August 21, 2016
The 22 Push-up challenge sounds like a good thing to do and it has spread all the way to New Zealand. Major Kidd took up the challenge after someone he knew committed suicide. There is no evidence that any of this awareness has changed a damn thing. As a matter of fact, here in the US, it has gotten worse.
"When it comes to the awareness of what some of our young people, when they go offshore, see and do, I don't think there is that awareness." Major Rodger KiddThe question is, what good has come out of any of this awareness?
Why push something that has changed nothing? Is it fun to do? Is it challenging to do? Does it feel good to try to do something? Wouldn't it feel better to actually achieve something meaningful instead?
The military uses push-ups for training and punishment. What good does it do to try and get the civilian population to understand something veterans do not even know? Veterans know they are killing themselves but they do not know how to find hope that tomorrow can be different from today.
The only way we can address healing in a meaningful way is to talk about facts not just easy numbers to remember.
The fact is simple. According to the VA tracking veteran suicides in 1999, the number they discovered was 20 a day. 17 years later the number is still 20 a day. Awareness now? Why when no one is talking about how it actually got worse?
It is still double the civilian rate of suicides and still most of the suicides happen to veterans over the age of 50.
Veterans are killing themselves at more than double the rate of the civilian population with about 49,000 taking their own lives between 2005 and 2011, according to data collected over eight months by News21.Rep. Jeff Miller showed that his committee does not understand that while they spend billions a year, hold hearing after hearing, they have actually achieved total ignorance. It has gotten worse because in 1999 there were almost 7 million more veterans in the country than now. How does he claim the numbers have not gotten worse?
“It’s not enough that the veteran suicide problem isn’t getting worse,” he said, “it isn’t getting any better.” Rep. Jeff Miller
Suicide Mortality Among Individuals Receiving Treatment for Depression in the Veterans Affairs Health System: Associations with Patient and Treatment Setting Characteristics was published in 2007.
Conclusions. Unlike the general population, older and younger veterans are more prone to suicide than are middle-aged veterans. Future research should examine the relationship between depression, PTSD, health service use, and suicide risks among veterans.It is not just the veterans we need to worry about. It is their whole families. This report is from 2014 Collateral damage: The mental health issues facing children of veterans
Ron Avi Astor, professor of social work at the University of Southern California, said, "The vast majority of the kids and families, even with a lot of deployments and a lot of moves, about 70 percent or more depending on the issue you're looking at, are doing fine."
But Astor says the other thirty percent -- up to a million and a half kids -- are not doing fine. He studied 30,000 high school students in eight California school districts. Particularly troubling: Astor found one out of four military kids is likely to consider suicide -- significantly more than non-military kids.
And what does the Veterans Administration do for the children and siblings of people who've come back from the war? Not much, said Astor.
The VA spent almost $500 million last year for PTSD treatments for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. But their family members (a VA spokeswoman informed us by email) may receive counseling "if determined to be essential to the effective treatment and readjustment of the veteran."
Christal Presley told Teichner, "My mom had asked me not to talk about the things that were happening with my father. In fact, if my mom mentioned the word Vietnam, it was with a whisper."
The collateral damage of war is still being spread with whispers.