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US Sen. Charles Schumer. File photo: Propublica CC some rights reserved
US Sen. Charles Schumer. File photo: Propublica CC some rights reserved

Schumer: VA needs better mental health services

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Senator Charles Schumer says better communication between police and Veterans Affairs could have prevented last week's Navy Yard shooting.

Police say Navy veteran Aaron Alexis had previously been involved in shooting incidents and showed signs of mental illness. But the V.A. was told about those incidents.

Alexis is accused of killing 12 people at the Washington D.C. base.

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Schumer says the V.A. should work better with law enforcement and review its mental health services.

Alexis showed all the signs, he said. “Police knew about them. He had been to the V.A. but still nothing was done. And we’re doing to this to prevent veterans from hurting either themselves or others.”

Schumer also wants the V.A. to investigate its handling of mentally ill veterans in the wake of a veteran's shooting spree.

“It's not complicated,” he said. “We need to increase the number and type of mental health providers in the V.A. system so more patients can have access to this live-saving resource.”

Schumer says the V.A. and defense department should set up a 24-hour national mental health clinic.

There are eight V.A. hospitals and 35 clinics in upstate New York.

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