New California law expected to reveal veteran suicide statistics

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092217-kfsn-6pm-vet-suicide-vid (KFSN)

Wounded in an explosion, Marine Corporal Farrell Gilliam, 22, came home from Afghanistan without his legs, and with serious internal injuries. He made what seemed like a miraculous recovery. His brother, Daniel Lorente says despite the best medical care and family support, he took his own life.

"We did everything. There wasn't any much more we could have offered him, afforded him and he still decided he was done and to me that shows there needs to be funding, research," said Lorente.

Gilliam's Funeral was held in Fresno more than three years ago. Then, the family did not want anybody to know he took his own life. But now, they realize veteran's suicide should not be secret. They support Assembly Bill 242, the California Veterans Suicide Information Act which aims to show how big the problem of veteran suicide really is.

"Right now we are not counting how many veterans each day are committing suicide in the State of California, and without that information we may not be providing enough resources for those who fought for our country," said Joaquin Arambula, Assembly member.

The measure was sponsored by Fresno Assembly Members Joaquin Arambula and Jim Patterson.

"I think it's going to be a wakeup call to the rest of the United States once California's numbers start coming in because I think it will double the reportable acknowledged number of suicides every day. Right now its 20 a day, I bet it doubles and if that happens I think we can't ignore it any longer," said Jim Patterson, Assembly member.

Under the law, county coroners will be required to investigate the status of suicide victims, to determine if they were veterans, and report it to the state. The law goes into effect in 2019. The hope is the numbers it reveals will lead to more support for those who served and their families.
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