Skip to content Skip to navigation

APA calls for change in White House condolence letter policy

November 5, 2010
by Press Release
| Reprints

Arlington, VA — The American Psychiatric Association is urging President Obama to reverse the current policy that prohibits the president from sending condolence letters to family members of military personnel who have committed suicide.

Under current military policy, military members who die by suicide receive full military honors, yet their families do not receive condolence letters from the president as do other service members killed in combat or in noncombat incidents in a war zone. The military has been working in recent years to address the growing problem of suicide among military personnel.

“The contributions of these men and women to their country are not less for having suffered a mental illness. A reversal of this policy to allow condolence letters to family members will not only help to honor the contributions and lives of the service men and women, but will also send a message that discriminating against those with mental illness is not acceptable,” said APA President Carol A. Bernstein, MD.

The APA joins the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health America, and others in calling for the change in policy. Both the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health America are gathering signatures on a petitions seeking to overturn the policy that prevents the President from sending condolence letters to families of military service members who have died by suicide.