February 06, 2020

Chairman Takano Welcomes Clinical Psychologist to Spearhead Committee Strategy on Reducing Veteran Suicide

Press Contact

Jenni Geurink (202-225-9756)

Miguel R. Salazar

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) announced a key new staff hire to aid the Committee’s comprehensive, evidence based approach to reducing veteran suicide adopted last week.

“As we continue to address the public health crisis of veteran suicide, I am proud to announce that I’ve hired a clinical psychologist, Heather O’Beirne Kelly, to help guide the Committee’s efforts,” said Chairman Mark Takano. “With more than 20 years of experience in the veteran mental health care space, she will be a valued addition to our team.”

This week, the Committee made significant strides towards our 7 pillar approach for suicide prevention. Yesterday, the Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations and Women Veterans Task Force examined VA’s support for survivors of Military Sexual Trauma—a critical hearing to address goal 6: to identify and support people at risk of suicide. Additionally, the House passed the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act on Wednesday to help provide service dogs to veterans experiencing PTSD—helping address goal 5: to teach coping and problem solving skills. Heather O’Beirne Kelly, PhD comes from both a military family and a military and veteran centered professional career—on Monday, she joined HVAC’s Subcommittee on Health to help streamline these suicide prevention efforts and ensure we keep an evidence based mindset.