Congressman Scott Peters

Representing the 52nd District of California

Helping Veterans in Crisis

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Rep. Scott Peters Banner

October 10, 2018

Dear Friend,

It's deeply troubling that our service men and women might return home from battle only to take their own lives because they are tortured by something they experienced during their service. I asked the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) how they are working with the Department of Defense (DOD) to curb veteran suicide during a meeting of the Veterans' Affairs Committee.

I was joined by the Somers family from Coronado, who lost their son, Daniel, to suicide after he suffered post-traumatic stress (PTS) following his service in Iraq. They are now tireless advocates for fixing and reforming the broken health care system at the VA.

Increasing Collaboration

Vets Suicide Hearing

Watch my remarks here.

The National Director of Suicide Prevention for the VA said they would like more information from the DOD about risk factors for suicide. The VA could identify mental health issues sooner if they had access to information about servicemembers’ promotions, disciplinary action, and family support systems.

I also asked what kind of outreach was being done for veterans with other than honorable discharges. Only 115 servicemembers nationwide are enrolled in suicide prevention programs specifically tailored to them, and the VA agreed more outreach was needed.  

Fighting for San Diego Veterans

San Diego has the third largest population of veterans in the country, many of whom are battling mental health issues. Veterans who have experienced homelessness in the last year are particularly at risk, with suicide rates almost double those of veterans without a history of homelessness. We’ve made progress with the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, which assists San Diego veterans in their search for affordable housing, but there is still work to be done.

I will continue fighting for mental health care and homelessness services for San Diego veterans and will work with both the VA and the DOD to find solutions that ensure we don’t lose another veteran to suicide.