» The American Legion Report Says VA’s Staffing Issues, Prescription PracticesUndermining Suicide Prevention Efforts

The American Legion Report Says VA’s Staffing Issues, Prescription PracticesUndermining Suicide Prevention Efforts

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) August 9, 2018 - One of the nation’s largest veterans groups cited Veterans Affairs’ (VA) staffing shortages and doctors’ overprescription of anti-anxiety drugs as reasons why suicide prevention efforts have fallen short.

The American Legion released the 20-page report one month after VA leaders published their latest national suicide data that revealed little change in the suicide rate over the years. According to the June data, about 20 veterans per day take their own lives.

“The fact that the veteran suicide rate has not decreased over the years is unacceptable,” said Jim Fausone, a veterans attorney at Legal Help for Veterans in Michigan. “Our veterans deserve easy access to any and every resource available to ensure this crisis ends once and for all.”

Acknowledging that the VA has instituted many successful programs, the review called for more progress, particularly with the department’s hiring process, which The American Legion described as “tedious.”

“The shortage of VA employees can lead to overworked staff, poor patient experiences and lower quality of care,” according to The American Legion’s report. “Exemplary patient experience is essential to keeping veterans in the VA care network, which studies have shown significantly decreases the risk of suicide.”

The veterans group also recommended further minimizing the use of Benzodiazepines and anti-anxiety drugs that produce a slew of known negative side effects, including an increase of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, risk of suicidal thoughts and of accidental overdose.

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