Trump unveils 'bold' plan to prevent veteran suicide, but critics say it's not enough
By Nikki Wentling/Stars and Stripes
JUN 18, 2020
President Donald Trump praised his new plan to prevent veteran suicide Wednesday as unprecedented, bold action against the problem — but critics argue it isn’t enough.
Trump unveiled the plan, which was three months overdue, in the White House on Wednesday afternoon, surrounded by Department of Veterans Affairs officials and veterans advocates. The plan is the result of an executive order Trump signed March 5, 2019, creating a Cabinet-level task force titled PREVENTS, short for “President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide.”
The last annual report from the VA showed that suicide among veterans continues to be higher than among the rest of the population, particularly among women. About 20 veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserve die by suicide every day.
The task force issued its 60-page plan, which included 10 recommendations. The recommendations are expected to take two years to fully implement.
The first action will be a national public service announcement, which Trump described as a “historic” campaign to help end the stigma surrounding mental health. Second Lady Karen Pence, mother of a Marine Corps pilot, will be the campaign’s lead ambassador.
The plan also focuses on improved research into veteran suicide, increased suicide-prevention training and new partnerships between government agencies and outside organizations. It includes a legislative proposal that would establish a federal grant program to fund state and local groups that help veterans.
“We’re gathered to address an especially urgent struggle,” Trump said. “Today, we’re unveiling our roadmap to empower veterans and end the national tragedy of suicide.”
Republican lawmakers praised Trump’s plan, including the GOP leaders of the House and Senate veterans’ affairs committees, Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn.
“We must do more to change the culture and conversation surrounding suicide in the public and private sectors and, most importantly, in neighborhoods across the country where the real healing work must start and end,” Roe said in a statement. “The PREVENTS roadmap shows us how, and I am confident that it will help to save and improve the lives of at-risk veterans and others for years to come.”Click the button below to continue reading the article....
The popular website “War on the Rocks,” includes an article with the headline, “Is Veterans Preference Bad for the National Security Workforce?” I’ll take a stab at answering. No!
In the July issue of The American Legion Magazine, I stress the importance of hiring veterans, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The absurdity of the “War on the Rocks” question should not be lost on anyone. Who knows more about national security than veterans? Why not ask if doctors are bad for the national healthcare workforce?
Rest assured, The American Legion will fight any attempts to weaken Veterans Preference policies. If potential employees want to benefit from Veterans Preference, they should simply visit their military recruiters.
The American Legion's success depends entirely on active membership, participation and volunteerism. The following monthly reports provide a summary of membership, participation and volunteerism making an impact in the lives of veterans, families and communities. American Legion Posts can share the many ways Legionnaires are making a difference in their communities by submitting consolidated post reports online. To view the impact American Legion posts made throughout the year, visit by the numbers.