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5 Mar 2019
President Donald Trump will sign an executive order Tuesday to create a cabinet-level task force to address the national tragedy of veteran suicides, a senior administration official confirmed.
The task force will be led by Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie and will report to the president within a year.
An estimated 20 veterans a day commit suicide in the United States. The task force will be named PREVENTS — The President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide.
The new effort to study the issue demonstrates a renewed effort by the Trump administration to reduce veterans’ suicides despite existing efforts to address the problems.
The impact of the administration’s approach so far to reducing veterans’ suicides was “minimal,” the official admitted, and a more thorough approach was needed that included state and local governments as well as private partnerships.
The task force will examine the relationship between the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs and discover how to keep veterans connected with mental health care and support.
“The intention is for it not to be government as usual,” the official said in response to a question from Breitbart News. “By making it a national call to action to figure out how to empower the rest of non-government to play a participating role in this strategy.”
The administration wants to create a unified front to deal with the problem, especially since up to 70 percent of veterans who commit suicide are not inside of the Veterans Affairs health system.
The task force will also explore financial grants to local communities to help organize more help for more veterans.