June 9, 2016
We are all getting our email boxes filled with stuff on PTSD Awareness but the trouble is, we are not opening them. Why? Because no one seems to be doing nothing more than talking about it without ever learning anything about it.
Sure it is PTSD Awareness Month but six years after the Senate declared June 27th as PTSD Awareness Day in 2010, it continues to destroy lives. So when do we tell them what they need to know to heal and survive surviving the events that delivered PTSD into their lives?
It is not that any of this was new.
Congressional MandateThe National Center for PTSD was created in 1989 within the Department of Veterans Affairs in response to a Congressional mandate (PL 98-528) to address the needs of Veterans and other trauma survivors with PTSD. The Center was developed with the ultimate purpose to improve the well-being, status, and understanding of Veterans in American society.Did you notice the year? Ok, then there have been three wars since then and it has gotten worse!
The mandate called for a center of excellence that would set the agenda for research and education on PTSD without direct responsibility for patient care. Convinced that no single VA site could adequately serve this unique mission, VA established the Center as a consortium of five divisions.
How about we stop pretending that politicians will ever learn what PTSD is before they write bills they already wrote before that did not accomplish what they were supposed to do?
How about we stop calling them "victims" since they are still alive after surviving the thing that almost killed them in the first place? Yep, they would not have been hit by PTSD if they did not survive the event.
Once they learn that how about we actually do something to make sure that surviving the event is no longer easier than living back home when they are supposed to be out of danger?
How about we actually distinguish between the different totals from different departments? Active duty suicides are not counted among veterans and vice versa. National Guard and Reservists are not counted in the total released by the DOD but are separated.
How about we stop using the quoted "22 a day" committing suicide as if that is supposed to mean anything other than making it easier for someone to get a headline as if they are actually doing something about any of this? Really gets us angry when we know they have not even taken any of this seriously enough to actually read the damn 59 page report at least up to page 14 when they would have discovered that the number was just an average from limited data obtained from just 21 states. Yep, less than half the country.
How about we actually make sure that if someone gets the attention of the press when they make statements, they are actually true? Gee what a hard thing to ask for! When you have "experts" using the "22 a day" it is a given they do not read actual reports, like the VA report, or news reports or even the report from the CDC with over 42,000 suicides per year in America and the other fact that veterans are double the civilian rate. Why bother to disclose any of that lack of knowledge when they can just get away with repeating a headline that sounds good to the reporter?
How about we actually face the fact that the majority of the veterans taking their own lives are over the age of 50? You know, the very veterans waiting longer for help, longer in the VA lines with the same wounds yet have not seemed to matter anymore. Why did you think all the research started? It started when Vietnam veterans came home and pushed for all of it.
How about we actually hold the DOD accountable for a change considering they keep telling us they will not change what they are doing even though it has not worked? After all, PTSD set in when they were in fact enlisted but the DOD does not have to account for veterans committing suicide. Not that they really account for any suicide they keep saying is "one too many" for them.
The truth is, none of this is easy for those who risked their lives, no matter what generation. None of it is easy for the families. So why the hell should any of this be easy for anyone claiming to be raising awareness?