The VA’s Suicide Prevention Efforts are Struggling

Thousands of veterans with disabilities continue to take their own lives, even with the implementation of suicide prevention programs at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). According to an article in Stars and Stripes, the problem seems to be getting the veterans into the programs in the first place.

During recent testimony, multiple veterans groups spoke about the VA’s suicide prevention efforts as being “marginally effective” in preventing the “epidemic of suicides” among veterans.

The problem is that veterans are unaware of how to even locate necessary VA services or apply for their earned benefits. Even when they do find VA help, many veterans find the frustration in actually “accessing these services” too much to handle. On average over the last fiscal year, 950 veterans already enrolled in VA health care programs attempted suicide every month, and almost 800 succeeded, according to the VA.

There have also been complaints about wait times at VA health clinics for those seeking help with mental health issues. Senators told the VA those wait times “may be jeopardizing the health of an entire generation of veterans.”

The VA, however, claims it’s “making progress” and cited to the number of calls made to its suicide prevention hotline and the number of suicides that have been prevented through those efforts. Those efforts are limited, however. As one lawmaker pointed out, it isn’t the soldier that will reach out for help, but the soldier’s family. Those people need to be targeted by prevention efforts as well.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from Veterans Help Group is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veterans disability rights firm today 1-855-855-8992.