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Executive Order on a National Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End Suicide
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Purpose. On average, 20 service members and veterans die by suicide each day. As a Nation, we must do better in fulfilling our solemn obligation to care for all those who have served our country. I am therefore issuing a national call to action to improve the quality of life of our Nation’s veterans — many of whom have risked their lives to protect our freedom while deployed, often multiple times, to areas of prolonged conflict.
Answering this call to action requires an aspirational, innovative, all-hands-on-deck approach to public health — not government as usual. The Federal Government alone cannot achieve effective or lasting reductions in the veteran suicide rate. This is not because of a lack of resources. It is, in fact, due substantially to a lack of coordination: Nearly 70 percent of veterans who end their lives by suicide have not recently received healthcare services from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
To reduce the veteran suicide rate, the Federal Government must work side-by-side with partners from State, local, territorial, and tribal governments — as well as private and non-profit entities — to provide our veterans with the services they need. At the same time, the Federal Government must advance our understanding of the underlying causal factors of veteran suicide. Our collective efforts must begin with the common understanding that suicide is preventable, and prevention requires more than intervention at the point of crisis. The Federal Government, academia, employers, members of faith-based and other community, non-governmental, and non-profit organizations, first responders, and the veteran community must all work together to foster cultures in which veterans and their families can thrive.