Thursday, July 7, 2016

New VA Suicide Reports Shows Little Change

Nothing Changed Because We Did Not Care Enough
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 7, 2016

As bad as it has been for our veterans the thing is, it still is.  After all the groups popping up all over the country, all the Facebook posts, reporters covering this one taking a walk, doing pushups, raising funds and awareness, it has resulted in little more than nothing being changed.  As a matter of fact, the more you learn about how far back all this goes, it means nothing has changed but more veterans dying instead of healing PTSD.

After 4 years of folks raising awareness of veterans committing suicide at "22 a day" what do they do now that the VA says it is down to "20" still not getting the help they need to stay alive? Isn't that what we really should be talking about? How did it turn out this way with thousands of charities popping up all over the country?
VA Releases Results of Largest Analysis of Veteran Suicide Rates
ABC News
Elizabeth McLaughlin
July 7, 2016

The VA treated more than 1.6 million veterans for mental health in 2015.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released sobering new statistics today about veteran suicide rates in the United States.

According to the VA, an average of 20 veterans died from suicide every day in 2014.

The VA examined over 55 million veteran records from 1979 to 2014 from every state in the nation. The last time the VA conducted a study like this was in 2010, but that report only included data from 20 states.

Veterans accounted for 18 percent of all suicides among U.S. adults in 2014, down from 22 percent in 2010. That means of the 41,425 suicides among U.S. adults in 2014, 7,403 of those were veterans.

Today’s results also included comparisons between civilians and veterans. Since 2001, the VA found that suicides among U.S. adult civilians increased 23 percent, while veteran suicides increased 32 percent in the same time period – making the risk of suicide 21 percent greater for veterans than civilians (after controlling for age and gender).

Older veterans face a higher risk of suicide, the data showed. In 2014, about 65 percent of veterans who died from suicide were 50 years or older.
read more here
The truth is, it never was "22 a day" and the VA Suicide Report explained how they got to that number with data collected up to 2010 from just 21 states. The reported listed factors on how they knew veterans were not counted. Even back then the VA was reporting that the majority of the suicide were by veterans over the age of 50. 69% in the veterans community and about 78% from veterans within the VA system.

The other factor, even with a report like this, shows how little has changed for our veterans who still cannot find hope that their last worst day does not have to end with their lives. So does anyone get held accountable for any of this?

Where was all the concern for our veterans in 1999? 

When I started out in all of this over 3 decades ago, we had plenty of excuses why it was hard to not just research PTSD but reach veterans in need of hope. We didn't have the internet.  Advocates like me invested countless hours going over clinical books at the library trying to understand at least enough to do more good than harm.

With the internet, we have the ability to reach veterans across the country and yes, even the rest of the world. The problem is, there are plenty of people talking about it but not willing to actually do the work to understand any of this.

What happened to understanding the difference between helping and hurting? 

Do they understand that this is a matter of life and death? That knowing the wrong thing can be fatal? That they can do more harm to veterans than help any of them?

I have been very hard on all these instant experts using an "easy to remember number" as if any this is supposed to be easy for their sake.  It is far from easy for the veterans or their families.  As usual, they just didn't get the message and now I wonder if they ever will.

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