Today, Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, issued the following statement in response to the new Department of Veterans Affairs report on veteran suicides:
"The VA's report reveals that, despite a dramatic increase in the number of VA resources and programs devoted to suicide prevention, the number of veterans committing suicide has remained relatively stable for the last 12 years. This is beyond unacceptable. It is not enough that suicide numbers aren't getting worse. They aren't getting better, and that means the VA has much more work to do."
"Perhaps more troubling is the report's finding that demographic characteristics of veterans who die by suicide are similar among those who access VA care and those who don't -- raising serious questions about the efficacy of the VA's mental health care and suicide prevention services. Unfortunately, this is nothing new. Over the past two years, the committee has held a number of hearings on VA's mental health care, revealing a complex bureaucratic system fraught with lengthy delays and unconnected care."
"The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs will hold a full committee hearing Feb. 13 entitled, "Honoring the Commitment: Overcoming Barriers to Quality Mental Health Care for Veterans.' The hearing will continue to explore systemic issues with the delivery of mental health care through the VA. We expect the department to come ready and willing to get to the bottom of perhaps the most important question this report raises: Is the VA's complex system of mental health and suicide prevention services improving the health and wellness of our heroes in need?"