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Uploaded on Jul 7, 2011
President Obama has reversed a longstanding U.S. policy to deny presidential condolence letters to families of soldiers who have committed suicide, saying he hopes it will help reduce the stigma associated with the mental health costs of war. Service member suicides have increased as some troops serve repeated tours of duty and suffer post-traumatic stress. The new condolence letter policy went into effect this month, but will not apply retroactively. Mental health and troop advocacy groups welcomed the change but said those who die outside war zones also should be recognized, and that more should be done to prevent suicide among service members. Democracy Now! speaks to Gregg and Jannett Keesling, parents of Chancellor Keesling, a U.S. soldier who took his own life during his second tour of duty in Iraq; and Kevin Lucey, whose son, Jeff Lucey, took his own life after returning home from military duty in Iraq.