Saturday, April 29, 2017

Veteran Suicide Topic Not For Amateurs or Inept Reporters

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 29, 2017
"On average, 22 American veterans commit suicide every day. In 2014, more than 7,400 veterans took their own life. That’s about 18 percent of all suicides in America, however, veterans make up less than nine percent of the country’s population."
Yep that crap again, only this time it came from a reporter pushing another charity that claims to have the answers. "We give them their greatest weapon back-themselves on BayNet by Joy Shrum. So who messed up? The charity or the reporter? Should it matter? After all, when you read the rest of the article, it sounds like the reporter really cared about such a lengthy word count. The problem is, the reason for the story didn't seem to count enough to get it right.
Warfighter Advance is a local non-profit organization that is trying to steer away from the belief that post- traumatic stress (PTS) can only be treated through medical intervention. The program was developed by Mary Vieten, PhD, ABPP, CDR Medical Service Corps, USN (Ret) back in 2003. Dr. Vieten is a nationally recognized expert of post-traumatic stress and has worked with a range of military organizations. The idea behind Warfighter Advance is to address the needs of veterans or active duty service members who have been formally diagnosed, or are self-reporting, with PTS, anxiety, depression or substance abuse resulting from deployment-related trauma. 
Maybe this is working for some veterans, but the truth is, anything that makes them feel as if someone gives a damn works to help them a little. Even the stupid push-ups helps for a a few seconds when they do it and then walk away feeling as if they just contributed to something great than themselves. Yet at the end of the day, when they are alone with their thoughts, that warm and fuzzy feeling cannot overcome the sense of dread when they know they have to close their eyes and the nightly trip back into combat begins.

The reports from the VA make it clear that those being treated by the VA, in other words, medically, are less likely to commit suicide. Experts have been saying for the last 40 years that the mind-body and spiritual wounds need to be treated equally. So why eliminate anything from what has been proven to work?

The article mentions that, "It could be combat-related stress but a large number of veteran suicides are among those who spent little or no time fighting in recent wars." but fails to mention the fact that these "non deployed" received the exact same training as those who have gone into combat, not just once but many times. 

If Resilience training didn't even work for the ones who did not go, how the hell did they expect it to work on the others? Any clue? Do reporters have any clue? Doubtful since they also fail to mention that the number has remained a steady average of a little over one a day even though the number of enlisted members has gone down by the thousands.

That really should have been an important thing to mention but why take the time to learn about any of that to actually change anything when they can get away with a number that isn't real or even close to it?

The "22 a day" came from the VA Suicide Report of 2012 that held data from just 21 states. 
Further, this report contains information from the first 21 states to contribute data for this project and does not include some states, such as California and Texas, with larger Veteran populations. Information from these states has been received and will be included in future reports. 
The report also had this on page 18.
Estimates that the number of suicides among Veterans each day has increased, are based on information provided by 21 states and may not be generalizable to the larger Veteran population. 
And that was followed by this graph.



According to the followup report, putting the number at "20 a day" was from data collected up until 2014 and was released in 2016.

These are the key findings of that report. Key findings from this year’s report include:
In 2014, an average of 20 Veterans died by suicide each day. Six of the 20 were users of VHA services.

In 2014, Veterans accounted for 18 percent of all deaths by suicide among U.S. adults and constituted 8.5 percent of the U.S. adult population (ages 18+). In 2010, Veterans accounted for 20.2 percent of all deaths by suicide and represented 9.7 percent of the U.S. adult population.

The burden of suicide resulting from firearm injuries remains high. In 2014, about 67 percent of all Veteran deaths by suicide were the result of firearm injuries.

There is continued evidence of a high burden of suicide among middle-aged and older Veterans.

In 2014, about 65 percent of all Veterans who died by suicide were age 50 or older.

After adjusting for differences in age and gender, risk for suicide was 21 percent higher among Veterans when compared with U.S. civilian adults. (2014)

After adjusting for differences in age, risk for suicide was 18 percent higher among male Veterans when compared with U.S. civilian adult males. (2014)

After adjusting for differences in age, risk for suicide was 2.4 times higher among female Veterans when compared with U.S. civilian adult females. (2014)

In 2014, rates of suicide were highest among younger Veterans (ages 18–29) and lowest among older Veterans (ages 60+). Furthermore, rates of suicide among Veterans age 70 and older were lower than rates of suicide among civilians in the same age group.
Do these veterans really matter or not? Do we keep just accepting this miserable outcome of all these groups and "efforts" gaining the attention of inept reporting and stunts or do we demand accountability? 

Not caring about how it got this bad with hundreds of thousands of groups "doing something" is the biggest part of the problem. The thing about the chart proves nothing really changed but the worst thing is that there are now over 5 million less veterans in the country depending on us to get this right. Check the numbers for 1999 from the US Census and then check the numbers from 2015 and then ask yourself if you think veterans deserve better than what they've been getting from the rest of us.