AMVETS’ Statement Regarding the Call to Action to Curb Veteran Suicide (PREVENTS Initiative)

For Immediate Release

Contact: Miles Migliara

National Communications Manager

(301) 395-7486

media@amvets.org

1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Mar. 5, 2019 – AMVETS applauds President Trump’s national call to action to curb veteran suicide through an executive order entitled the “Presidents Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End the National Tragedy of Suicide,” or PREVENTS.

AMVETS, through our HEAL Program, has worked tirelessly to avert the crises that often lead to suicide for veterans facing transition and recovery issues.

While we know, on average, how many veterans commit suicide a day nationally, we can never really know why since the answer often dies with the individual. For that reason, we believe suicide statistics should be a gateway to further study, not to be treated as settled fact without contemplating what lies beneath or what more can be learned.

The president’s executive order aligns with this school of thought by calling for additional research that goes beyond what limited and outdated data on veteran suicide tell us. Also, AMVETS is glad to finally see an emphasis on collaboration across federal agencies as well as at the state and local levels in an effort to study and address holistically the factors that cause one to choose death over life.

With that in mind, it will be critical for this executive order to go beyond policy and have actual impact at the frontlines, in VA medical centers, PTSD clinics, residential treatment facilities, state agencies, local communities, and on military bases. It also begs the question of what steps our government will take to actively curb veteran suicide while this blueprint is being developed over the next 365 days. If the statistics hold true over the next year, over 7,000 lives will be lost before full implementation is realized. The reality is “crisis” has no patience, and neither should we.

That said, AMVETS intends to work with the administration, federal agencies, and local entities to ensure the collective effort to save lives continues as this executive order is put into effect.

AMVETS is the nation’s largest and oldest Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization that is open to and fights for all veterans who served honorably, including reservists & guardsmen. AMVETS has been a nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families for more than 70 years. amvets.org

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March 5th, 2019
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