March 5, 2019
President Donald J. Trump | The White House
President Trump is signing an Executive Order on the “President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide”—the PREVENTS Initiative.
- The Executive Order establishes a task force that includes the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs, Defense, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security.
- The task force will develop a comprehensive public health roadmap for helping veterans pursue an improved quality of life and ending the national tragedy of veteran suicide.
- The roadmap will include a national research strategy for engaging with public- and-private sector stakeholders to better understand the underlying factors of suicide, and to lead to earlier identification and intervention.
- The roadmap will also include a proposal for equipping State and local governments with the resources and tools they need to empower veteran communities and provide needed services.
- To prevent suicide, the Federal Government must work side-by-side with partners across all levels of government and with the private and non-profit sectors.
- The Administration’s roadmap will help create a national and local ecosystem that cultivates active engagement with each veteran, rather than a passive system wherein the onus for engagement is placed on veterans.
A NATIONAL TRAGEDY: Veteran suicide is a national tragedy that has taken too many of our Nation’s heroes.
- Despite significant efforts and billions of dollars invested, suicide rates among veterans rose 26 percent from 2005 to 2016.
- In 2016, the suicide rate was one and a half times greater for veterans than for non-veteran adults.
- Each day, an average of 20 service members and veterans die by suicide, nearly 70 percent of whom are not engaged with the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) for their healthcare.
- Veterans often endure traumatic experiences—either emotional or physical—which make them susceptible to mental health issues.
STRENGTHENING VETERAN SUPPORT: This Executive Order will amplify the existing efforts of the Trump Administration to improve quality of care for our veterans.
- President Trump previously signed an Executive Order directing his Administration to improve access to mental health treatment and suicide prevention resources for veterans.
- President Trump secured a record $73.1 billion in funding for the VA to provide quality medical care for our veterans.
- This included $8.6 billion for mental health services and $206 million for suicide prevention.
- The President revolutionized the VA healthcare system by signing the VA MISSION Act.
- The President has expanded access to telehealth services to help reach more veterans, including through his “Anywhere to Anywhere” VA healthcare initiative.