Indiana Guardsman’s Suicide Leads to Legislation

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — All members of the military will receive annual mental health assessments under a provision of the national defense bill inspired by the suicide of an Indiana National Guard soldier.

The defense bill that cleared the Senate Friday includes the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act. The bill now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly, who introduced the legislation, says Specialist Jacob Sexton of Farmland was home on a 15-day leave from Afghanistan in 2009 when he took his own life in a Muncie movie theater at the age of 21. He says the Sexton Act will ensure the U.S. is focused not only on the military's “physical readiness but also mental readiness.”

Governor Mike Pence issued a statement praising the passage of the legislation.