Banks and Peters Introduce Bill to Establish Support Network to Support Servicemembers’ Mental Health
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

On Tuesday, Congressmen Rep. Jim Banks (IN-03) and Scott Peters (CA-52) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Daniel Somers Network of Support Act, which would create a network of support for servicemembers and their families. These networks are intended to improve servicemembers’ mental health by engaging directly with families on the challenges servicemembers experience, potentially preventing isolation and suicide.

The bill directs the Department of Defense (DoD) to establish a Network of Support, a pilot program that will provide friends and family of servicemembers a better understanding of the rigors, challenges, and needs associated with military service. The American Red Cross would collect contact information from people servicemembers designate in their networks of support, and the Department of Defense would send updates to those networks.

This bill is named after Army Veteran Sergeant Daniel Somers, who died by suicide in 2013 after two tours in Iraq, suffering traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress. Sgt. Somers’ parents, Howard and Jean Somers live in Coronado and are Rep. Peters’ constituents. Since their son’s death, the Somers family have become powerful advocates for reforming access to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) services and improving servicemembers’ transition from the DoD to the VA.