WASHINGTON – A psychology professor on Wednesday told the House Veterans Affairs Committee that one way to combat the high suicide rate among veterans is to push for a a comprehensive health system approach to treating the causes of depression.

A 2019 report by the US Department of Veterans Affairs recorded 6,139 deaths by suicide among veterans in 2017, up from 5,787 in 2005.

Committee members pressed the five witnesses on how Congress can best address the crisis.

The experts suggested cutting down on the bureaucracy in dealing with mental health issues.

Dr. Edward Coffey, affiliate professor of psychology and behavioral sciences at Medical University of South Carolina, emphasized a “Zero Suicide” model that would re-engineer thesystem of delivering health care and push for ideal health care.