Veterans suicide prevention legislation signed into law

The bipartisan Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act has been signed into law.

The legislation was introduced in Congress by U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., and U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind. The measure was signed recently by President Donald Trump.

The bill requires the comptroller general of the United States to conduct an assessment of the responsibilities, workload, and vacancy rates of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ suicide prevention coordinators in order to address the troubling uptick in veteran suicides.

 “We lose 20 veterans each day to suicide, which is 20 too many,” Bost said in a news release.

“We have a duty to ensure veterans have access to critical tools and resources during their time of need, and this bipartisan legislation is a step in the right direction. 

“Thank you to President Trump for signing this critical legislation into law to let our veterans know that they are not alone, and that help is available.”

Bost said that suicide prevention coordinators are the face of the VA’s efforts to combat veteran suicide. 

They identify high-risk veterans and ensure they receive appropriate care, conduct outreach and promote awareness and suicide prevention best practices within VA, among other responsibilities. 

Bost said many suicide prevention coordinators report being overworked and unable to keep up with their many responsibilities. 

The Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act would help ensure these men and women have the tools and resources they need to provide veterans with critical mental health resources, Bost said.

The Gazette-Democrat

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