Between leadership issues, unspent funding and a lack of outreach, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (V.A.) efforts to address and decrease the rate of veteran suicide is breaking down, according to a government accountability report.
The V.A.’s mission is to provide care for veterans, including suicide prevention, but it spent only a tiny fraction of its media budget in 2018, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released Monday shows.
Veterans Health Administration (VHA) had a budget of nearly $18 million to be allocated for mental health media outreach and suicide prevention for fiscal year 2018, according to the report. It spent $57,000 of its $6.2 million paid media budget as of September, the report reveals.
The department put out “339 pieces of social media content in fiscal year 2016, compared with 159 in fiscal year 2017, and 47 during the first 10 months of fiscal year 2018,” according to the report.