LOS ANGELES COUNTY – The Board of Supervisors approved a motion by Supervisor Kathryn Barger and coauthored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to begin sharing data about veteran suicides between the Department of Veterans Affairs and Los Angeles County and explore the possibility of establishing a countywide veteran suicide review team.

“I am grateful for the collaboration of our community and government partners who are working every day to ensure we help veterans and their families access services that save and enrich their lives,” Supervisor Barger said. “Destigmatizing mental health issues is a crucial step in order to stop veteran suicide in Los Angeles County.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs notes that nationwide, 20 veterans die by suicide every day. Los Angeles County needs additional data to better understand how this issue affects veterans locally.

“It is an anguishing reality that men and women who have put their lives at risk as veterans of the U.S. military are at high risk of suicide as civilians,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “Data collection and data sharing among all agencies addressing veteran suicide is crucial to effectively providing the best possible mental health services for LA County veterans.”

The Board of Supervisors sought to address this issue by allocating funding for the Veteran Peer Access Network through the Department of Mental Health.

In collaboration with community organizations and the United States and California Departments of Veterans Affairs, Los Angeles County is working to amplify existing efforts and gain clarity on the mental health crises veterans face in our region.

A suicide review board would enable Los Angeles County to expand prevention efforts and services with the help and recommendations of experts in diverse fields.