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VA Creates New Program To Predict Veteran Suicides

April 12, 2017

Recovery Engagement and Coordination for Health—Veterans Enhanced Treatment, or REACH VET, is a new program fielded by the Department of Veteran Affairs to try and predict suicidal tendencies and behaviors among veterans ahead of time and stop them from occurring by taking action accordingly. According to the VA, research shows that approximately 20 veterans die by suicide each day.

“REACH VET is a game changer in our effort to reduce Veteran suicide,” said Dr. Caitlin Thompson, National Director of VA’s Office for Suicide Prevention. “Early intervention can lead to better recovery outcomes, lessen the likelihood of challenges becoming crises and reduce the stress that Veterans and their loved ones face.”

VA Secretary David Shulkin also spoke about the new program.

“One Veteran suicide is one too many,” Shulkin said. “This cutting-edge program is saving lives by identifying at-risk Veterans and connecting them with the specialized care and support they need.”

The program will review the medical records of high-risk veterans, and highlight those that may be at a higher risk for suicide or self-harm. In such cases, a Doctor will reach out to the veteran in an effort to allow them to get help before there is an issue. The VA said that the program began as a pilot in October but is now fully implemented across the entire department.