CounselorsEmpowerACA Government Affairs Blog

The ACA Government Affairs team strives to keep the counseling community connected with important legislative news, updates, and announcements that affect the profession. Questions? Want to get involved in our advocacy efforts? Email us at advocacy@counseling.org 


 

Feb 12, 2019

Suicides in VA parking lots spotlight veterans’ mental health care

A total of 19 suicides occurred at Veterans Administration facilities, including seven in VA hospital parking lots, from October 2017 to November 2018. The Washington Post examined the unfolding tragedy in a feature article titled “The Parking Lot Suicides.” The Military Times published a piece about the Post’s investigation. Many of the veterans involved suffered from PTSD. 

Twenty veterans commit suicide every day, according to VA data reports. This information illustrates the acute need for more mental health resources for veterans, especially for suicide prevention, as well as the need for hiring more Licensed Professional Counselors at VA hospitals and veteran centers. 

Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a veteran in crisis, should call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support (24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year) at 800-273-8255 (select 1); or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat or send a text message to 838255. 

Counseling Today examined the issue of veterans and suicide in Sept. 2016.

Legislation in Congress

A new bill in Congress calls for a study by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine of all veteran suicides occurring in the past five years. A review by the National Academies, a consortium of nonprofit institutions that have been providing the federal government with research on a variety of issues for more than 150 years, would provide expert advice from outside the VA, which currently has a 10-year strategy in place focused on preventing veteran suicide.

Take Action

The bill, H.R. 100, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL). To ask your elected representatives to support H.R. 100, click here, scroll to the bottom and enter your Zip code. You can then send an email directly to your congressional delegation.

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