AMVETS is optimistic about PREVENTS plan to end veteran suicide

Julia LeDoux
June 19, 2020 - 9:34 am
Plan

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AMVETS representatives are optimistic about the effort to curb veteran and family member suicide following the release of the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End the National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) at the White House on June 17.

“It’s taken months of collaboration from numerous organizations like AMVETS, it was momentarily delayed due to the pandemic, but now we’re looking at a blueprint to heal American veterans," said AMVETS Executive Director Joe Chenelly. “It’s time to begin implementing it.”

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About 20 veterans die by suicide daily, according to VA data, which lawmakers and advocates have repeatedly called a "crisis." Those numbers have remained generally steady, or worsened, for years.

The roadmap is the culmination of a year-long collaboration of over 150 public and private stakeholders, including AMVETS. It includes the creation of a national public health campaign, "safe storage" programs for gun owners, community partnerships and improved research efforts.  

Following the release of a 2019 executive order by President Donald Trump in response to calls for more effective measures to reduce suicide among veterans, the White House Domestic Policy Council commissioned a cabinet-level task force to develop a national roadmap that includes a community integration and collaboration proposal, a national research strategy, and an implementation strategy. 

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AMVETS Chief Advocacy Officer Sherman Gillums Jr. said he was particularly pleased that the report also focuses on veteran family members. 

“Caregivers for disabled veterans and the children of service members bear their own hidden burdens and risks of suicide as they cope with a loved one who may be battling depression or post-traumatic stress,” he said. “It’s past time for a whole-health approach to confronting veteran suicide where the responsibility is shared on a broader scale. This PREVENTS roadmap and collaborative approach spreads the responsibility so that we can finally close gaps through which too many veterans fall.”

Trump also announced the inaugural recognition of PREVENTS Week beginning July 6‬, which will feature a number of events focused on key areas of engagement with the public, local governments, corporations, organizations, and other stakeholders. 

To learn more about PREVENTS, visit here.

Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the Veteran Crisis Line 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 (select option 1 for a VA staff member). Veterans, service members or their families also can text 838255 or go to veteranscrisisline.net.