VA Suicide Prevention Teams Experience Burnout

GAO reports Veterans Affairs understaffed for expanding workload.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported that the Department of Veterans Affairs has increased programs and services for suicide prevention without ensuring adequate management, oversight, and staffing. According to the GAO’s report, psychologists and social workers who specialize in suicide prevention have been overwhelmed and are experiencing burnout.

The GAO reported, “Without a comprehensive understanding of local teams’ workload in the face of recent program growth, [the Veterans Health Administration] may be overwhelming these teams with new activities and initiatives, which ultimately could reduce teams’ effectiveness in serving veterans at risk for suicide.”

“VA staff and suicide prevention professionals are our nation’s first line of defense when it comes to combatting veteran suicides,” said Senator Jon Tester of Montana, who co-sponsored the bill requiring the GAO review. ”While this report found that VA has taken positive steps to identify more at-risk veterans and connect veterans to mental health care through its suicide prevention teams, clearly more needs to be done to support VA teams in preventing veteran suicides.”

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For the GAO as they review the federal government’s programs and effectiveness.
  • For the officials in the Department of Veterans Affairs as the work to prevent veteran suicides.
  • For American veterans’ health and wellbeing.

Sources: Military Times, Government Executive


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