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White House rolls out strategy to reduce military, veteran suicide, calling it a 'national security crisis'

White House rolls out strategy to reduce military, veteran suicide, calling it a 'national security crisis'

White House officials warned that young service members are "at heightened risk."

"I’ve often said that we have only one true sacred obligation as Americans — to prepare and properly equip our women and men in uniform when we send them into harm’s way, and to care for them and their families when they return," President Biden said. "Yet for too many who are serving or have served, we are falling short."

The president said that in an average day, 17 veterans die by suicide "right here at home."

"Through advances in science, medicine and public health, we have learned a great deal about how to prevent suicide," the president said, adding that "we increasingly know what works, whether it’s ensuring that firearms are stored safely, expanding access to suicide hotlines and mental health providers, or sending caring letters to people after a crisis."

"Dedicated personnel in and out of government have devoted themselves to implementing these interventions," he continued.

Administration officials described suicide as a "complex problem, with no single cause and no single solution" and stressed that it is "preventable" but requires a "comprehensive public health approach that harnesses the full breadth of the federal government."

Officials said that the approach to reduce suicide in the military community "should be rooted in a strong public health framework that addresses the full range of risk and protective factors through evidence-based, interdisciplinary approaches, and balances the role of policy, program execution, engagement and evaluation."

"Over the past 20 years, there have been many efforts designed to address suicide, including among the military and veteran populations," officials wrote, adding that the new strategy aims to "build upon these efforts, rather than creating duplication or confusion across initiatives." 

An official told Fox News that the White House is expected to work closely with the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to engage on the strategy with members of the military and veteran communities.

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