White House plan on reducing veterans suicide will all come down to implementation

The White House recently released it’s new strategy to stop veterans suicide (HERE). Here in Florida, it’s an especially important issue where we’re among the leaders in this tragic category.

Most of the main points in the plan are strong.

Reducing access to “lethal means” like medication, and firearms when applicable.

Enhancing transition care and crisis management.

Increasing access to care.

Addressing risks and improving research.

All of these are points that make sense and there is consensus that it’s the right course of action.

But the concerns arise in the same regards that everything else does when involving policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

And that’s implementing the plan.

It’s something we can never get right. Most of it falls apart at the senior levels of VA health care bureaucracy. It’s often laziness that spills into a lack of oversight at facilities leading to veterans getting missed.

When it comes to matters of suicide prevention, it’s often the last hurdle to some of our bravest men and women taking their own lives.

And it’s all preventable.

We love announcements and presentations but until we can actually start saving lives then it’s all theater.

Let’s hope we see a reversal of the trends here.

There are a lot of good people on the other side of the phone in the process. They’re waiting to help veterans and prevent a tragedy.

And the possibility of extending a life is what it’s all about. To prevent a family from grieving and to allow an individual to continue doing great things with their lives.

Let’s focus and let’s get it right.

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