Parking Lot Suicides: How the VA has failed in Veteran's Mental Health

Elizabeth James's picture

I recently read an article on The Washington Post discussing the string of suicides in the last year that have happened on VA campus hospitals. In the past year, 19 veterans have committed suicide on VA property, seven of which have been in the parking lot. News reports are claiming that this is a final act of protest against the VA system that has failed so many veterans.

Veteran mental health is a huge issue. Veterans are 1.5 times more likely than civilians to die by suicide. The Trump Administration has said that preventing suicide its top clinical priority for veterans. The administration has made steps towards providing mental health services for veterans that could otherwise not receive them. While all of these actions are great for the community, more reform needs to happen to the VA systems. Many veterans depend on the VA to receive care, yet it can be very difficult for veterans to get the VA to help them due to the long and arduous process of proving that their injuries or illnesses are connected to their time in service. I believe that in order to make strides towards lowering the suicide rates for veterans, the VA should work towards giving veterans immediate and intensive care. 

How else might we help lower suicide rates amongst veterans?

What other problems are associated with the VA?

Do you see these suicides as an act of protest or just simply an unfortunate coincidence?