahoma Governor’s Challenge, which is the state’s effort to reduce veteran and service member suicide, with the goal of eliminating these losses altogether.
“I am thankful for state and national efforts to get mental health help for veterans and their families,” Bergstrom said. “We must keep working and continue to offer resources for these brave individuals who have made countless sacrifices for our country and our freedom. I encourage all Oklahomans to mark their calendars for September 22 as we honor those veterans we lost too soon.”
The House of Representatives will now consider SB 234. Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, is the principal House author.
For more information, contact: Sen. Micheal Bergstrom at 405-521-5561, or email Micheal.Bergstrom@oksenate.gov.