Rep. Anthony Brindisi

Trump signs Brindisi’s Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act to give VA more tools to address suicide crisis

President [Donald J.] Trump signed the bipartisan Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act, authored by Congressmen Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Mike Bost (IL-12) and Jim Banks (IN-3), into law. Brindisi, a champion for Upstate New York veterans, authored the legislation to help address the suicide epidemic hurting our veterans. Twenty veterans, service-members, reservists and members of the National Guard die by suicide every day.

“One veteran life lost to suicide is too many,” Brindisi said. “I hear from veterans across New York who are struggling and, as a nation, we need to do right by them. This bill will help bring down the suicide rate and give the VA the tools they need to succeed. I am honored the president signed my bill to help our veterans.”

“We lose 20 veterans each day to suicide, which is 20 too many,” said Bost. “We have a duty to ensure veterans have access to critical tools and resources during their time of need, and this bipartisan legislation is a step in the right direction. I want to thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for joining Rep. Brindisi and me in standing with our veterans and ensuring the VA has the resources it needs. Thank you to President Trump for signing this critical legislation into law to let our veterans know that they are not alone and that help is available.”

The bipartisan bill requires the comptroller general of the United States to conduct an assessment of the responsibilities, workload, and vacancy rates of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ suicide prevention coordinators.

Suicide Prevention Coordinators are the face of the VA’s efforts to combat veteran suicide. They identify high-risk veterans and ensure they receive appropriate care, conduct outreach and promote awareness and suicide prevention best practices within VA, among other responsibilities. Many suicide prevention coordinators report being overworked and unable to keep up with their many responsibilities. The Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act would help ensure these men and women have the tools and resources they need to provide veterans with critical mental health resources.

Upstate New York veterans praised Brindisi’s tireless efforts.

“The suicide rate among our nation’s veterans is unacceptable,” said Christina M. Balderrama, assistant professor of psychology at Binghamton University. “The timely coordination of appropriate care and resources during a time of crisis is essential to reducing suicide risk. Legislation that supports the effectiveness and functioning of the VA suicide prevention coordinator position is critical to better meet the comprehensive health needs of veterans at risk for death by suicide.”

“The passage of H.R. 2333, the Support of Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act, sponsored by Congressman Brindisi is another concrete example of his steadfast support of legislation that addresses the needs of veterans,” said retired USAF Lt. Col Anthony Rabasca of Rome. “Regardless of one’s political leanings, I urge all voters in Congressional District 22 to look at Congressman Brindisi’s efforts on behalf of veterans. Passage of H.R. 2333 is not only a win for veterans in our district, but for all Veterans across the country. When it comes to our veterans, Congressman Brindisi is walking what he’s talking.”

“I want to thank Congressman Brindisi for sponsoring the Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act, as well as for his other bills in support of veterans which have passed the House with bipartisan support, including one which was his first bill to be signed into law,” said Afghanistan veteran and Barneveld resident Colt Brumm. “Congressman Brindisi has developed a strong system for supporting our veterans: maintain open communication with us, listen to what we say we need, then go back to Washington and work hard to deliver it.

“That process has yielded some amazing results that will positively impact the lives of our veterans for many years to come. This bill, in particular, will help identify effective ways to support the VA’s suicide prevention coordinators to ensure that they have the resources that they need.

“These individuals serve a critical role in the VA’s veteran suicide prevention efforts, and they are frequently overworked and unable to keep up. Ensuring that they have the tools that they need when they need them may help to reduce the tragic loss of veterans’ lives. For your dedication, for your support, and for listening to us, thank you, Congressman Brindisi.”

This is Brindisi’s fourth bill signed into law, and his third supporting veterans and our nation’s service-members. Last year, Trump signed Brindisi’s Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2019. Brindisi’s Support Procurement of our Nation’s Stainless Steel Act was signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

The bipartisan Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act passed the Senate 95-0 and has been signed into law by the president.

By martha

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