When Clay Hunt left the Marine Corps, he struggled with post-traumatic stress and he also tried to help other veterans who were in the same boat. He also battled the red tape many of them were trying to claw their way through to get mental health care. And it became too much. He locked himself in his apartment and killed himself in 2011. He was 28.
Since then, his parents, Richard and Susan Selke, have been outspoken advocates for suicide prevention and today they will be at the White House when President Obama signs the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.
Clay Hunt’s parents Susan Selke and Richard Selke deliver remarks during a signing ceremony for the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in the Rayburn Room at the U.S. Capitol February 10, 2015 in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The legislation is designed to increase access to mental health care for veterans. It also addresses the shortage of mental health care professionals working with the Department of Veterans Affairs by setting up a student loan program for men and women who want to go into that field.