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White House releases 'roadmap' to end veterans' suicides

President Trump says the plan will protect the 'nation's most treasured heroes.' Lawmakers are split on the document's value.

HAMPTON, Va. — "The President's Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide" released by the White House this week is a 66-page, 10-point plan that brings in advocacy groups and non-profits for a holistic approach, and also aims to promote community-based suicide prevention programs.

The idea is to curb the 6,000 deaths by suicide among veterans each year, a rate that is, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 1.5 times that of the general population.

"My administration is marshaling every resource to stop the crisis of veterans suicide and protecting our nation's most treasured heroes," said President Donald J. Trump.

Dr. Sheronda Farrow is a suicide prevention psychologist at the Hampton V.A. Medical Center. She appreciates the high-level attention to such a crucial issue.

"I'm very, very much excited because it lets everyone know that it is a top priority and that they understand the need to put policies and regulations and legislation in place to make sure that suicide prevention is at the forefront of what we're doing in the nation right now," she said. "So, it's extremely exciting."

House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Democrat Mark Takano of California said he is disappointed, adding, "We have much more substantial work to do to prevent veteran suicide and ultimately help save veterans' lives."

But, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs of Tennessee Republican Representative Phil Roe said, "I am confident that it will help to save and improve the lives of at-risk veterans and others for years to come."

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