June 17, 2020

Chairman Takano Responds to President Trump’s PREVENTS Roadmap to Combat Veteran Suicide

Press Contact

Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)

Miguel R. Salazar

RIVERSIDE, CA — Today, House Committee of Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) released the following statement regarding the release of the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) report:

 

“It is disappointing that the President’s PREVENTS report was advanced with limited input from Veteran Services Organizations and the lawmakers charged with implementing veterans policy and working on behalf of our nation’s veterans. Tepid calls for more research, interagency coordination, and meek public education campaigns won’t do enough to end this crisis – we have much more substantial work to do to prevent veteran suicide and ultimately help save veterans’ lives. 

 

“That’s why this Committee adopted a comprehensive framework with seven goals to ensure we examine every angle, intersection, and factor that can eliminate suicide. And it’s why I introduced the Veterans ACCESS Act in January to make sure any veteran in crisis – regardless of discharge status or VA eligibility – can receive the emergency mental health care they need without ever seeing a bill. 

 

“Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, our work on veteran suicide prevention and mental health has not abated. We discussed resources to mitigate stress and anxiety among veterans throughout the pandemic with the American Psychological Association, and we have continued to diligently work on comprehensive bipartisan suicide prevention legislation. Conversations with Veteran Service Organizations have been ongoing. 

 

“In the coming weeks, we will unveil legislation that will challenge VA to revamp efforts to improve the transition from active duty to veteran status and better address mental health needs. This legislation will also require VA to more systematically reach out to women and minority veterans at risk, mandate training in evidence-based suicide prevention techniques for all staff and contractors who encounter veterans, and ensure VA police receive regular and substantial crisis de-escalation training. Finally, it will significantly expand access to lifesaving services by providing emergency care for veterans at imminent risk of self-harm. I appreciate the roadmap’s recommendation to further lethal means safety counseling and practices, and our legislation will do exactly that.

 

“These efforts will not be a panacea, but they represent a real roadmap to addressing this crisis and preventing veteran suicide. This is the progress we need.”

 

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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