NORFOLK, Va. — Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine spoke out Monday night about the deaths of three Norfolk-based Navy sailors.
Warner and Kaine said they are “heartbroken” and “mourning” the deaths, which Warner said were by suicide.
These deaths follow six suspected suicides among members of the crew of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington in April and May.
“The truth is that this time of year can be particularly difficult for the men and women of our armed forces who serve our nation year-round and often have to spend the holidays away from their loved ones," Warner said Monday. "Sailors should never suffer alone or in silence. I encourage any sailor who is struggling or considering suicide to reach out to the Command suicide prevention coordinator, the Navy Fleet & Family Support Center, the local command chaplain, or Military OneSource.”
Kaine also mentioned access to mental health services that were in place, and ones being considered in this year's Senate National Defense Authorization Act.
"I’m heartbroken to learn of the deaths of these three sailors, and my prayers are with their loved ones," he said.
"Last year, I worked with my colleagues to include the bipartisan Brandon Act—which would allow servicemembers to confidentially seek mental health treatment and reduce the stigma around reporting—in the annual armed services authorization bill. I’m pushing the Department of Defense to implement the bill as quickly as possible—and working to secure additional mental health resources for our armed forces through this year’s annual defense authorization bill—so we can get servicemembers the mental health services they need."
One of the measures under consideration in this year's NDAA would require a report on the rate of suicide in the armed forces after 9/11.
There wasn't any information immediately available about the names of the sailors who died, what installations they worked at, or what their roles were.
13News Now has reached out to a spokeswoman for the Navy for more information.