Washington, D.C.—Bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives Mike Bost (R-IL) to address the troubling uptick in veteran suicides and help improve suicide prevention and mental health resources at the Department of Veterans Affairs passed the House today. The Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act (H.R. 2333) 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.
“As a veteran and a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I believe we have a duty to ensure our heroes thinking about suicide have access to the tools and resources they need to know they are not alone,” said Bost. “But we have our work cut out for us. It is truly a national tragedy that 20 veterans die every day due to suicide. We need to do better to support our veterans and service members who are struggling with mental illness. We must do better to provide the resources to our veterans who are struggling and this bipartisan legislation is a step in the right direction.”
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. 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.