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Former Army Captain Melissa Bryant to Testify on Veteran Crisis Line 

WASHINGTON, DC (April 3, 2017) Tomorrow, Tuesday April 4 at 10:00am ET, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) Director of Intergovernmental and Political Affairs, Iraq War veteran and national voice on veteran policy, Melissa Bryant, will testify before the House Veterans Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C.. Bryant will speak on issues surrounding the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) after national media reports surfaced describing long hold times and missed calls among other challenges.

Bryant, who recently provided a moving personal testimony at a press conference introducing the bipartisan Deborah Sampson Act to fully recognize and support women veterans, will present IAVA’s assessment of ongoing concerns with the VCL and recommendations to improve the service. She will address the needs of women veterans who rely on the VCL and other critical services.  
IAVA has been a leader in the fight to combat suicide for over a decade, from supporting the Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Act of 2007 to leading the fight for passage of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act signed into law in 2015. IAVA continues to make suicide prevention for troops and veterans a top priority in its Policy Agenda. The IAVA Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP) serves veterans with total mental health case management and partners with the VCL. To date, RRRP has referred nearly 200 veterans in crisis to the VCL. 

WHO: IAVA Director of Intergovernmental and Political Affairs, Melissa Bryant 

WHEN: Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 10:00am ET 

WHERE: 334 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515. The hearing can be streamed live at veterans.house.gov and will be posted on the IAVA website following the hearing 

Note to media: Please email press@iava.org if you would like a copy of the testimony or would like to arrange an interview with IAVA Director of Intergovernmental and Political Affairs, Melissa Bryant or any other expert at IAVA. 

She Who Borne The Battle: More than 345,000 women have deployed since 9/11. Women are the fastest-growing segment of the veteran population and that trend will continue as the number of male veterans simultaneously declines over the next five years. However, many female veterans are left without the proper care to support their needs when they return from their service. She Who Borne the Battle will change this by providing a foundation of public awareness, local support and policy changes solely targeted at supporting and empowering female veterans. Learn more at SheWhoBorneTheBattle.org

IAVA is the leading voice of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in Washington D.C. and communities nationwide. Led by veterans, our non-partisan advocacy work ensures that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families are supported, protected and never forgotten. Since 2004, IAVA has been a juggernaut in Washington D.C., creating and driving the national conversation on issues ranging from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) to women veteran issues to veteran unemployment. IAVA’s dedicated staff in Washington, D.C. leads this work, advocating on behalf of our members daily. We also train our member veterans to be powerful advocates for their local community.

 IAVA is focused on results and has delivered historic impacts. Every year since 2007, in an increasingly gridlocked political environment and with an extremely limited operating budget, IAVA has passed at least one major piece of groundbreaking legislation for our community ranging from the Post-9/11 GI Bill (2008), to the VOW to Hire Heroes Act (2011), to The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act (2015). 

See IAVA’s Advocacy Program Digital Hub for the full list of victories, our extensive policy recommendations and to learn more about how you can help.

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.