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 .