Sunday, October 30, 2016

PTSD Veterans Need A Reputation Defender

Who Defends PTSD Veterans With Truth?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 30, 2016

In the 80's and 90's researching suicides tied to military service used to make me very sad. After all, the online world had not connected the entire planet to information like that. We whispered about them as if they were something to be ashamed of. That is until we got angry, finally figuring out, that these are the same men and women, were willing to die for the sake someone else, yet could not find that same will to live after it. Yes, coming home was more dangerous to them back then too.

They were homeless and reports said there were 300,000 veterans walking the streets, but Congress simply ignored them. They were getting arrested and ended up in jail for crimes that were tied to their service, but Veterans Courts did not exist. They stood in line at the VA and fought for years to have their claims approved. They needed caregivers who gave up jobs to provide the loving care these veterans needed but would not receive otherwise.

They were not just suffering, they started to fight back and everything available for the generations following them, as imperfect as it all is, began because they take a stand for the sake of their brothers and sisters. The worst part is, they are still the majority of the suicides tied to military service. They led the way then were left behind.

I am no longer simply sad about what they face on a daily basis. I am pissed off! If you aren't then you haven't been paying attention to any of this.

With the online world what it is, anyone can post anything they want, a company called Reputation Defender popped up in 2006, offering to fix how the world sees customers. There is a case that goes back to 2006, but it is doubtful the reputation needing defending will ever seek them. 

PTSD veterans are the subject of at least 16,700,000 results on a Google search. Everyone seems to be talking about them. What really sucks is that as life back home gets worse for them, it has been very profitable for the publicists of their suffering.

Want proof? Easy to deliver. Reuters published an article Friday "Veterans may face higher risk of suicide during first year back home." The research also showed that "six years after leaving the military, veterans had a 63 percent higher risk of suicide than those still in the service." Pretty shocking to some, but not new at all to the rest of us.

As for those still in the military, the ones that never seem to get mentioned in the arbitrary number of "22" a day, while the DOD claims deployment has little to do with suicides, we have this piece of news. "However, in the first quarter following deployment, service members had a 50 percent higher risk of suicide than their peers who didn't experience deployment."

Yet again, we find this ties into another blast from the past within another article about redeployments from the Army's research on PTSD. The research was published on the Washington Post December 20, 2006, appropriately titled warning of "Repeat Iraq Tours Raise Risk of PTSD, Army Finds
U.S. soldiers serving repeated Iraq deployments are 50 percent more likely than those with one tour to suffer from acute combat stress, raising their risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Army's first survey exploring how today's multiple war-zone rotations affect soldiers' mental health.
But what did they do? They kept redeploying them and then wondered why they were committing suicide. All they had to do was actually understand their own research to discover the answer.
The report also found a doubling of suicides among soldiers serving in the Iraq war from 2004 to 2005, the latest period for which data are available. Twenty-two soldiers took their own lives in Iraq and Kuwait in 2005, compared with 11 in 2004 and 25 in 2003, Army officials said.
They were sent to Iraq in 2003, so when you think of those numbers, consider that the number of deployments was nowhere near the number these men and women have been facing with 15 years of war.

The Department of Defense finally released the 2nd Quarter Suicide report for 2016. With less serving now than in 2006, the reported total for the first six months is 120 Active and 101 Reserve/National Guards. 

Billions are spent every year as members of Congress get their names put on Bills they write claiming to be about preventing suicides, yet as this shows, nothing they have done worked.

We have about 5 million less veterans than we had back in 1999, but as you can see, the numbers have not changed. The latest research has the number back at 20 veterans committing suicide a day again. 

So when do we defend their reputations against falsehoods? When do we take a stand for them and say we reached the "one too many" of them dying by their own hands because they did not get what they needed to fight back home?

You want to raise awareness? Then start with the truth. Start with the fact that none of this is new and that is the most deplorable thing of all. We ran out of excuses as soon as the world was connected and what was happening in one part of the country was not known nationally. Do you really want to change anything or do you want to remain sad and do nothing with substance?