By Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s administration will lay out a broad strategy on Wednesday aimed at helping to prevent suicides by U.S. veterans and other Americans, administration officials told Reuters.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will hold an event at the White House to highlight the plan, which outlines a set of recommendations including starting a public health awareness campaign, providing suicide prevention training and improving research.
“By employing a public-health approach to suicide prevention, President Trump’s roadmap will equip communities to help veterans get the right care, whenever and wherever they need it,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie said in a statement.
The plan, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters ahead of its release, says the number of suicides in the United States increased by 35 percent from 1999 to 2018, when 48,344 deaths were estimated to have resulted from suicide.
Veterans and active members of the military are especially vulnerable.
Following one of the recommendations, the administration plans to launch an awareness campaign later this summer that will seek to change the culture around suicide, encouraging veterans and others to talk about mental health issues rather than taking their lives.
The administration is also looking at legislative options to help in the effort, one official said.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)