On April 21, the first day of trial, the now-infamous VA internal December 2007 email written by Dr. Ira Katz, the VA’s mental health director, was submitted as evidence. The email states that 12,000 veterans per year under VA care were attempting suicide. Widely circulated within the VA, the email, titled “Not for the CBS News Interview Request” told a tragic tale.
“Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among the veterans we see in our medical facilities,” Katz wrote. The email concludes: “Is this something we should (carefully) address ourselves in some sort of release before someone stumbles on it?”
In November Katz told CBS, “There is no epidemic in suicide in VA,” and that there were only 790 attempted suicides in all of 2007, a fraction of Katz’s estimate stated in the internal email. In the same email Katz wrote there “are about 18-suicides per day among America’s 25 million veterans.”
Tip of the Hat to Bill Golden at LinkedIn.