How the VA fails veterans on mental health

How the VA fails veterans on mental health

by Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi


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A veteran with a known history of suicidal thoughts showed up at a St. Louis hospital before dawn one morning and was left unmonitored in an exam room for hours.

Another was deemed at risk of suicide by a hospital psychiatrist in Washington, D.C., then forcibly discharged, even as he tried to stay, by the same hospital’s emergency department.

Another still in Pittsburgh was assigned a behavioral health nurse who failed to complete thorough suicide screenings or review his suicide safety plan, and didn’t follow up when he said he wished he was dead.

In all three cases, independent inspectors documented serious failures by the Department of Veterans Affairs. And in all three cases, the veterans involved went on to kill themselves or other people.

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