Friday, June 29, 2018

How many veterans committing suicide is acceptable?

If this surprises you, you have not been paying attention.

Here are some things to consider from All Things Considered KUNC by Michael De Yoanna that came out today.
Each day about 20 veterans and active-duty service members take their own lives. It's a stubborn number that hasn't changed much since 2005. If the trend continues, 100,000 veterans and troops will have been lost to suicide by the end of this year.
(Actually the VA had to retract that part with the current military in the number)

They should have added the word "known" to that because we have tracked the ones who apparently, did not count. 
The 20-a-day rate has been relatively consistent since 2008. By that estimate, more than 58,000 veterans and troops have taken their own lives since 2008. Add roughly 20,000 more suicides for the three years prior to that, when the daily suicide rate was 19 a day (in 2007) and about 18 (in 2005 and 2006). Numbers for 2016, 2017 and 2018 are yet to be tallied. If they hold to 20 a day, by the end of this year the total number of suicides among veterans and troops will be more than 100,000 since 2005.
In one snapshot of the of the issue, Congress’ investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office, found that 57,000 Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines troops discharged between 2011 and 2015 for misconduct had post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injuries and other conditions, like adjustment, anxiety and depressive disorders. Of these troops, more than 20 percent, or about 13,000 of them, received “other than honorable” discharges, which made them potentially ineligible for veterans benefits, including access to health care for their conditions.
Actually that total is a lot higher too. Plus add in about 200,000 Vietnam veterans and you get the idea.

Only 22 states with the inclusion of California in 2017 track veteran suicides but when the first suicide report came out, the limited data came from just 21 states. No clue what the other states are doing with their veterans.

So what about all the others who did not count? The veterans who moved out of the country? Veterans who faced off with law enforcement and lost their lives. That happened on a weekly basis last year.

And now for what the headline was,
Some 78,000 Veterans And Troops Lost To Suicide Since 2005
Keep in mind that while the DOD puts out quarterly reports, about 90 days after the end of the quarter, the average is 500 a year, and has not gotten better either. That screams of the need to stop what does not work all the way through. But then again, as there seems to be more and more folks screaming about numbers, the number of living veterans continues to drop.

All that plus the calls into suicide prevention keep going up!

Still no answer from the DOD on what will be the one too many to change. No answer on how many veterans committing suicide is acceptable to them either!