Published on Wednesday, May 7, 2008 by Agence France Presse
WASHINGTON - US lawmakers have accused the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) of being out of control and of covering up the high suicide rate among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
“The VA healthcare system has been pushed to the edge in dealing with the mental health care needs of our veterans,” Bob Filner, chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee of Veterans’ Affairs, told a packed congressional hearing about the issue of suicides among veterans.
The hearing came five months after a first round of testimonials on the same topic, and weeks after a series of internal VA emails about suicides among veterans were brought to light by a documentary on US network television.
In one of the emails, sent in February, Dr Ira Katz, deputy chief patient care services officer for mental health at the VA, wrote: “Shh! Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among the veterans we see.” Read On
18 suicides per week. 1,000 suicide attempts per month. Staggering.
Our leaders give the troops all the bullets and bombs they need to kill and be killed halfway around the world, then neglect them when they return home with psychological problems. What a disgrace. -EF Swagee