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Statement: IAVA Applauds VA’s Bold Steps to Reduce Veteran Suicide

WASHINGTON (March 8, 2016) – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) released the following statement in response to the Department of Veterans Affairs announcement on new action to combat veteran suicide. Following IAVA’s recommendations at the Feb. 2 national summit, “Preventing Veteran Suicide–A Call to Action,” the VA will elevate its Suicide Prevention Office to the Office of the Secretary and fully resource it in a continued effort to prevent veteran suicides.

“IAVA is gratified that the VA has moved swiftly to follow our recommendation to elevate the Suicide Prevention Office. Elevating this office to the level of the Secretary and building a line-itemed budget to support surveillance, research, outreach and strategic partnerships within the VA Suicide Prevention Office will be critical to ensuring its ability to meet its mission,” said Jackie Maffucci, Ph.D., IAVA’s Research Director.

“IAVA commends Secretary McDonald for his commitment to supporting this and other initiatives recommended at the VA’s summit in February. IAVA will continue to work closely with the VA and the VSO community to ensure that the final plan for this elevation and expansion meets the intent of the recommendation. This includes an estimated $80 million appropriation and the hiring of new staff to properly resource these four areas of focus, which would remain under the leadership of the current Director of the Suicide Prevention Office,” Maffucci concluded.

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.