Coburn places hold on suicide prevention bill

Tulsa, Okla. (AP) _ Senator Tom Coburn says he'll continue his hold on a bill that supporters say is intended to prevent suicides among military veterans.  Coburn blocked the bill before congress left for its August break after it passed the house by a vote of 423-0.

He opposes provisions that would require mental health screening for all veterans receiving medical care. Coburn says it duplicates efforts by the Department of Veterans affairs to identify mental illness and counsel veterans who might be suicidal.

He also says the bill violates the civil liberties of vets by "tracking'' those who receive mental health services.  The bill is authored by Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa who says it's unanimously supported by veterans groups.  Harkin says the suicide rate in the u.s. Army is at a 28-year high.

(Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)