Battling the Storm Within

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Senators Want Answers on Unspent VA Suicide Prevention Funds

September is Suicide Prevention Month. During the month, organizations provide information about identifying warning signs of suicide, increase the understanding of what leads to suicide and promote helpful resources. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)
A group of 21 Senate Democrats has asked the Department of Veterans Affairs to explain why it spent just $57,000 of $6.2 million budgeted for paid media advertising campaigns directed at suicide prevention in fiscal 2018, a deficiency they called "appalling" for its lack of oversight.
The lawmakers, led by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee ranking member Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, demanded a full accounting of the $17.7 million budgeted by VA for suicide prevention outreach, which includes both paid advertising such as radio spots, billboards and digital ads, as well as unpaid outreach such as public service announcements, social media and the VA's own Crisis Line website.

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