Chairman Takano Announces Hearing on Veteran Suicide Prevention
Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)
Washington, DC. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) announced a full Committee oversight hearing entitled, “Veteran Suicide Prevention: Innovative Research and Expanded Public Health Efforts.” This critical hearing comes as part of Chairman Takano’s priority to reduce veteran suicide, especially in light of the withdrawal in Afghanistan that has deeply impacted our nation’s veterans. This two panel oversight hearing will give the Committee an opportunity to examine new and ongoing suicide research and prevention efforts at VA and hear directly from Veterans Service Organizations about the mental health issues their members are currently facing. The fully virtual hearing will take place on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at 10:00 AM EST. Mental health resources are available for veterans who need them here.
“Last Congress, we made major progress in the fight to reduce veteran suicide by passing two bipartisan, bicameral bill packages to support suicide prevention efforts—but we still have more work to do,” said Chairman Takano. “At this week’s markup, I took exception with calls that we delay VA infrastructure funding until we had the opportunity to discuss the events in Afghanistan. I know the withdrawal has reopened old wounds for many veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors, which is precisely why I found it so essential that we ensure important resources are available for veterans, that they work, and adequately meet veterans’ needs. That cannot happen if we delay funding for the critical infrastructure needed to house and support these resources.
“Both my staff and I have been in constant contact with VA and VSOs since the withdrawal—from those conversations I know that VA has done an exceptional job providing mental healthcare resources and conducting outreach to post-9/11 veterans, but I’m eager to know more about any immediate or unique concerns related to the withdrawal and how VA is addressing them. Next week’s hearing will give us a critical opportunity to take stock of VA’s new and ongoing suicide research and prevention efforts and see how VA can continue to lead in this space. This hearing will also provide valuable insight as my staff continues to create a bipartisan mental health legislative package to bolster VA’s work, and it is my hope Ranking Member Bost will collaborate with me on this.”
Today’s announcement comes after the Committee’s successful markup and passage of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda this week, which directs $18 billion in funding to rebuild VA’s physical infrastructure, invest in its workforce, and update the support structures that serve veterans.
Full hearing details below:
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
FULL COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT HEARING— FULLY VIRTUAL
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at http://VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.
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