September 20, 2019

Chairman Takano Reaction to New VA Data on Veteran Suicide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) released the following statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs released their new data detailing suicide rates among veterans in 2017.

“As Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I’ve made addressing veteran suicide my top priority-- but these numbers make it clear we’re not doing enough. This new data reaffirms the urgent need for Americans to immediately act to address veteran suicide, and it serves as a sobering reminder that we cannot take our minds off this crisis for one second.

“The suicide rate among veterans is 1.5 times higher than the rate for non-veteran adults and sadly, the rate of suicide among women veterans specifically, is more than 2.2 times higher. We must continue to push through and find new, creative solutions to reduce veteran suicide.

“Particularly heartbreaking is the rate at which veterans have died by suicide on VA property. That’s why I called for a nation-wide stand-down to ensure all VA staff have the training they need to care for veterans in crisis to assess whether all facilities are equipped with key safety features, and to discern any gaps in policies or procedures that we can fix. We should not look solely to Congress, the VA or our Veteran Service Organizations for all the answers. But I know that together, we can find a way to truly be there for our veterans in crisis.” 

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.

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Miguel R. Salazar