Monday, September 2, 2019

Chairman Takano Congress is doing too much of the wrong things on suicide prevention

Congress is not doing enough to prevent suicides tied to military

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 2, 2019

Chairman Takano,
Your video is far from what is necessary to prevent suicides among citizens who served in the military and are currently serving. The rates prove that. They have gone up since the "suicide awareness" efforts began over a decade ago.

How much time do you think Congress should get before before the families show up in Washington or at your offices in your districts?

Suicide Prevention actually means they are being prevented...not simply passing bills that pretend to be any different from the ones that have already been written and funded by all other sessions of Congress before your Chairmanship.

What is not clear is why there has been so little effort in finding out what all of you have gotten wrong before it is all repeated.

What is not clear is why no one has been held accountable for any of it. Not the military when their suicide rates are at an all time high. Not the VA when more veterans are doing their own suicide awareness by committing suicide on VA property. No one, including members of Congress have ever apologized to the families left behind by for this complete total catastrophe.

There are people at the VA who do know what works and why it works, but Congress will not listen to them. There are people in the military who do know what works and why it works, but again, no one listens to them.

Why? Because what works does not cost as much as the drugs being given. It does not cost as much as paying for private mental healthcare providers who do not even begin to understand military culture. Oh, not that their track record was any better in the civilian community they used to serve, since according to the CDC civilian suicides have gone up every year too.

Stop doing too much of the wrong things and calling it suicide prevention, since results prove you wrong. Given the fact that we have had enough evidence of the rise, we also know about the calls to the Suicide Prevention Hotline going up, more calls to 911 and veterans facing off with police officers. It is futile to continue with all that is being redone now, to have results like these.

So please, stop what you are doing long enough to actually listen to different voices. Listen to those who have been out there doing the work that does actually prevent suicides, prevents families from falling apart, prevents veterans from becoming homeless and above all, from losing hope.
Veterans already know how to die. They need to be made aware of reasons to live!


Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) released the following Video Statement to mark the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Awareness month and reiterate his Call For A VA Wide Stand-Down to address the crisis of veteran suicide.
VA stand down
Full text of the Video Statement below:

I am Congressman Mark Takano, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Today marks the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month-- and with 20 veterans, servicemembers, reservists, and members of the National Guard dying by suicide a day, it’s clear we have a national public health crisis on our hands.

In April, following 3 suicides on VA property in 5 days, I directed this Committee to work in a bipartisan manner to address the national crisis of veteran suicide and made it this Committee’s top priority.

We acted immediately and since then have held hearings, and passed 5 bills to address this crisis.

And yet, with each suicide, it becomes more clear our country is not doing enough. We need new solutions. That’s why I’ve called on VA to institute an immediate nation-wide stand-down to address this crisis.

Over the next 15 days, I’m asking VA to:

(1) Ensure all VA staff are fully trained
(2) Assess facility infrastructure
(3) Identify gaps in policies, procedures, and resources
We cannot keep delaying action. Americans must know that key policies are already in place, that VA will enforce them, and trust that senior VA leadership will be held accountable.

Until VA has a top suicide prevention official in place to implement these programs, veterans can’t have confidence in VA’s ability to care for them in a crisis. While Americans should take this month to have real conversations about suicide across this country, I’m asking VA to do more than talk. I’m asking them to back up their policies with clear, concise actions.

If you or a veteran you know is in crisis, you can call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1(800) 273-8255 and press 1, or text 838-255.

We must do more to “be there” for our veterans in crisis.
Press Contact
Jenni Geurink (202-225-9756)

Miguel R. Salazar

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