A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on veteran suicides indicates that little of the money set aside for outreach by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) was used in the past two years.
The outreach is done in the form of Public Service Announcements on radio and television as well as messages and or ads on social media.
Social media, in particular, is now considered an important way to reach troubled vets and their family members.
The report from the GAO said 20 veterans commit suicide each day and that the majority of them never had contact with the VA.
It said the VA set prevention and outreach as priorities but that outreach declined due to things such as leadership turnover and even vacant positions that are not filled.
For example, VA officials reported that leadership was often not available to make decisions about outreach programs and or to authorize expenditures.
The report said more needs to be done in 2019.
News 3 reached out to Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson who is on the Veterans Affairs Committee.
Staff told us the following:
Senator Isakson is currently reviewing GAO’s findings. Suicide prevention remains a top priority for Senator Isakson, and he is steadfastly committed to working with the VA in the next Congress to ensure it has all the resources needed to provide mental health care to veterans who need it.