Wilkie: Entire government to focus on reducing vet suicides

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie says agencies across the federal government are being tasked with combating veteran suicides and that he plans to find ways to get funding to state and local governments to track down and help those in need.

Speaking Friday at New Hampshire's only VA medical center, Wilkie said that veteran suicides couldn't be seen in isolation. He said the issue must be tackled by working on ways to combat homelessness, drug abuse and mental illness among veterans. That means changing the way the VA prescribes opioids, he said, and boosting the amount of transitional housing for homeless veterans.

Last month, President Donald Trump signed an order directing his agencies to develop a plan within 12 months to address veteran suicides. Currently, about 20 veterans die by suicide each day.

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