Norfolk, Va. — Virginia State Senator Tim Kaine visited the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC) in Norfolk, on Tuesday.
This was Senator Kaine’s second visit to MARMC since December.
Tuesday’s visit with Rep. Bobby Scott and Secretary of the Navy Carlos del Toro included talking with service members about accessing mental health care.
“Are there enough services to provide? Are people comfortable coming forward if they need help? Those are the things we have to deal with,” said Senator Kaine. “There are certain aspects of the circumstances under the people who work there that add pressure. On what can already be a stressful job.”
The visit also comes as mental health among seafarers has been in the news for nearly a year.
These include Four apparent suicides linked to MARMC News 3 learned about late last year. At the last examination, the cause of their death is still under investigation.
In April 2022, Three suicides were linked to the USS George Washington When the carrier docked in Newport News.
“I think, whether it was a very long posting ashore while the ship was being refitted, or whether it was due to something physically beyond your control, or if you were in that different capacity that wasn’t exactly what you thought you were going to do, how do we make sure you still “You still understand that you have a really important goal,” said Senator Kaine.
Kane also touched on additional resources to assist military personnel assigned to MARMC.
“They now have a chaplain and a couple of counsellors, kind of integrated into that workforce, they didn’t have before October 2022,” Kane said. “This gets great praise from the command down to the rank and file.”
Kane said one of the issues that came up during Tuesday’s visit was how long it took to get an appointment at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth.
“Is this a resource issue? Is this a workforce issue? Is this something unique to Portsmouth, or to this community that is different in other communities,” Keane asked. “If we’re not doing well, getting people in when they need it, we obviously have work to do.”
in December, Ken said The 2023 National Defense Bill that passed the Senate last month would help provide military personnel with access to mental health services.
Meanwhile, he told News 3 on Tuesday that he wants to dig into the issues discussed after this latest visit to Hampton Roads.
He said, “I am in conversation with family members who have been through this, who have had a family member in the military who died by suicide.” “I’m in a conversation about what was helpful and what wasn’t, what the gaps were, and what more could be done.”
He was a MARMC sailor who died by suicide last October Cody Decker, 22.
Cody’s mom, Melissa Weil, spoke with News 3 Tuesday night about Senator Kane’s visit.
“I’m glad he’s visiting, and it’s heartening that Senator Kaine has taken such a positive approach and interest in trying to get to the root cause of some of these issues and address access to opportunities to get help,” Will said. “I really appreciate Senator Kaine advocating and lobbying for more resources and awareness and access points and anything to help get the support of these sailors. I also appreciate his work to try to get Brandon Law outlet. I feel like someone is listening.”
Last September, Representative Scott sent a letter to the Department of the Navy. Del Toro urges that a director of mental health be appointed at every Navy and Marine Corps facility.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing a mental health crisis, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.