WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, provided the following statement today in reaction to an announcement by the Department of Veterans Affairs of a national suicide prevention hotline for veterans, operated as part of the Department of Health and Human Services' existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK).
"I commend the Department of Veterans Affairs for its proactive stance on the issue of suicide prevention. In this area, early and aggressive intervention is critical. The alternative is more suicides and more distressed families. By signing up with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, VA is ensuring that veterans in crisis will have access to a caring professional at the touch of a button. In doing so, VA is also fulfilling a major element of the requirements of the Joshua Omvig Veterans' Suicide Prevention Act, sponsored by Senator Harkin. I am pleased that this piece of legislation was reported favorably to the Senate following the Committee's June 27, 2007 meeting," stated Akaka.