Veteran suicides have always been an issue. Trump has been working behind the scenes to roll out a national plan so that suicides are addressed. It’s been part of a three-year effort to address the ongoing problem.
That’s what Trump is working on. Meanwhile, the other presidential candidate, former VP Joe Biden, has been hiding in his basement. And at least 13 of his campaign members have contributed to a bail fund that has helped criminals arrested for looting and protesting get out of jail.
How is this possible? One candidate is on the side of the veterans while the other is on the side of the criminals.
It’s a great chess move, Mr. President.
The contours of the plan has been rolled out by the Trump administration to discuss military veterans and other Americans dying by suicide. This includes improving training in the workplace, increasing public awareness, ad even changing how data is collected and used on suicides.
Currently, there are 6,000 military suicides that occur every year. By presidential executive order, a federal task force was set up last year to roadmap how to curb the rate. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, suicide is 1.5 times more common with military veterans than it is with the rest of the American population.
The 68-page report created by the task force makes 10 recommendations. Some of these include prioritizing suicide surveillance and research, creating a national public health campaign, and promoting the way research on suicides is conducted. Further, it involves partnership development in and out of the government.
It is also highly encouraged for employers and academic institutions to provide mental health and wellness practices. Brought different professions, there needs to be an increase in suicide-prevention training. The community needs to get involved to identify and promote ways to prevent suicides and elevate the issues. There is also talk of how to prevent people from using the different suicide methods – bridges, poison, and guns. The task force has also recommended streamlining access to various suicide prevention programs and funding at the federal level.
By making all of these changes, it would target not only veteran suicides but also more broadly. Suicides have increased by 35% from 1999 to 2018. Approximately 48,000 people take their own lives every single year, and it’s enough. Many of these could have been thwarted by providing various prevention programs and by identifying that people were suicidal due to training programs.
Trump has gone on record to say that there is no single solution to the issue. At an event at the White House on Wednesday, Trump said that the historic campaign will “mobilize every sector of American society to encourage heroes in need” while empowering them with prevention practices and helping veterans thrive in their everyday lives following service. He has recognized that many veterans come back from active battlefields and feel as though they are alone. They struggle with it and integrating back into society – and providing them with the necessary support can help to prevent suicide.
However, Democrats cannot simply be accepting and the fact that there is a spotlight on veteran suicide rates and the commitment to improve programs and funding. Representative Mark Takano of California, the Democratic chairman for the House committee of Veterans Affairs, has said that the 68-page report failed to gather sufficient information from veteran services organizations.
The report created by the task force took nearly a year. Takano wants to spend more time on research. While that’s great, how many more lives will be lost to suicide while research is conducted without taking action?
The VP of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) has already identified that the roadmap is a “good starting point.”
The plan will be implemented soon, along with the help of Robert Wilkie, the Veterans Affairs Secretary. Finally, our veterans can get the mental health and support that they need.