Free VA Emergency Suicide Prevention Reaches Nearly 50,000 in First Year

WASHINGTON (January 17, 2024) – A new Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) policy allowing any Veteran and certain former service members free emergency suicide prevention care at any VA facility has reached nearly 50,000 encounters, providing lifesaving care to thousands.

The new acute suicidal prevention policy specifically includes all Veterans whether they are enrolled in VA care or not, allowing those who have served and are facing personal crisis to access suicide prevention care at any VA or non-VA facility.

According to VA, the new policy has helped tens of thousands of Veterans and other former service members by ensuring free, world-class care to eligible individuals in times of personal crisis. The policy includes free emergency room care, inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days, outpatient care for up to 90 days, and transportation costs.

The suicide prevention policy has also increased access to no-cost emergent suicide care for up to 9 million Veterans, according to VA. Veterans do not need prior VA enrollment or are limited to visiting a VA facility for the benefit, but can go to any VA or non-VA health facility to get free emergency care if they are experiencing acute suicidal crisis.

More information about VA’s acute suicidal crisis care policy is available in this recent VA news release spotlighting the new benefit.