Chairman Takano: “Congress’ and VA’s efforts to meaningfully reduce veteran suicide are moving in the right direction”
Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)
WASHINGTON, D.C —Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) made the following statement after the release of the Department of Veterans Affairs 2021 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, which notably showed a decrease from 2018 to 2019 in veteran suicide deaths. Mental health resources are available for veterans who need them here.
“I’m so heartened by today’s data signaling that Congress’ and VA’s efforts to meaningfully reduce veteran suicide are moving in the right direction.
“The report highlights a decrease of seven percent in the adjusted suicide rate for veterans in 2019—the largest decrease in a single-year observed since 2001. And it’s no surprise, because 2019 was the year that VA implemented a true public health model approach, with both community-based and clinically-based prevention strategies. It’s an approach that I directed my Committee to follow in our work to reduce veteran suicide, and it was the guiding force for my Veterans’ COMPACT Act that passed last year—today’s data show that this approach is working.
“The data also reflected a double digit decrease of 13 percent to the one-year suicide rate for women veterans, the largest rate decrease for this group in 17 years. Our Committee has worked ceaselessly to increase outreach to some of our most at-risk veterans, including women, LGBTQ+, and Native veterans, and these data drive home the importance of providing resources and support to all of America’s veterans.
“While this is good news, there is still work to do. These statistics should remind us that our work should be guided by evidence-based approaches, and that we must continue to fight for expanded lethal means counseling for all veterans, cultural competency for community providers, and ways to support the transition from servicemember to veteran.
“2020 and 2021 have been difficult for many who served and we still do not know how events in Afghanistan or the COVID-19 pandemic may affect our veterans in the months and years to come. Suicide is preventable, and while a public health approach is essential, we all have a role to play in reducing veteran suicide. It is critical that we continue to reach out to the servicemembers and veterans in our lives and not hesitate to seek help.”
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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