VA Secretary Wilkie says new executive order will help combat veteran suicide crisis

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- A high number of veterans continue to commit suicide every day. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday aiming to address the epidemic across the country.

It’s not the first time the administration is trying to combat the issue, but this new order creates a task force that is meant to come up with a national plan. Department of Veterans Affairs statistics show 20 veterans are taking their lives every day.

A Government Accountability Office report came out in November of last year saying VA suicide prevention outreach declined between 2017 and 2018, and that leadership in charge of those activities lacked consistency. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie says under his leadership the department is taking the crisis head on. He says this new executive order will build on what’s already being done.

“We’ve expanded the number of people in our suicide prevention office. We have meade permanent our suicide director who was the Pentagon’s top expert on suicide. So we are widening the aperture when it comes to our response,” said Wilkie.

Veterans that need immediate help can call the VA crisis hotline 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 to talk to someone.