Monday, October 26, 2015

What Does Senator Joe Donnelly Have to Say About Suicides Now?

Who Is Really Accountable on Suicides Now?
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 26, 2015

We've all been made all too well aware of what is going on regarding suicides tied to military service and none of it is good. Everyone is doing a hell of a lot talking but no one seems to be doing much answering. Oh, I'm sorry I forgot the press hasn't figured out they are supposed to be asking questions otherwise they are part of the problem.

Has anyone asked Senator Joe Donnelly about suicides going up? Has anyone asked any member of the House or Senate?

On Saturday the Evansville Courier and Press released this stunning piece of information out of Joe Donnelly's state.

Four veterans from one unit have killed self
Ronald Zeller was the first. He died on March 18, 2011.
Then William Waller, July 5, 2013;
Justin Williams, Nov. 3, 2013; and
April James on May 24, 2015.
Sgt. April James with a group of Iraqi children on her second deployment.
Justin's mother, Carolyn Williams, remembers well the day the 163rd came home. The entire family lined the streets with thousands of other Evansville residents to cheer the soldiers' return. Officials hosted a parade along the Lloyd Expressway — a hero's welcome.
April was supposed to attend a grave side service for Justin on Memorial Day 2015.

She never made it.

The night before the service, she shot herself.
The following day the paper followed up with this report Soldiers have few places to turn for help
Evansville Courier and Press
Jessie Higgins
October 25, 2015

Veterans from the Indiana Army National Guard's 163rd battalion are no longer surprised when one of their own commits suicide.

It happens far too often.

"It was kind of devastating to begin with," said Michael Barrentine, a veteran from the 163rd's 2007-08 Iraq deployment. "Then the second one happened, and the third and the fourth. Now it's kind of just — numb."

To date, four veterans from Barrentine's deployment have killed themselves after long struggles with PTSD.

The issue is not contained to that particular unit. Each day, across the country, about 22 veterans commit suicide, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"They're still dying," said John Williams, the father of one of the 163rd veterans who committed suicide in 2013. "There's got to be something we can do. We have got to step up. If we don't step up and do something, there will be others."
The VA launched a suicide prevention program in 2007, with a 24-hour suicide hotline, peer support groups and one-on-one therapy, said Beth Lamb, a spokeswoman for the VA. In Evansville, the Vet Center — which is also affiliated with the VA — provides counseling for combat veterans. The Vet Center declined to comment on this story.

But even with those services, veterans and their families fear there is not enough support for veterans in Evansville.
read more here
The thing is, first, it isn't 22 a day and no, the VA released the suicide report clearly stating it was an average taken from 21 states incomplete data.
If this prevalence estimate is assumed to be constant across all U.S. states, an estimated 22 Veterans will have died from suicide each day in the calendar year 2010.
They also leave out this
Specifically, more than 69% of all Veteran suicides were among those aged 50 years and older
Yet in state after state more and more folks were popping up claiming to have the answers as long as they got a donation check and no one was asking any questions. Basic facts were left out most of the time while information overload used up valuable time veterans could have used on actually gaining awareness they needed to know instead of just finding the same old worn down false information spread by others with minions jumping on their instant experts every Tweet and Facebook selfie screaming "look at what I did for the veterans today" while lying their ass off about what the results really are.

The state of Indiana sued founders of fake nonprofits. "Starting in June 2011, the four people created the nonprofits in Indiana and at least five other states and started soliciting money, according to the suit" reported by the Indy Star. Not that unusual considering how many folks are out there raising money and not much else to show for all they have taken from the public to "raise awareness" about nothing more than themselves.

Indiana veterans returning home face dearth of services reported by the Gazette on September 2, 2015
A 2014 report by the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs found the state was deficient in 21 ways — both large and small — that hamper the delivery of services.

The report found that in 2013 the state spent $3.67 per veteran. Meanwhile, Texas spent $18.69, Missouri spent $15.97 and Alabama spent $29.40.

"Where is the governor's priority on taking care of veterans?" Bauerle said. "They wipe their hands of it and say 'Well, it's for the federal government to do' instead of being progressive and forward thinking."
Yet another Indiana National Guardsman ended his torment in May of 2015
Tri-State News, Weather
Family of Tri-State veteran who committed suicide has one final wish reported by 14 News adding in "The family says the military does not help with funeral costs when someone dies by suicide."
23-year-old Robert Moroney was the strong, silent type, with one thing on his mind. “He always said he was going to be a soldier,” said his mother, Gina Hayes.

His pictures now line the dining room table as the family prepares for something they never thought would happen. Robert's family says what he witnessed during combat drastically changed him. "He was walking away, she was crying, and she blew up. She had a bomb strapped to her. Her father put it there."

Robert committed suicide last week, and his family wants other veterans to know they aren't alone.
Sen. Joe Donnelly keeps writing bills on suicides but as more and more ink dries up, more and more death certificates are written. Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act made news in Indiana when FOX 59 reported on it along with a grand picture of a Donnelly and the parents of Jacob Sexton standing by his side. It was the first bill Donnelly introduced but it was not the first one the Senate Armed Services Committee came up with or a even the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
Donnelly on Military and Veteran Suicides: This Has To Stop
Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Washington, D.C. — Senator Joe Donnelly conducted a conference call with members of the Indiana media today to discuss military and veteran suicide prevention efforts. Last year, more combat troops committed suicide (349) than were killed in combat in Afghanistan (229), and 43% of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who took their own life did not seek treatment beforehand. The Reserve and National Guard force has also seen a rise in suicides.

“This has to stop,” said Donnelly. “Our fighting men and women bear an incredible burden on our behalf. I’m focused on doing everything I can to ensure that every servicemember and veteran has the resources they need and knows where to go if they need help.”

Did anyone ask him what he has to say about all this time and all of this getting worse?

No, because no one has ever asked members of the House or the Senate to explain to families why all this time of them "addressing" suicides, spending money and raising awareness, the troops know less than before, families know less than before and more commit suicide because they still don't know how to heal or find the help they need.

It isn't as if Donnelly was new to all of this. The Washington Post reported on the Sexton Bill as well as Clay Hunt Bill.
Donnelly, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said working on suicide prevention in the military was one of the most important things he could do. He took the issue up after joining the Senate in January 2013 following six years in the House of Representatives.

“I just wanted to make sure we were doing everything to prevent this scourge, because when it does happen it is such a heartbreak for families and everyone affected,” he said in an interview with Checkpoint. “I thought maybe I could have some impact on bringing those numbers down.”
The cost of the annual assessments is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to be about $10 million annually.

The Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Act was signed into law in 2007 by President Bush. When it was being debated, this is what was reported.
Since March 2003, 80 individuals, who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, have committed suicide. Our young men and women serving our country have kept us safe for so long; it is now our turn to protect them.

Yet the Congressional Budge Office had no cost estimates for a reason, they were already being done for the most part.
S. 479 would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to develop and implement a comprehensive program to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans. This bill would require that the program have specific components, including training for all staff who interact with veterans, a suicide prevention counselor at each medical facility, outreach and education for veterans and their families, and a national campaign aimed at reducing the stigma of mental illness among veterans.

According to VA, most of those requirements are already in place or will be implemented before the end of the year. For example, training seminars have recently begun for all employees and peer-support groups are a regular facet of veterans’ rehabilitation centers.

Annual screenings for suicide risk factors such as depression and alcohol abuse are routinely performed by primary care physicians. Two medical centers are focused on research and education about suicide and its prevention. In addition, VA works with other medical providers in the community to reach veterans who may not use the VA health care system. VA also plans to hire suicide-prevention professionals at each of its hospitals. The bill would authorize VA to create a toll-free hotline staffed by mental health personnel, and the agency plans to have such a hotline in operation by the end of August 2007. CBO estimates, therefore, that implementing this bill would have little, if any, cost because VA already has or soon will implement all the specific requirements of the bill. Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending or receipts.

S. 479 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments. On March 19, 2007, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 327, the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, as ordered reported by the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on March 15, 2007. The two versions of the legislation are similar, and their estimated costs are identical.

The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Michelle S. Patterson. This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
Yet this bill ended up being signed after Army Suicides Highest in 26 Years as The Washington Post reported on August 2007.
WASHINGTON -- Army soldiers committed suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 years, and more than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new military report.

The report, obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its scheduled release Thursday, found there were 99 confirmed suicides among active duty soldiers during 2006, up from 88 the previous year and the highest number since the 102 suicides in 1991 at the time of the Persian Gulf War.
Pretty much blowing the claim made by members of our Congress. That number was hit during the first quarter of 2015.
In the first quarter of 2015, there were 57 suicides among service members in the active component, 15 suicides among service members in the reserve component and 27 suicides among service members in the National Guard.
This was reported out of Hawaii
"All soldiers are required to go through an hour and a half of annual training gearing up for suicide prevention," said Brent Oto, who heads the Army's suicide prevention program.
Yet families still think it is their fault. Just stunning how doing more ended up costing more lives!