Washington, DC – Third District Rep. Jim Banks celebrated the bicameral passage of H.R. 2333, the Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act.
The bill requires the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct an assessment of the responsibilities, workload and vacancy rates of the Department of Veterans Affairs Suicide Prevention Coordinators.
Suicide Prevention Coordinators are the face of the VA’s efforts to combat veteran suicide. They identify high-risk veterans and ensure they receive appropriate care, conduct outreach, and promote awareness and suicide prevention best practices within VA, among other responsibilities. Many Suicide Prevention Coordinators report being overworked and unable to keep up with their many responsibilities. The Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act would help ensure these men and women have the tools and resources they need to provide veterans with critical mental health resources.
“Our country loses nearly 20 of our heroes a day,” said Banks. “This rate has remained virtually unchanged since 2005, despite increasing VA mental health funding by 250%. Our VA Suicide Prevention Coordinators – those at the forefront of this epidemic – need our support to best serve our heroes in need,” Banks said.
“I am proud to co-lead this legislation to require GAO to review the training, workload, and staffing at VA to ensure that our Suicide Prevention Coordinators have the tools and resources they need to assist veterans in crisis. I would like to thank my colleagues, Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) and Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Jon Tester (D-MT) for their partnership on this measure and I urge President Trump to quickly sign this critical legislation into law.”