September 01, 2020

Chairman Takano Marks Beginning of Suicide Prevention Month

Calls for promoting connectedness during COVID-19 pandemic

Press Contact

Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)

Miguel R. Salazar

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, House Committee of Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) made the following statement to mark the beginning of Suicide Prevention Month. 

 mt - suicide prevention month

 Full video remarks can be found here

 

“Suicide Prevention Month is a chance to reach out to our friends, neighbors, and family members who may be experiencing a mental health crisis-- especially if these individuals are veterans,” said Chairman Takano. “Each day, 17 veterans, reservists, and National Guard members die by suicide. Sadly, many veterans do not get the support they need--that is why I have made preventing veteran suicide the top priority for the Committee. Working off of the CDC’s seven-pillar approach to prevent veteran suicide, the Committee is continually working on legislation that addresses every angle and intersection that can lead to a veteran dying by suicide – this includes the pillar of promoting connectedness, something that has been particularly important as communities across the country practice physical distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.  While we may not be able to physically be with those in crisis, a simple phone call, a handwritten letter, or even a text message can go a long way to let a veteran in crisis know that you are there for them. I hope you’ll join me in reaching out to a veteran you know today.”  

 

So far this summer, the Committee has introduced ten veteran suicide prevention bills to require outreach and mental health care to American Indians and Alaska Native veteransensure every VA has a Suicide Prevention Coordinator on staff,  increase access to virtual mental healthcareprovide peer support to veterans’ families,  expand VA telehealth careevaluate the effectiveness of VA’s REACH VET programreform VA Policeexamine VA’s Solid Start programimplement the Zero Suicide Initiative, and mandate suicide prevention training for community health providers. On September 10, the Full Committee will gather to discuss 25 bills that address veteran suicide including key fixes to the Senate’s bill package, Chairman Takano’s Veterans ACCESS Act, and additional legislation that covers gaps identified by mental health experts, stakeholders, and the White House PREVENTS Task Force.

 

If you or a veteran you know are struggling, contact the Veteran Crisis Line 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 and select option 1, or text 838255. For more information about the Committee’s efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis and resources available for veterans, please visit: https://veterans.house.gov/covid-19.

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