News Releases

“I am deeply disturbed by the news that the VA’s preliminary data show a dramatic increase in veterans suicide between 2005 and 2007.   We will be looking closer into this data in the coming weeks and months, but it is clear that the duty of providing mental health services and outreach to our returning veterans is still a challenge to the VA.

“The preliminary data suggests that access to VA services is making a difference in suicide prevention.  This is good news.  But if we are truly going to make a difference, we need a more comprehensive effort.  We must do more to reach out, break down the barriers to seeking mental health care, and back up those efforts with enough resources to ensure that when a veteran goes into the medical center asking for help, the VA can offer the best care possible.

“I appreciate the release of this data and the work that Secretaries Shinseki and Gates are doing to address this serious problem across the country.   Both the VA and the DoD have stepped up to make it a national priority that we bring these numbers down.  But we clearly still have a lot of work to do.

“As we step up our efforts in Afghanistan, these numbers serve as a lesson that we must be ready with the care and resources our servicemembers need as they deploy and that our veterans will need as they transition home from the battlefield.  I will continue to work with VA and DoD leadership to make sure fulfill this duty to our servicemembers, veterans and their families.”