Video: Sen. Murray urges greater accountability, assistance for veteran suicide prevention at Senate hearing

Sen. Murray questioned VA Secretary David Shulkin about VA’s efforts to prevent veteran suicide, including status of implementation of several suicide prevention programs at VA that have stalled  

Sen. Murray: “When it comes to suicide prevention policy, anything less than 100 percent compliance is unacceptable.”

September is Suicide Prevention Month

(Washington, D.C.) –  Sen. Murray, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, pushed the Department of Veterans Affairs to do more to prevent suicide among veterans during a Senate hearing today on the state of VA’s suicide prevention efforts. At the hearing, Sen. Murray questioned VA Secretary David Shulkin about the VA’s progress on several efforts to combat and prevent veteran suicide, including why the VA has not implemented recommendations from its Inspector General’s office to comply with multiple suicide prevention policies and practices at VA. Sen. Murray also asked Sec. Shulkin for updates on the status of the VA’s Crisis Line after failing to provide monthly updates as promised and how VA’s REACH VET initiative could help reach veterans at risk of suicide who do not use VA facilities for care. Additionally, Sen. Murray urged VA to do more to reach out to and better serve women veterans. During the hearing, Secretary Shulkin committed to providing monthly updates.

“When it comes to suicide prevention policy, anything less than 100 percent compliance is unacceptable,” said  Sen. Murray during the hearing.

According to a recent analysis of veteran suicide data released by VA, after accounting for differences in age the Veteran suicide rate in Washington state was nearly double the suicide rate of Washington state’s general population in 2014, the last year for which data was available, with Western states overall accounting for the highest rates of veteran suicides. According to VA, 20 veterans commit suicide every day, including 14 veterans who are not under VA’s care.  Veterans in crisis, or those who know a veteran in crisis, should contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, text 838255, or chat online at www.veteranscrisisline.net.

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