Four important points from the House veterans suicide prevention hearing

This week, the House Veterans Affairs committee met with VA officials and important persons from the non profit sector to discuss veterans suicides. According to the 2021 report, Florida remains one of the leaders in cases of veterans suicides (story HERE) and has not allotted a great deal of funding towards prevention for next year.

The hearing, which last a few hours can be viewed below.

Here are some important takeaways from the discussion.

Delivery of data is presenting challenges: One of the questions that I hear in Orlando, is why suicide data takes two years to be relayed by the VA? The problem appears to be getting the data from the CDC. This must change. While the pandemic has overloaded the agency, we must make a commitment in the future to do better as soon as possible.

Experts say the pandemic is an aggravating factor but how much is unclear: This is because of the lag in data stated above. The VA said the isolating effects on the pandemic are taking it’s toll but until the numbers have arrived we won’t know any statistics.

All parties cited veterans having problems coping with the withdraw from Afghanistan: It’s been well reported that veterans have had problems with the mission in the Afghanistan coming to an end, and all of the testimony before the committee confirmed that. An emphasis on readiness for helping veterans have troubles was relayed.

There are discrepancies in reporting of how quickly veterans are being seen for care: VA representatives are reporting that vets can be seen on the same day as having problems. Other entities were reporting that some vets were having to wait up to 8 weeks to get care.

The good news is that we’re talking about this important topic. But we’re seeing inconsistencies in the information, and that’s if we’re getting the data to begin with.

We still have much work to do.

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