At Committee Hearing, Kuster Questions Secretary Wilkie on Failure of VA to Utilize all Available Resources to Prevent Veteran Suicide
The full video can be watched HERE
(Washington, DC) – Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02), a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and the lead Democrat on the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, questioned Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie about a recent GAO report that found a dramatic decline in spending on outreach to veterans about suicide prevention programs. The VA estimates that 20 veterans commit suicide every day.
“I’m outraged that efforts to make veterans aware about programs that can support them in times of crisis and prevent suicide have declined,” said Kuster. “The tragically high rate of veteran suicide is a stain on our conscience and we must do everything possible to help save lives. Today I heard a commitment from Secretary Wilkie to prioritize this crisis, but sadly this report shows a steady decline in veteran outreach since 2016 that has not been addressed under his tenure. I stand ready to hold VA leadership to their commitment to address this issue. Lives depend on it.”
The full report is available here.
In October, Kuster helped introduce the Enhancing Veterans Experience with Telehealth Services Act (eVETS), bipartisan legislation to improve access to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment via telemedicine. The bill seeks to remove barriers that stand in the way of vital, evidence-based treatments for veterans with PTSD.