WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday was set to sign an executive order that will direct government departments to try to prevent suicide among military veterans by treating mental health problems before they become more serious.
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin told reporters on a conference call that Trump wants to address an alarming trend, that of 20 veterans a day taking their own life.
“That is just an unacceptable number and we are focused on doing everything we can to try to prevent these veteran suicides,” Shulkin said.
Trump’s order will direct the departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs to develop a plan in 60 days to provide access to mental health treatment and suicide prevention resources for uniformed service members in the first year following military service.
The new order will cost about $200 million year to implement, money that will be diverted from the agencies’ current budget, a senior administration official said.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by David Gregorio)