Veteranclaims’s Blog

July 14, 2010

Representative Mitchell Questions VA Stoppage of Successful Suicide Prevention Program

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — veteranclaims @ 10:24 pm

Full Article at: CBS News Reports Cited in Veterans Hearing
By Chris Ariens on Jul 14, 2010 03:40 PM

Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-AZ) is calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to explain why the VA has stopped airing a PSA which has helped raise awareness of the veteran suicide prevention hotline.

Rep. Mitchell chaired a hearing on Capitol Hill today examining the VA’s suicide prevention outreach efforts.

In his press release following the hearing (after the jump), Mitchell cites two reports from CBS News correspondent Armen Keteyian. The first in late 2007 documented the alarming rate of veteran suicides. Another, in July, 2008, about the launch of the PSA, featuring actor Gary Sinise, which was part of a three-month test to determine its effectiveness.

Mitchell to VA: Why Has Successful Suicide Prevention Outreach Stopped?

Urges VA to Continue to Reach out to Veterans at Risk of Suicide

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Veterans’ Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Harry Mitchell today called on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials to explain why the VA has stopped airing a successful public service announcement (PSA) which has helped raise awareness of the veteran suicide prevention hotline and saved lives.

As of April 2010, the VA has reported nearly 7,000 rescues of actively suicidal veterans, which were attributed to seeing the ads, PSAs, or promotional products. Additionally, referrals to VA mental health services increased. However, late last year, the VA told Mitchell that, despite the success, the PSAs had stopped airing [Source: Congressional Inquiry, March 2010]

The nationwide expansion of the VA’s public campaign has demonstrated significant preliminary success. In testimony delivered at today’s hearing, the VA reported that, in Phoenix, for example, the VA saw a 234 percent increase in calls from the Phoenix metropolitan area within 30 days of the start of its local media outreach campaign. [Source: Statement of Robert Jesse, M.D., Ph.D., July 14, 2010]

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