Brindisi introduces bill to help prevent veteran suicides

Local News

Congress continues to grapple with what it can do to help save the lives of Veterans who survive active duty and return home only to die by suicide.

The latest effort at the Capitol comes from Congressman Anthony Brindisi.

It’s called the Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act.

The bill is designed to find ways to support VA Suicide Prevention Coordinators who find themselves overwhelmed.

NewsChannel 34’s Morgan Wright reports these overworked, underfunded, sometimes understaffed operations can make the difference between life and death for a suffering veteran.

“One veteran lost to suicide is one too many.”

New York Congressman Anthony Brindisi says veteran suicides continue at a crisis level.

“We’re losing over twenty veterans a day.”

Brindisi says Congress must help America get a grip on the issue, and this week Congress passed his bill designed to identify exactly what more the VA needs to help stop the senseless deaths.

“It takes a look at our suicide prevention coordinators who are really the front line of defense at the VA to assess veterans.”

Congressman Brindisi says he thinks the VA needs more resources to support suicide prevention coordinators, who are over-worked, and can’t manage their caseloads.

“We have to make sure that we have enough of these professionals in the field who are in the VA’s who can respond to the needs of our veterans.”

Shawn Skelly, Commissioner of the National Commission on Military National and Public Service, says the VA must improve its outreach.

“Seventy percent of veterans don’t access the veterans department.”

Skelly says the military needs to change its culture surrounding, asking for help.

“Even when you’re a civilian to admit that I need help, that my time in service still requires me to seek assistance.”

Congressman Brindisi says if the Senate will pass his bill, he believes the President will sign it. 

In Washington, Morgan Wright.

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