INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly hopes to stop the rising number of military suicides by making annual mental health evaluations mandatory.
Specialist Chancellor Keesling was only 25-years-old and on his second tour of duty when he shot and killed himself in Iraq in 2009. Specialist Jacob Sexton, 21, shot and killed himself in a Muncie movie theater while on leave from serving in Afghanistan in 2009. Both men are part of an alarming trend of military suicides, RTV6's Chris Proffitt reports.
In 2012, 297 American were killed in combat while 522 committed suicide. In 2013, 118 died in combat while 470 killed themselves.
Chancellor's father, Greg Keesling, said that his son fought a quiet, internal battle.
"My son was under suicide watch during his first deployment in 2007 and the decision was made not to report it. (He chose) to hide it to help further his career and so when he got into trouble in his second deployment, his commanders didn't know -- nobody knew," Keesling said.
Sen. Donnelly has authored the Jacob Sexton Act that would require annual comprehensive mental health screenings for all active duty, National Guard and reserve personnel.
"When they come back home with the challenges they face, that they have someone to talk to to help change their lives," Donnelly said.
The legislation would also make the results of mental health evaluations private so that it can't affect military promotions.
"It will save families, wives, children, mothers from all of the pain I've had to go through and I will always go through," said Barb Sexton, Jacob's mother.
With more servicemembers returning from active duty, the concern is that the need for mental health services will escalate over the next five to 10 years.
BMV to issue $29M in refunds for registrations
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles announced Tuesday that some drivers may be eligible for tax refunds after overpaying when registering…
Program preps kids with disabilities for success
A program in the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township is making a difference for students with developmental disabilities.
IMPD arrest suspect in April 2013 murder
A man was arrested on murder charges after police accused him in the shooting death of a 31-year-old man in April 2013.
Judge resigns after investigation into business
Center Township Small Claims Court Judge Michelle Scott submitted her resignation Tuesday to Marion County Democratic Party chairman Joel…
Disparity in student discipline high in Indiana
A recent report has found the disparity in suspensions and expulsions between black and white students in Indiana are among the greatest.
Police disable 2 improvised explosive devices
Indiana State Police says its ordnance disposal team disabled two improvised explosive devices found at a Terre Haute park.