This past Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to increase efforts by the federal government to improve prevention of suicides by US military veterans. This is good news!
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday amping up efforts to prevent veteran suicide.
Veterans are 1.5 times more likely than non-veterans to take their lives, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and 20 die by suicide on average each day.
The order creates a Cabinet-level task force led by VA Secretary Robert Wilkie that will coordinate and align efforts across the federal government to help stem the crisis among former service members.
The panel will be tasked with creating a national plan to more effectively lower the numbers of veteran suicides after numerous programs and billions of dollars allocated to address the problem in recent years have had minimal impact.
I guess my first question is what took so long? He talked about helping veterans on the campaign trail and now two years into his term he first issues an executive order? We probably have lost 15,000 brave Americans to suicide in that time. According to this article we are losing 20 veterans a day. The delay doesn’t make any sense. In this case the president really has to walk the walk…but apparently he hasn’t.
It seems like the Veterans’ Administration has had suicide prevention policies in place but that they aren’t working. So now we have a president from the anti-big government party advocating more government…when we already have agencies in place to work on the issue…they just aren’t being led.
The order follows a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released in November that found VA suicide-prevention outreach “dropped off” since Trump took office. That included fewer social-media postings, public service announcements and advertisements. The agency spent only $57,000 of more than $6 million that had been budgeted for ads.
“We also found that VA did not have clear goals for evaluating the effectiveness of its outreach activities,” the GAO found.
The VA spent a pittance of the available funds for outreach? Was the president saving the other $5+ million to transfer to the wall? This is bad news. Why wasn’t there effective outreach last year? Well the VA says:
The VA attributed the drop-off in outreach to leadership changes and a realignment of suicide-prevention efforts. The agency identified veteran suicide as its highest clinical priority last year and released a 10-year strategy to address the crisis.
Change in leadership? Total lack of leadership you mean…criminy. What’s it really going to take to protect our veterans?
This is from the last paragraph in the article, please share it where you can:
Veterans needing help can call the VA crisis line by dialing 800-273-8255 and selecting option 1. They can also send a text message to 838255, or chat with counselors online.