VA Struggles to Curb ‘Parking Lot’ Suicides at Its Own Facilities

The VA’s top health care official is asking Americans for help in addressing the crisis of veteran suicides.

“I wish it was as simple as me saying I could do more patrols in a parking lot that would stop this,” Dr. Richard Stone, the executive in charge of the Veterans Health Administration, said Wednesday of the department efforts to curb veteran suicides and suicide attempts that often occur at its own facilities.

Stone made the remark in response to questions from the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee about three recent suicides: two over the weekend at Georgia VA facilities and one Tuesday at an Austin, Texas, VA clinic.

Stone told the Committee that more than 260 suicide attempts had been recorded at VA facilities. He did not give a time period for when the attempts were made, but said VA staff had intervened in about 240 of them and were able to save lives.

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Author: Dian Welle