Rep. Susie Lee and Steve Watkins Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Address Veteran Suicide Epidemic by Increasing Veteran Services Outreach

August 2, 2019
Press Release

Las Vegas, NV - Today, Rep. Susie Lee (NV-03) and Rep. Steve Watkins (KS-02) introduced the bipartisan Leave No Veteran Behind Act, which would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to reach out to veterans that they have not had contact with in two or more years, to ensure that every veteran is aware and has access to the comprehensive medical services provided by the VA. 

“Every day in this country, 20 veterans commit suicide, and the rate is even worse in Nevada, said Rep. Susie Lee. Of those 20 veterans, 14 of them did not seek medical treatment from the VA in over two years. Veterans dealing with PTSD and other mental health issues need to know that they are not in this alone, and there are medical, mental-health, and support services available to them that can help. Our nation’s veterans have earned our full support, and this bipartisan bill shows exactly that. The Leave No Veteran Behind Act will make sure every veteran knows what medical services are available to them and encourages them to seek the treatment they need, so together we can help end this country’s veteran suicide epidemic.” 

“Mental health is a serious and ever-growing concern for our nation’s veterans and I am proud to be addressing this epidemic in bipartisan fashion,” said Rep. Watkins. “The Leave No Veteran Behind Act would require the VA to streamline preventative services as well as address transportation and access needs for our veterans in rural communities. It is time we start getting serious about the mental health issues facing our nation’s veterans. “ 

"Multiple times this year we have heard the Department of Veterans Affairs repeat that 14 of the 20 veterans who end their own lives have not seen a VA doctor in more than two years,” said AMVETS National Executive Director Joseph Chenelly. “Our AMVETS family has been tremendously affected by veteran suicide and that is why we have been working with Rep. Susie Lee on legislation that will get in front of the problem. Our hope is that by requiring the VA to reach out to more veterans and help them with scheduling and transportation, more veterans will visit VA doctors, and in turn, less veterans will be affected by suicide or preventable health conditions." 

Background:

  • Nevada ranks 4th in the nation in overall suicide rate, and 6th in the nation for veteran suicide rate. 
  • In 2016, the suicide rate was 1.5 times greater for veterans than for non-veteran adults. 
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