Sunday, June 18, 2017

Will There Ever Be An Investigation Into Congress Funding Suicide Prevention?

What did Congress Do With What They Knew? 
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 18, 2017

Members of Congress have been holding hearings on suicides tied to the military for over a decade, yet nothing changed. As a matter of fact, it has gotten worse considering there were a lot less serving recently than during the "surges" of forces heading into Afghanistan and Iraq.

In 2006 the Army had this report,
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.
Thankfully Ann Scott Tyson, reporter from The Washington Post cared enough to cover it.
"When we look at combat, we look at some very horrific events," said Col. Ed Crandell, head of the Army's Mental Health Advisory Team, which polled 1,461 soldiers in Iraq in late 2005. "They come back, they know they're going to deploy again," and as a result they don't ever return to normal levels of stress, Crandell said. 
How many were redeployed back then?
More than 650,000 soldiers have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 -- including more than 170,000 now in the Army who have served multiple tours -- so the survey's finding of increased risk from repeated exposure to combat has potentially widespread implications for the all-volunteer force.  
Ever since then, members of Congress have been pushing through bills and funding them, we should have been demanding a change in direction for our servicemembers sake and all who came after them.
Suicide Named Third Leading Cause of Death Among National Guard Soldiers
Army
By Sgt. 1st Class Erick Studenicka
August 20, 2007

ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, Aug. 20, 2007) - In terms of a threat to Army National Guard Soldiers, it easily rivals rounds from a concealed sniper, the devastation of an improvised explosive device or a blast from rocket-propelled grenade.
Master Sgt. Marshall Bradshaw, the Army National Guard's Suicide Prevention Program manager, posts a suicide prevention placard at the National Guard's joint headquarters at Jefferson Plaza One in Arlington, Va., Aug. 17. Statistics reveal suicide is the third-leading cause of death among National Guard Soldiers. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Erick Studenicka)
The threat doesn't stem from any foreign armed forces or military power, and casualties resulting from this threat are often the saddest and most heartbreaking of deaths for the Family and friends of these Soldiers.

The threat is suicide, which is the No. 3 cause of death for National Guard Soldiers so far this year, according to the Army National Guard's Suicide Prevention Program. In Soldier deaths this fiscal year, there have been 42 cases of suicide in the National Guard, narrowly followed by 47 combat deaths and 45 accident-related deaths.

The Army Suicide Event Report, released Aug. 16, reported 99 confirmed suicides among active-duty Soldiers in calendar year 2006, its highest number since 1991. The National Guard's total of 42 is already 17 more than the 2006 total and marks the highest total since the National Guard began keeping suicide statistics in 2004.
read more here
Seven years later...
Suicide Prevention GENERAL FRANK J. GRASS CHIEF, NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU, April 8, 2014

One of the strengths of the National Guard is that we are representative of our great American society. Unfortunately, this also means that the suicide trends our society struggles with are also present in the National Guard. While suicides in the Air National Guard are 14 decreasing, the Army National Guard rates remain high. Although there have been a below average number of Army National Guard suicides year to date in 2014, there were 119 suicides in 2013, the highest per year number over the past six years.
By the end of 2016 there were 123 National Guardsmen, 80 Reservists and 275 Active Duty servicemembers.

So what exactly did they do with what they knew and who was held accountable? 

When do we demand Congress stops funding what does not work and find what does? 

Will there ever be any investigations into where all the money went? 

Who got it? 

Who got another grant? 

Where is the GAO on this?