WASHINGTON – At a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing yesterday, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) asked VA Executive Director for Suicide Prevention Dr. Matthew Miller about ways that the VA is working to improve mental health and suicide prevention support for veterans.
To watch Senator Hassan’s questioning click here.
Senator Hassan started her questioning by raising the VA’s first upcoming Buddy Check Week. “I was really glad to see that the VA has chosen a week next month — October 16th to 20th — to designate as the first official Buddy Check Week, in which veterans conduct peer-to-peer wellness checks. As you know, Senator Ernst and I introduced and passed into law the bill to make this happen; our bipartisan legislation required the VA to build on what the American Legion had already started with the Buddy Check Week by making it a nationwide VA initiative,” said Senator Hassan. Senator Hassan asked how the VA is working to maximize the impact of this week. Dr. Miller discussed the VA’s partnership with Veterans Service Organizations as well as ensuring that veterans have the tools they need to fully take part in wellness checks during the week.
Senator Hassan then asked how the VA is addressing women veterans’ mental health, including working to raise awareness about the Women Veterans Network (WoVeN). Dr. Miller discussed improvements that have been made to the WoVeN program, including a new train the trainer program, to exponentially increase the reach of the group.