Completely Unacceptable | 2 Veterans Die by Suicide at 2 VA Hospitals in Georgia

According to the Atlanta Department of Veteran Affairs, a veteran died by suicide on Friday, April 5, in a parking lot at the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin, Georgia. Then, a second incident took place on Saturday, April 6, where another veteran died by suicide outside the main entrance of the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Decatur, Georgia on Clairmont Road.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office GAO-19-66 report, “The Veterans’ Health Administration had a total budget of $17.7 million for its suicide prevention and mental health media outreach for fiscal year 2018, of which $6.2 million was obligated for suicide prevention paid media. As of September 2018, Veteran’s Health Administration said it had spent $57,000 of its $6.2 million paid media budget. Veteran’s Health Administration officials estimated that they would spend a total of $1.5 million on suicide prevention paid media for fiscal year 2018 and indicated that the remaining funds would be de-obligated from the contract at the end of the fiscal year and not used for suicide prevention media outreach. Veteran’s Health Administration officials indicated that the reason they did not spend the remaining funds on suicide prevention paid media in fiscal year 2018 was that the approval of the paid media plan was delayed due to changes in leadership and organizational realignment of the suicide prevention program. As a result, Veteran’s Health Administration officials said they limited the paid media outreach in fiscal year 2018 to activities that were already in place, including 25 keyword search advertisements, 20 billboards, and 8 radio advertisements in selected cities across the United States.”

Of course, VA officials have repeatedly stated that suicide prevention is one of its top priorities. With the current number of veterans being at approximately 9 million (752,000 veterans in Georgia alone), can we really depend on that statement? What steps are you willing to take to help circumvent this from happening again?

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