Underwood Introduces Legislation to Address Veteran Suicide Crisis
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) today announced she has introduced new legislation to address the veteran suicide public health crisis. The Veterans’ Care Quality Transparency Act would ensure both the VA and outside providers are offering veterans high-quality mental health and suicide prevention services. Underwood spoke about the legislation in a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on veteran suicide yesterday.
Full video of Underwood can be found here.
“In Illinois, the suicide rate for veterans is almost double the rate of the general population. Not only are these numbers troubling in my home state, but they are the reality for veterans across the country. While I commend the VA’s efforts to address suicide among veterans, much more must be done to curb this national crisis. The Veterans’ Care Quality Transparency Act will help address this growing crisis and ensure veterans receive quality mental health and suicide prevention services from the VA and with outside providers,” said Congresswoman Underwood.
More than 7,300 veterans, servicemembers, reservists, and members of the National Guard die by suicide each year—around 20 per day. Underwood’s legislation would direct the Government Accountability Office to assess the effectiveness of memoranda of understanding and agreement that the VA has entered into with entities providing mental health and suicide prevention services, to ensure that they are providing high-quality care. The bill ensures the review provides information specifically on the veterans being served who are women, minorities, seniors, as well as veterans’ families.