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VA announces steps to combat veteran suicides

New steps to reduce veteran suicides were released Tuesday by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

“While the report sounds promising with good proposals and good ideas, it’s too early to predict whether or not the VA will actually achieve those goals,” said Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema.

One of the proposals from the VA is same day evaluations and access to treatment for urgent mental healthcare needs by the end of the year.

“Frankly, they should already be providing that,” Sinema said.

The framework of the VA’s proposal came from a February 2 summit created in part by the parents of Sgt. Daniel Somers, a Valley veteran who took his life in 2013.

“They know the dangers of the VA not taking care of veterans better than anyone,” she said.

Sinema has been working with the Somers family on the Sergeant Daniel Somers Classified Veterans Access to Care Act, which passed the House in February and is now on its way to the Senate.

Congressman Matt Salmon agrees Tuesday’s proposal from the VA sounds good, but he says we should be doing more.

“Kyrsten Sinema and I penned a letter to the secretary of the VA asking them to send some folks to Arizona to do an audit of how their process is working,” Salmon said. “Because I really feel like too many people are falling through the cracks.”