January 17, 2024

Ranking Member Takano Honors One Year Anniversary of Emergency Suicide Prevention Care Implementation

Press Contact

Libby Carlson

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Mark Takano (CA-39) honored the one-year anniversary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)’s implementation of the suicide prevention emergency care created through the Veterans COMPACT Act of 2020 (P.L. 116-214), which he authored. Under Section 201 of the law, any veteran experiencing an acute suicidal crisis can seek emergency treatment from any VA or non-VA facility at no cost to them. Veterans are eligible for this coverage regardless of whether they are enrolled in or eligible for VA healthcare.  

“As we mark the one-year anniversary of the Veterans COMPACT Act implementation, we recognize the progress made in the fight to reduce veteran suicide, and the need to continue our fight. We recently received data from VA that indicate an average of 136 veterans’ lives have potentially been saved every day since VA began implementing this program in January 2023. A life lost to suicide is a devastating tragedy, and this key legislation helps ensure that no veteran experiencing a mental health crisis has to worry about receiving a bill when seeking the care they urgently need. There is always more work to be done to reduce veteran suicide, but this legislation is already making a difference.” 

The Veterans COMPACT Act of 2020 took a holistic approach to improving care and enhancing veterans’ mental health and wellbeing. Since being implemented last January, almost 50,000 veterans have used this benefit. In addition to the emergent suicide care benefit, it included provisions to address the needs of women veterans, particularly those experiencing homelessness; to help family members learn how to support the veterans in their lives; to examine a VA outreach program for new veterans; and to ensure VA police officers are familiar with mental health challenges and competent in de-escalation techniques.