by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
May 10, 2013
Wall Street executives have enough money to change the world and last night it appears they got together to change what is happening to past and current members of our military. It all sounds good. That is the biggest problem of all. It "sounds" good.
I watched the following video from Stop Soldier Suicides but while it does tug your heart, it is like most of the videos I have done since 2006.
Don't get me wrong. It is important and needed however when you think of what has been done without as much attention and financial support, I am scratching my head wondering what is different about Stop Soldier Suicides. Is there anything different about it?
Inside The Big Charity Party On The Intrepid Last Night Hosted By Wall Streeters
Julia La Roche
May 9, 2013
Hundreds of people from the Wall Street community gathered with military veterans and active duty service members last night on board the Intrepid on the Hudson River for a fundraiser to help stop soldier suicide.
The "A Night For Life" fundraiser benefitted Stop Soldier Suicides—a civilian not-for-profit organization dedicated to preventing soldier suicide by bringing free mental health care to U.S. service members and veterans and raising awareness about soldier suicide.
read more here
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I can't get all excited about this and I really wish I could. Maybe I've been doing this for too long, seeing the pain in their eyes as they struggle to find the words to express the heartache they are going through. I watched the video on this charity and it seems really nice, but it provided no answers. The fact that we spend billions a year on prevention while numbers have gone up should provide proof that no amount of money can fix what the same path has led to. I just hope the rest of what this charity has planned will be different than what has already been done.This is one of the videos I did that used to be up on YouTube.
Free mental healthcare sounds good but we've heard that year after year by an ever growing number of charities popping up all over the country. What are they getting for the "mental healthcare" from this group? Is it more of the same that has already been done that has proven to be a failure or do they really know what they are doing? Will veterans walk away still feeling as bad about themselves as they did before going? When you consider that the VA already does free mental healthcare for years after discharge and Give and Hour has done that as well as many other groups, how is this different? Is the only difference the support they are getting from Wall Street?
Raising awareness on suicides has been done to the tune of billions by other groups with the mission of "raising awareness" but what they have not done is raise the awareness of what these men and women really need to know. How do they see themselves differently? How do they make peace with what they went through? How do they stop feeling so bad about themselves? Above all how do they forgive themselves?
Wednesday night was a typical example of what they have been facing. I meet with veterans one on one if they are local. Otherwise I do it online or by phone. The Iraq veteran I met with was dealing with a huge pile of things going on including physical wounds and TBI plus PTSD. His biggest issues were why he feels so angry and so sad at the same time.
He didn't understand what PTSD really was, why he had it but others didn't, why his friends committed suicide or why he was pushing people away.
The Iraq veteran had all the "resilience" training but it had prevented him from being able to open up to his buddies when he needed to.
We talked about what Chaplains in the civilian world do. How we go out right after traumatic events and do emotional debriefing to take them out of that horrible moment and bring them into the safety of "normal" existence. That removes the power the event has over them and then we are able to help them work through what they just survived. Help them make peace with it by seeing they were not responsible for it and if they were, how to forgive themselves because they did the best they could in that moment.
We talked about how when traumatic events happen, we tend to see what was bad about it. Much like when two men decided to do something so evil in Boston blowing people up, but hundreds rushed to help. If we focus only on the bad that was happening, that is all we see. If we open our eyes to see the "whole movie" then we are able to see that there are more good people in this world than bad ones.
He wanted to know why the military doesn't do what law enforcement Chaplains do. I told him that was part of the problem. Men like him were trained to suck it up because they had been trained to be "resilient" so if they had any problem, it was because they didn't train right.
I've been undoing the damage this approach has done since 2008. It hasn't been fun because too many times I am contacted by families when it is too late to save the life of someone they love but didn't know how to help. No one told them anything. They ended up blaming themselves.
So far I have seen more of the same going on leading to more of the same suffering and misery. I really hope this group will know what they are doing and not just repeating the same things that have already failed.