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VA Manager Makes Fun Of Veteran Suicides In Email

A Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) manager at the Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis sent a picture over email which showed an elf committing suicide by hanging itself with an electrical cord.

Veterans’ groups are incensed that the VA would dare to make light of the problems veterans have to face daily, especially in a time when suicide rates are at the top of the VA’s list of concerns.

Administrators at the hospital were aware of the email for at least a couple of months, The Indianapolis Star reports. Robin Paul, manager of the Seamless Transition Integrated Care Clinic, wrote the email, which also shows an elf begging for much-need pain medication, on Dec. 18, but it was only recently obtained by The Indianapolis Star.

Shortly after the paper contacted the hospital, Roudebush spokeswoman stated that the problem would be taken care of through administrative procedures and apologized profusely for the incident.

“The email is totally inappropriate and does not convey our commitment to veterans,” spokeswoman Julie Webb told The Indianapolis Star. “We apologize to our veterans and take suicide and mental health treatment seriously, striving to provide the highest quality.”

However, Webb declined to provide any details of what exactly the administrative procedures entailed.

“It is a slap in the face to our recent and past veterans suffering from mental health issues every single day,” commander of the Indiana Department of the American Legion, Ken Hylton, told The Indianapolis Star. “These men and women went to war and do not deserve this type of ridicule. This is a disgusting display of mockery. This is supposedly someone who is caring for our veterans, and we in the Indiana American Legion are disgusted.”

Hylton demanded the “immediate dismissal of this government employee and all of those who received this correspondence and said nothing.”

The issue of veteran suicides has recently been taken up by Congress, namely through the passage of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which aims to bring down the suicide rate currently standing at 22 veteran suicides per day. (RELATED: Veterans Suicide Bill Finally Set To Pass On Monday Evening)

President Barack Obama signed the act into law on February 12, after it was quickly pushed through Congress by bipartisan effort.

The legislation mandates that the VA Secretary conduct a yearly review of suicide prevention programs across the country.

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