Family Seeks Damages After Veteran’s Suicide Inside VA Mental Health Unit

| August 25, 2020

The family of Sgt. Brieux Dash, a veteran who died by suicide in a Department of Veterans Affairs mental health unit last year, filed a claim against the VA on Friday, arguing that the agency’s “deliberate indifference” and “complete disregard for patient safety” contributed to Dash’s death.

Dash, 33, hung himself March 14, 2019, on a door in the locked mental health unit at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center. His death prompted an investigation by the VA Office of Inspector General, which found unsafe practices in the unit.

Managers of the unit didn’t pay enough attention to training requirements, the IG’s office wrote in its report. There was also a lack of oversight from regional and national offices, as well as staffing issues, inoperable cameras and too much time between nurses’ safety rounds. In addition, no one had recognized the risk posed by corridor doors.

Sounds like there’s lots of stuff the VA could have been doing better. Not just at the hospital. His final dive into suicidal depression was triggered in part by the VA overpaying him. As usual, the government devised a payment plan that worked well for at least one party; the government.

Four days before his hospitalization, he received a notice from the VA, stating that the agency had overpaid him nearly $20,000 in benefits and would be stalling any future payments until the amount was paid. Emma Dash’s claim says the letter “sent Brieux into a downward spiral of depression, anxiety, emotional distress and fragility.”

I imagine this suit will settle. I can tell you that someone committed to killing themselves is going to find a way. It sounds like absent a straight jacket and a padded cell, he was in the safest spot possible.


Category: "Your Tax Dollars At Work", Government Incompetence, Veteran Health Care, Veterans Issues, Veterans' Affairs Department

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I can tell you that someone committed to killing themselves is going to find a way.

Bingo. If someone truly wants to off themselves, chances are they’ll be able to do it. Even putting them in a resident mental health care situation won’t prevent that in all cases, particularly if someone at that facility makes a mistake or the otherwise get them the opportunity.

The best you can do is (1) try and make sure they don’t off themselves on impulse, and (2) try and get them the help needed to change their attitude towards themselves. But it’s the latter that’s paramount; they have to decide, perhaps with help, that life is worth living and that suicide isn’t the better option.


This is sad. Very sad. If he was already profoundly depressed, then this notice from the VA just topped off his mental/emotional drop.

The article is kind of generalized, but the details are not ours to have, so if he was looking for an excuse to off himself, he got one.



“F*ck ’em, I’m on my coffee break.” –Un-named VA employee

5th/77th FA

“Sounds like there’s a lot of stuff the VA could have been doing better.” Ain’t that the Gospel Truth. And not just at this facility. I would say “Can we talk?” but we’ve had these types of conversations before. To use the favorite buzz word/talking point of every lib/blm/feelz good reporter this is an example of the systemic long term failures/business as usual at the VA. Vets not getting the help they need, while others are scamming the system. How many in our little corner of the world have had FIRST hand knowledge of all of the above? Will this lawsuit be a wake up call to the VA and really get a push on for change? Probably no more than any of the other “systemic” failures of the VA.

Maybe SGT Dash is at peace now, but his Family never will be, no matter how the lawsuit turns out. Sad for all involved Family Members.


A couple of young vets of my acquaintance who went to a VA-appointed shrink (different shrinks) have reported that the “help” was worse than useless, it was counter-productive.

They have chosen to fight the battles without VA assistance – meaning their families have to take up the slack.

I wonder why we have a suicide problem among vets?