WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) released a statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs announced the veteran suicide rate fell 9.7 percent from 2018 to 2020.
“Veteran suicide is still too high, but we are making progress,” said Dr. Cassidy. “There is still work to do so that one day we are speaking of veteran suicide in the past tense.”
In 2020, there were 6,146 veteran suicide deaths, down 343 deaths than in 2019.
Earlier this month, the Senate unanimously passed Cassidy’s Solid Start Act to strengthen the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Solid Start program to contact every veteran three times by phone in the first year after they leave active duty. The program helps connect veterans with VA programs and benefits, including mental health resources.
In May, Cassidy also introduced the Mental Health Reform Reauthorization Act of 2022 to reauthorize and improve Cassidy’s historic 2016 mental health reform package.
After the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last summer, Cassidy led a bipartisan group of senators calling on the VA to conduct outreach to veterans who served in Afghanistan to provide mental health resources in response to an uptick in veteran suicide hotline calls.
Veterans in crisis can dial 9-8-8 and then press 1 to be connected with the Veterans Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.