- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A bipartisan group of lawmakers will unveil new legislation Wednesday to address a recent spate of high-profile veteran suicides and an uptick in suicide rates.

The bill, offered by New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi, and co-sponsored by Republican Reps. Jim Banks and Mike Bost, will require a review of the current training, workload and staffing at VA centers.

The announcement comes in the wake of renewed calls that not enough is being done to confront the enduring problem of elevated suicide rates at Veterans Affairs facility, after three U.S. military veterans died by suicide on VA properties in Texas and Georgia over the span of five days earlier this month.

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In the past 18 months, at least 23 veterans have lost their lives to suicide at VA medical centers, according to VA data.

“Twenty veterans die by suicide every day. This is wrong and unacceptable, and we must do more,” said Rep. Brindisi said in a statement to The Washington Times. “Our bill is an important step to improve VA suicide prevention resources and ensure all veterans have access to the life-saving mental health care they need.”

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano said he supported the measure and said it highlighted the lack of information needed to combat the issue

“It’s clear we’re not doing enough to support our veterans when they need it most,” the California Democrat said.

Any veteran, family member or friend concerned about a veteran’s mental health can contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255. Trained professionals are also available at www.veteranscrisisline.net.

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