Veteran suicides testify to a healthcare travesty

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The Department of Veterans Affairs has said that preventing veteran suicides is a top priority. Unfortunately, a new inspector general report suggests the department is failing in its mission.

The report found that more than 1 in 10 VA staffers hadn’t completed their mandatory suicide-prevention training. As the report put it, “Lack of training could prevent staff from providing optimal treatment to veterans who are at risk for suicide.” The report blamed a lack of oversight for this noncompliance. It’s only the most recent example of government-run healthcare failing military veterans.

Back in 2016, the VA’s former suicide hotline director revealed that over one-third of emergency calls weren’t being answered. Instead, many were passed along to backup centers — where they often went straight to voicemail. This matters, or should matter, because suicide remains the second-most common cause of death for post-9/11 vets. Since 2001, more than 125,000 veterans have taken their own lives. Between 2001 and 2020, the average number of daily veteran suicides increased .

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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