Kuster Joins Horsford for Panel and Policy Discussion on Veteran Suicide Prevention
(Washington, DC) – Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) joined colleagues Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04) and Rep. Deb Haaland (NM-01) to lead a panel and policy discussion on veteran suicide prevention to explore solutions for improved access to mental health services for veterans.
“I am alarmed by the rising numbers of suicide within our veteran community,” said Kuster. “The high rate of suicide among our nation’s veterans is a stain on our collective conscience – it is our responsibility to ensure these men and women have access to the mental health services they need upon returning to civilian life. I was glad to join my colleagues and hear from experts today to discuss solutions.”
“As Members of Congress, veterans service providers and concerned citizens, each one of us has a role to play in developing the community support that can help save the lives of those who served our nation,” Congressman Horsford said. “I hope today can serve as an opportunity to bring to light the flaws and setbacks of Congress’ current approach to suicide prevention policy, and yield new ideas to improve the federal government’s response to the veteran’s suicide crisis.”
Kuster sat on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs for six years where she helped introduce the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which was later signed into law. During the August work period, Kuster convened a discussion with local stakeholders, VA officials, and military families who have lost a loved one to suicide to explore opportunities to improve access to mental health services. In September, she testified before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs to advocate for bipartisan action to increase access for survivors of military sexual assault seeking mental health services.
The panel included the following participants:
George Mitchell - Deputy Director of Health Policy for The American Legion
Adrian Atizado - Deputy National Legislative Director for Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
Roscoe Butler - Associate Legislative Director for Paralyzed Veterans of America
Rick Trimp - President of LivingWorks
Cherissa Jackson - Chief Medical Executive of AMVETS
Richard Egan – Suicide Prevention Training and Outreach Facilitator for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services