In the second week of its six-week campaign, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is dedicating this week to its legislative goals and research on veteran suicide and mental health.
An average of 20 servicemembers and veterans die by suicide every day, and IAVA’s own research has found that 59 percent of members know a veteran that took their own life.
“Reducing the number of veterans that die by suicide has been a key concern for IAVA.”said Tom Porter, Executive VP for IAVA. “As members of the armed services, our veterans have experienced collective trauma as well as other unique challenges. Our federal government has a duty to provide the mental health support, resources, and accessible care to the servicemembers that have fought to defend our country. We are eager to work with Congress and the Biden administration to continue to address the pressing issue of veteran suicide.”
IAVA has made addressing veteran suicide a top priority for over a decade and worked alongside legislators to pass the bipartisan Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, the most comprehensive veteran suicide bill passed to date. This vital legislation includes much-needed updates related to transition assistance, mental health care, care for women veterans, and telehealth care as well as care for at-risk veterans who do not use the VA. We call on the House and Senate VA committees to exercise strong oversight on, and to work closely with newly confirmed VA Secretary McDonough and VSOs toward implementation of the new law.
Additionally, IAVA has advocated for the expansion of accessible mental health resources, including the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, enacted last year, which designated 9-8-8 as the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. This new IAVA-backed law will make it possible for all Americans in need, including veterans, to be connected with resources and care in seconds.
This year, IAVA will continue to advocate for the VA and all relevant government agencies to more aggressively fight the growing rates of veteran suicide, including implementation of the new aforementioned legislation. Learn more about IAVA’s work on mental health and suicide prevention here.
IAVA also provides free services to any veteran in need through its flagship program, the Quick Reaction Force (QRF), which offers 24/7 confidential peer-to-peer support, comprehensive care management and resource connections for veterans and their families. The full scope of the program and ways to connect to QRF can be found here.
IAVA is the voice for the post-9/11 veteran generation. With over 400,000 veterans and allies nationwide, IAVA is the leader in non-partisan veteran advocacy and public awareness. We drive historic impacts for veterans and IAVA’s programs are second to none. Any veteran or family member in need can reach out to IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force at quickreactionforce.org or 855-91RAPID (855-917-2743) to be connected promptly with a veteran care manager who will assist. IAVA’s The Vote Hub is a free tool to register to vote and find polling information. IAVA’s membership is always growing. Join the movement at iava.org/membership.