VA announces additional steps to reduce Veteran suicide

Because even one suicide is one too many


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VA has announced new steps it is taking to reduce Veteran suicide. The steps follow a February 2 Summit, “Preventing Veteran Suicide – A Call to Action,” that brought together stakeholders and thought leaders to discuss current research, approaches and best practices to address this important subject.

“We know that every day, approximately 22 Veterans take their lives and that is too many,” said VA Under Secretary for Health, Dr. David Shulkin. “We take this issue seriously. While no one knows the subject of Veteran suicide better than VA, we also realize that caring for our Veterans is a shared responsibility. We all have an obligation to help Veterans suffering from the invisible wounds of military service that lead them to think suicide is their only option.  We must and will do more, and this summit, coupled with recent announcements about improvements to enhance and accelerate progress at the Veterans Crisis Line, shows that our work and commitment must continue.”

Several changes and initiatives are being announced that strengthen VA’s approach to suicide prevention. They include:

  • Elevating VA’s suicide prevention program with additional resources to manage and strengthen current programs and initiatives
  • Meeting urgent mental health needs by providing Veterans with the goal of  same-day evaluations and access by the end of calendar year 2016
  • Establishing a new standard of care by using measures of Veteran-reported symptoms to tailor mental health treatments to individual needs
  • Launching a new study, “Coming Home from Afghanistan and Iraq,” to look at the impact of deployment and combat as it relates to suicide, mental health and well-being
  • Using predictive modeling to guide early interventions for suicide prevention
  • Using data on suicide attempts and overdoses for surveillance to guide strategies to prevent suicide
  • Increasing the availability of naloxone rescue kits throughout VA to prevent deaths from opioid overdoses
  • Enhancing Veteran Mental Health access by establishing three regional tele-mental health hubs
  • Continuing to partner with the Department of Defense on suicide prevention and other efforts for a seamless transition from military service to civilian life.

For information about VA initiatives to prevent Veteran suicide, visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/.

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Comments

  1. Larry Ray Hilburn    

    I can easily understand how a vet like myself could contiplate suicide. Used to I could get anappointment with my VA primary care physician in forty days but now after the VA fixed all that it takes ninety two days . I am overwhelmed with the care. All the Vietnam vets ever wanted was our country to care about us as much as we cared about it

  2. Candy    

    Yeah, my appeal is taking so long, I will probably be dead by the time I get it. I attempted suicide once already, but was brought back to a life of chronic pain and mental issues. I think of suicide everyday. I tried the veterans hotline a while back, waited over 30 minutes. Gave up. MST survivors are forgotten.

  3. Robert Overby    

    I have begged twice for help, and all I have gotten is an hour spot with a doc who was doing his paperwork, and a 1/2 hour with an intern, that said he was going to put me in a group session. I told him that was not what I needed (a group that was not to discuss their problems, just understand what PTSD does to people.

    I need to talk about my problem, but both the psychiatrist and intern says they can’t see me but once a month (at best)! I told them I need to talk to someone on a regular basis, but they tell me they can’t….too many veterans with psychological issues, and not enough doctors (or interns) to help.

    It may just be a matter of time until I become a statistic, unfortunately. But I guess that’s just the way it is…

    1. DannyG    

      Robert, my Brother, No b.s. I’ve tried twice; almost scared to go a 3rd round! A lot of us hear you bro…but we gotta keep on goin! As corny as it may sound, pls listen to me:
      I am a half-breed indian (cherokee), disabled American veteran, who loves this country more than he despises the government WE elected to run it! Bcuz of that gov’t, OUR country is soon to need every red-blooded American veteran, redneck, hippie, immigrant, man, woman, & child that can, to defend Her against enemies, foreign & domestic!
      I don’t like what’s going on with the VETERANS Administration, but I don’t like hearing a brother – my backup – being doubtful either! HANG IN THERE BROTHER !!

  4. JIMMY A. DELEON    

    Do like Politicians: TAKE THE PATH of LEAST RESISTANCE, therefore, more dysfunctional Vets will commit suicide¡! Then you & your 9-4 daily, monday thru thursday, entitled position will remain secure for 20-40yrs. BETTER YET, give our vEt$ lethal doses of pharmaceutical cocktail$, to initiate & speed up there suicidal process….DUH

  5. joe    

    More lip service, if it wasn’t for my wife and kids I would of been gone along time ago. I go to the VA and sit for up to four hours before anyone even remembers I’m there, ” you are still waiting Oh i am so sorry” each and ever time. I am depress my blood sugars are sky high and a 4 month appointment takes 6 months to get. I go to the VA and I feel Like I’m treated like a homeless person (everyone looks the other way). It seems like they want us to die and go away, I am ready to give up and give them their way.

  6. Bob Dangler    

    I did not have it nearly as rough as some. And for that I am grateful! I tried to work with the VA to get compensation for hearing loss (105 Recoilless Rifle team). I spent a year trying to work with them. Each time I went back they had “just one more piece of information needed”. At the end of the year I said “You know what Joe, I give up. Just forget it. I’m sure that’s what you wanted to hear from the start. A year of my life with no results. Just forget it” an hung up. I sympathize with everyone who has to wait for way too long.
    My advise it to try and ignore them. Grab your boot straps, pull up and get on with you life. May be the hardest thing you have ever done – but the alternative is unthinkable! Consider what suicide does to you family. You suffer, but they will no doubt suffer more. GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU!!!!

  7. Clifton Johnson    

    Four years ago in was diagnosed with cancer of the duodenum and pancreas. After ten abdominal surgeries over a twenty year period they found the cancer. I wonder if it was caused by the VA. In left the hospital after begging to help me die of my own volition. I checked out against the doctors advice. At the time I was on feeding tubes, urinary catheter, IVs and had lost from 172 to 142 in the 30 days in the hospital. I wanted to die. I asked my family to honor my wishes so we moved to Washington to get an assisted suicide order. The VA said no when I finally got an appointment. Washington has a law voted into law for the right to die with dignity. I couldn’t get any help. Finally in August 2015 I went to Stanford for evaluation on my own. I came home and stopped all the chemo. I now weight 168 And can eat anything except broccoli which I hate anyway. I took up banjo and now have a happy life with my wife of 46yrs. I guess what I am saying is let it all go and seek what you want and not what others want from you or for you.

    1. DannyG    

      Mr. Johnson, Brother, what a wonderful story! Thanks for hanging in there so you could share it with us. Congratulations!

  8. Wyatt Whitlock    

    There is not a lot I can do but the military taught me, if we all do the little we can we can help some. I am located in the San Gabriel Valley in SoCal, and have been trying to start a support group to take about the issues that lead veterans to take their own life. The agency I work for is committed to doing something about this. Please contact me Wyatt Whitlockand let’s help all we can.

  9. Stefan Roberts    

    Good ole VA healthcare. Been on pain meds for years and working with my primary care physician got it right , so I could function in day to day life. Then after 10 years he retired and a new dr. Took his spot and cut every vets meds in half to comply with new opioid risk assessment tool. Without even a consult . Never abused , any med given . No history of any risk. This Is unethical treatment and dr. Should be fired. Never saw Dr. To know what type of person he/she is. Been calling for two weeks without speaking to the Dr. . Almost out of meds that I’ve been taking as directed for 10 years. Contacted patient advocate as soon as I realized what the new Dr. Had done. HELP!!!

    Serviced Connected Disabled Veteran

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