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Clay Hunt’s Legacy

How we can all help returning military veterans avoid the tragedy of suicide.

Edward Grinnan

What could be more tragic than a veteran who survives on the front lines of war only to return home and take his own life? What greater shock to our national conscience can there be?  

Yet by some accounts, 22 veterans kill themselves in this country every day. Not all are veterans of our recent wars, but the evidence is mounting that suicide is more frequent among returning vets now than in the past. 

Clay Hunt. Photo courtesy of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.A former Marine named Clay Hunt is doing something about this, albeit posthumously. Congress finally passed The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, and yesterday the president signed it into law in a White House ceremony attended by Hunt’s parents.  

It is too late for this act to help their son. Clay Hunt took his life in 2011 after battling PTSD. But as Mr. and Mrs. Hunt told our editorial assistant Allison Churchill, herself an Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq as a public affairs specialist, they pray the act–and their son’s death–will help save the lives of other struggling vets.

The new law makes access to mental health care easier and more comprehensive for veterans. But as the president said, “This is not just a job for government. Every community, every American can reach out and do more with and for our veterans.”

With your help we try to do our part at Guideposts. Our outreach division has worked for years with military chaplains supplying them with inspirational material for our troops. To learn more about how you can help us help our military go to The Guideposts Foundation's Military Outreach.

Meanwhile, I’m going share a powerful story from our upcoming March issue of Guideposts about how one veteran was able to stop another soldier from taking the most tragic step of all.

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