Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) released this statement on Oct. 19 following reports of a local veteran dying by suicide at Loma Linda VA:
“It is with a heavy heart that I learned of a veteran dying by suicide at Loma Linda VA Medical Center yesterday morning, and I offer my deepest and sincerest condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones.
“As chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I have made preventing veteran suicide a top priority. We have taken important steps and made significant progress through various bills and hearings, but as long as 17 veterans die by suicide each day, our work will not be finished. It will take all of us – legislators, policymakers, researchers, military and veteran peers, caregivers, advocates, and VA staff – working together to reduce veteran suicide.
“Especially in the wake of an ongoing pandemic, we must continue to push for improved mental health support and strengthened outreach efforts to dial down the risk factors in veterans’ lives and dial up the protective factors.
“What happened yesterday at the Loma Linda VA Medical Center was tragic, and unfortunately, happens far too often – our veterans deserve better. For veterans and VA staff who may have been impacted by this incident, please know that help is always available if you need it. I will continue to keep the veteran who passed in my thoughts as I monitor this situation and work to address veteran suicide across the country.”
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at http://VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.