Sunday, September 30, 2018

Why are we seeing higher number of suicides and lower numbers in the veteran population?

According to the news reports, the number of veterans committing suicide has gone down...so why are we seeing this in the report itself? The following came from National Suicide Data Report Appendix.
Why are we seeing higher number of suicides and lower numbers in the veteran population?

Why are we seeing higher rates than we did in 2005, and year afterwards? It is millions less veterans and hundreds more suicides.

This requires action from all of us!


Find out what you can do to save their lives and actually prevent suicides because frankly, we had better results before everyone was reminding them that far too many took their own lives instead of helping them to #TakeBackYourLife and heal. Look at the years, and all the numbers to better understand that when the say "down slightly" it depends on what else went down with it.

Go to this publication from the VA and find out how to help them help veterans. The VA is not the enemy and we need to stop treating it like it was. If they are failing at something, help them fix it. If they are succeeding at something, help them expand it!

Remember, veterans are not civilians and the VA being there for them was part of the deal...so why didn't we commit to them too?

Reaching all Veterans to prevent suicide will take the entire community.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is on a mission to end suicide among Veterans in communities across America. Approximately 14 of the 20 Veterans who die by suicide each day are not receiving care from the Veterans Health Administration. We need your help to reach them. We invite you to share your insights, experiences, and resources to shape public health initiatives that support Veterans at risk. One Veteran suicide is one too many. It’s time to act — Are you with us? VA works with hundreds of organizations and corporations at the national and local levels, including Veterans Service Organizations, to raise awareness about its suicide prevention programs. These partners have regular contact with Veterans as well as active duty Servicemembers, Reservists, National Guard members, and their families. By reaching out to help, communities can send the message that they value these individuals and their service.

Organized events are a great way for our partners to advance this critical national goal of ending Veteran suicide. By promoting Veteran-focused resources in your community at events such as job fairs and wellness expos, you can help us reach all Veterans. Connecting with fellow Veterans to spread the word about valuable mental health and suicide prevention resources makes Veteran wellness a community priority.

Veterans, family members, and care providers can initiate a free and confidential conversation with an experienced and caring VA responder by calling the Veterans Crisis Line. 
If you are concerned about the safety and well-being of a Veteran, call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1. 
Chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat to get support anonymously. 
A text message can also be sent to 838255 to connect to a VA responder. 
These resources can be used even if a Veteran is not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care.

Veteran suicide is preventable, and suicide prevention is everyone’s business. Thank you for helping to prevent and end Veteran suicide. Visit www.va.gov/nace/myVA/ for more information.
Recent news reports
Oregon
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the suicide rate for veterans in Oregon in 2015, the most recent year data is available, was 37.2 percent, which was more than double the national average among non-veterans.

That year alone, 118 Oregon veterans committed suicide.

“It really kind of haunts you,” Julie Terry said, whose brother, Will Naugle, committed suicide in 2017. “There’s a lot of ‘what could I have done?’ or ‘Is there something that could have changed it?’”
Tennessee
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – (CLARKSVILLENOW) – The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has released a data sheet from 2016 that details the suicide rate of veterans in Tennessee, compared to the veteran suicide rates in the southern region and the nation; as well as the general suicide rates in Tennessee, the southern region, and the nation.
18-34: 26
35-54: 38
55-74: 66
75+: 26

Eighth graders discover "Incredibly Stupid" Vietnam veteran wise guy

Eighth-graders win second place for documentary about Vietnam veteran
Capital Journal Online
By Max Wirestone, Special to The Capital-Journal
Posted Sep 29, 2018
“There’s a lot people out there who do amazing things,” Christensen said. “But they don’t get credit or recognition for it. And I think they should.”
If there is a wave of student documentaries next year at Washburn Rural Middle School, gifted facilitators Lindsay McDowell and Alice Bertels will know why.

That is because two of their students — eighth-graders Megan Christensen and Meredith Kucera — won second place in the national Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes’ 2018 Discovery Award competition. The contest encourages middle and high school students to research and uncover the stories of positive role models whose contributions to history aren’t well-known.

Their winning documentary, “The Incredibly Stupid One,” is a profile of U.S. Navy veteran Douglas Hegdahl, who gathered critical intelligence from the North Vietnamese camp where he was held captive by pretending to be illiterate and mentally disabled.

The students were drawn to the project not because of the documentary aspect but because of their interest in the subject matter. read more here
Seaman Apprentice Douglas Hegdahl
Hegdahl, who was considered by the Vietnamese to be worthless in terms of intelligence information, was one of the first prisoners offered an early release. He didn't want to go and tried to behave so that he would be detained — at one point, when Tom Hayden was touring the prison camp, Hegdahl gave him the finger.

But his roommate pulled rank and ordered him to go, knowing that Hegdahl's remarkable memory would provide the government invaluable information and the families of prisoners immeasurable comfort. Hegdahl memorized the names of more than 300 fellow POWs, along with their Social Security numbers and an identifying trait such as a pet's name for confirmation.

After Hurricane Florence, Camp Lejeune families living with mold!

At U.S. Marine base, families plead for housing help after Florence
Reuters
Andrea Januta
September 29, 2018
Most of Camp Lejeune’s housing is run by Atlantic Marine Corps Communities, or AMCC, a partnership between Australia-based Lendlease Group, Boston-based WinnCompanies and the U.S. Navy. All the homes profiled in this article are managed by AMCC.
Jennifer Maher, pregnant in her third trimester, prepares cleaning supplies in an attempt to clean up mold after suffering severe damage to her home post-Hurricane Florence at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, U.S., September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Andrea Januta
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. Two weeks after Hurricane Florence deluged the U.S. East Coast’s largest Marine Corps base with raging waters and dangerous winds, some military families say they are still residing in unlivable conditions and awaiting help from the base’s private housing manager.

Some, like Jennifer Maher, said they feel unsafe in their Camp Lejeune homes but were told they will not be moved because assessment crews determined their houses are habitable.

That did not work for Maher, pregnant in her third trimester and living with her husband and 2-year-old son. When she returned home last Friday, she opened the door to the stench of mold, she said while showing the wreckage to a visiting reporter. Then she saw the ceiling had collapsed in their bedroom and garage.

“I’m pregnant and I can smell the mold,” said Maher, whose husband is a Navy corpsman stationed at Lejeune. “There’s no way I could bring a newborn home and let her breathe this in.”
read more here

East Orlando Harley Davidson for Ride to Fight Suicide

UPDATE
A ride for life
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
September 30, 2018

Today my husband and I are celebrating our 34th anniversary. No matter how hard some years were, we had love and fed each other hope. He is the reason I have done this work for the last 36 years. I have seen the darkness but have also seen what brighter days bring.

Yesterday I went out to East Orlando Harley Davidson for Ride to Fight Suicide

All of our lives have been changed in someway by the lose of hope, but none of us are ready to give up this fight for life.

While our lives may be different, the purpose of our lives has become one of restoring hope.
Romans 8:28 King James Version (KJV)
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Suicide is a painful thing for the families left behind. They never find the answers they are looking for. It is always with them, when the person they loved gave up on themselves. Beyond that, they gave up on the people who loved them as well.

The never ending questions of "why didn't they come to me" or "talk to me" or "let me know how much they were hurting" or "why didn't they trust me to listen to them?"

I know those feelings all too well, because it happened in my family. My husband's nephew was also a Vietnam veteran and he committed suicide 18 years ago. I have all those questions still in my head that will never be answered.
read more here

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Fire Department Captain opens up about PTSD and being courageous

Local firefighter opens up about dark side of the job
By: MADELYN JANSSEN
Posted: Sep 27, 2018
Robinson wants other first responders to know it's not only ok, but good to talk about how the calls affect them. And he wants to be an example of how you can come out the other side, and find a path back to happiness. Society, friends and family can all play a part in breaking the stigma around asking for help. "Ask the tough questions if you think someone is struggling. You will never regret asking, you will regret not asking."
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - "Suck it up buttercup." That's the stigma Kern County Fire Department Captain Derek Robinson is fighting to change. He's been with the department for more than 17 years. It was only last year that he himself dropped the act, and decided it was time to ask for help. In August he detailed that fight to overcome his emotional injuries, in a Facebook post. He's sharing that to help reach anyone else struggling with the same demons.

A study last year said first responders are more likely to die from suicide than in the line of duty. PTSD and depression rates among first responders are as much as five times higher than among civilians. Robinson didn't realize for years that he was among those suffering. But the Friday after Thanksgiving 2017 he was called to a scene that changed that. A family was ripped apart by a drunk driver. A mother and child killed in a crash along Highway 99. "You can't respond and not feel something, especially when you see the impact on the family. Here's a family on Thanksgiving day traveling and their lives were not just interrupted, but completely destroyed and they lost a mother and a child, you can't absorb that. You just can't." Robinson suffered from sleepless nights. He turned to self-medication at times. He lost relationships and lost his passion for the job. 

Years of repeated exposure to trauma had taken their toll. It was a month after that Thanksgiving crash that Robinson decided to seek help. That changed everything. "Where I am now is drastically different from where I am today by getting help. This is more of an injury and same as a physical injury it can be dealt with."
read more here

Marine veteran with PTSD shares healing journey

Marine veteran shares story of battling PTSD and how to get help
News 4 San Antonio
by Ariana Lubelli
September 28th 2018
"The important thing is to know the services that are out and seek those services before you get to that crisis point," said Gordon.


There is a great need for mental health services for veterans. It's a demand seen across the country and just as prevalent in San Antonio.

Andrew Reidel is a Marine veteran and outreach coordinator for PTSD Foundation of America. He knows all too well about the demons that PTSD brings on.

"Just imagine coming home and being just dead, just a moving body, just existing not really living. That's how we come home," said Reidel.

He served eight years in the military with tours to Iraq and Afghanistan and operations in other overseas locations.

"For me, it was the nightmares and the night sweats, real quick to get angry. Probably the worst part of it was not being able to connect with the average person when I got home," said Reidel.
Since 2011, Reidel has attempted suicide at least three times. Sadly, his story is familiar to many veterans.
read more here

Atlanta VA Ranking Dropped

Atlanta VA quality drops to one of the worst in the nation
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By Willoughby Mariano
Sept 28, 2018
Troubles at the Atlanta VA persist despite years of reform attempts because department heads are slow to change, said Bob Teets, a U.S. Marine veteran who serves on the Atlanta VA director’s advisory council. These physicians are more concerned with preserving their reputations than alerting top administrators to problems, he said.
The Atlanta VA Medical Center’s quality rating fell to one out of five stars, ranking it among the bottom of VA facilities nationally, according to new data. Last year, it earned three stars. Photo: Phil Skinner
Atlanta’s VA Medical Center now ranks as one of the worst in the nation after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs latest national assessment of hospital quality, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News have learned.

The Decatur-area hospital’s overall quality rating fell from three stars to one — the lowest in the VA’s five-star ranking system. This means that Atlanta’s VA is among the lowest-scoring 10 percent of the department’s 100-plus medical centers nationwide.
A June Inspector General audit found that the hospital has the highest staffing shortages of any VA hospital in the country. The hospital was short 89 positions, including neurologist, pathologist, psychologist and nurses slots.
read more here

“Dads Matter" VA program for healing families with PTSD

Dads back from war, struggling with PTSD, discover how to be good fathers in new Veterans Affairs program
Orange County Register
By DAVID WHITING
PUBLISHED: September 27, 2018

Kevin Lynch looks at seven of his fellow veterans and wastes no time revealing how tough it is for men who have been splattered with the blood of war to be good fathers.
Tristan Foust, with his 3-month-old son, Tristan, and Mason Donnell, attend a group meeting for combat veterans who want to become better dads, at the North Orange County Vet Center in Garden Grove on Saturday, September 22, 2018. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)
“Let’s admit it, except for one of us, we’re all in a 12-step program,” Lynch exclaims, leaning back in his chair and throwing his hands up in the air. “Most of us here are rebuilding our lives.”

It is a recent Saturday and Lynch, along with his brothers in arms, is 10 weeks into a new model program called “Dads Matter.” If successful, the Veterans Administration could roll it out across the nation.

Sure, Lynch, a former Navy search and rescue corpsman, just blew up the dumbest tenet of many 12-step programs and that is to dump stigma on top of stigma by so-called experts who insist on anonymity. But on this day, not only have the men agreed to share personal battles — they have mustered the courage to go public.
read more here

Tulsa Police Patrol Car Tribute to Marine

Tulsa Police Unveil Patrol Car Dedicated To Veterans
News on 6
September 27th 2018

TULSA, Oklahoma - A newly wrapped patrol car is making its debut at the Tulsa State Fair. It’s dedicated to a former officer who died while serving as a Marine in Iraq.
Jared Shoemaker was killed in action in Iraq in 2006 after his reserve unit was deployed.

Tulsa Police unveiled the car Thursday. It’s decorated in Marine Corp camouflage with red, white and blue. The department said it’s dedicated to Shoemaker and other veterans who serve on the police department.

"To represent the Marines who work for our department, the Marines who lost their lives, the Marines still fighting for our country," Sergeant Richard Meulenberg said.

After the fair, the car will hit the streets as part of normal patrols.

It will also be used in the upcoming Veteran's Day parade.
go here to see the rest of this patrol car

Friday, September 28, 2018

Press missed the biggest issue on Graham's outburst

Senator Graham has no answer for hell he added to military sexual assault survivors
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 2, 2018

After reading some of my Republican friends lash out on social media today, it made me sick to my stomach. Then again, they are letting the political haze cloud their judgment to the point where they miss the biggest point of all. 

When I think of all the female veterans I have talked with over the last 30+ years, all I could think about was what they went through after being attacked by other service members who were supposed to be ready to die for them, but used that trust to attack them.

The press has ignored the worst part about Senator Graham's outburst yesterday. That is, the message he sent every member of the military about what he thinks about sexual assaults.

When he sat there and defended a man accused of sexual assaults, after listening to the woman tell what happened to her, he sent a shock wave throughout female veterans who have been subjected to this attitude for far too long.

Was he actually trying to say that sexual assaults were not crimes? Is that what he and many other Senators think?

What makes this worse is Graham was a Colonel in the Air Force.
Before being elected to Congress, Graham compiled a distinguished record in the United States Air Force as he logged six-and-a-half years of service on active duty as an Air Force lawyer. From 1984-1988, he was assigned overseas and served at Rhein-Main Air Force Base in Germany. Upon leaving active duty Air Force in 1989, Graham joined the South Carolina Air National Guard where he served until 1995. During the first Gulf War in the early 90's, Graham was called to active duty and served state-side at McEntire Air National Guard Base as Staff Judge Advocate where he prepared members for deployment to the Gulf region.

In 1995, Graham joined the U.S. Air Force Reserves. During American military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Graham put his experience in military law to use pulling numerous short-term Reserve duties in both countries over congressional breaks and holidays.

Graham retired from the Air Force Reserves in June 2015 having served his country in uniform for 33 years. He retired at the rank of Colonel.
Lindsey Graham erupts during Kavanaugh hearing

When you consider the committees he serves on, it is even worse.

  This same senator serves on these committees
Lindsey Graham sits on the following committees:


Senate Committee on Appropriations
Chair, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Member, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
Member, Subcommittee on Department of Defense
Member, Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies
Member, Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
Member, Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Chair, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism
Member, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
Member, Subcommittee on the Constitution
Senate Committee on Armed Services
Member, Subcommittee on Cybersecurity
Member, Subcommittee on Personnel
Member, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
Senate Committee on the Budget
And if you have not been paying attention to how huge sexual assaults are in the military, far worse than what we civilians deal with, here is a little bit more you should know.

The DOD released this

DoD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Assault in Military



The Defense Department today released its Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, which shows that service member reporting of sexual assault increased by about 10 percent in fiscal year 2017.The increase in reporting occurred across all four military services.The report for fiscal 2017 says the department received 6,769 reports of sexual assault involving service members as either victims or subjects of criminal investigation, a 9.7 percent increase over the 6,172 reports made in fiscal 2016.The department encourages reporting of sexual assaults so that service members can be connected with restorative care and that perpetrators can be held appropriately responsible, Navy Rear Adm. Ann M. Burkhardt, the director of the Defense Department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, told reporters."Every sexual assault in the military is a failure to protect the men and women who have entrusted us with their lives,” she said. "We will not rest until we eliminate this crime from our ranks."

Military.com released this

VA Must Prove to Women Vets That They Belong

Last month, a Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General report revealed that roughly 1,300 claims for military sexual trauma were incorrectly processed and denied, leaving veterans suffering from PTSD without the benefits they deserve.
Military Times had to produce this

Sexual assault risk at your military base: Here’s a searchable database


So yes, as Senator Graham talked about the hell that he saw the accuser and the accused go through, he just added to the hell survivors of sexual assaults have been in while he had the power in the military and when he sat on the committees that were supposed to make it right for them.

They just heard him loud and clear. 

Homeless veteran James Clyde Hutchens Jr., 56 died in shelter

UPDATE
LEXINGTON, SC (FOX Carolina) - Officials in the Midlands have found family members of an Army veteran who died in a Lexington County homeless shelter earlier this month.

This SC veteran died at a homeless shelter. Can you help find his family?
The State
Teddy Kulmala
September 28, 2018


The Lexington County Coroner’s Office needs help locating family for James Clyde Hutchens Jr., an Army veteran who died earlier this month at a shelter for homeless veterans. The Lexington County Coroner’s Office needs help locating family for James Clyde Hutchens Jr., an Army veteran who died earlier this month at a shelter for homeless veterans. Lexington County Coroner's Office
LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC
Coroner’s officials need help locating the family of an Army veteran who died this month at a homeless shelter in Lexington County.

James Clyde Hutchens Jr., 56, died Sept. 13 of natural causes at a shelter for homeless veterans, according to Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher, whose office has been unable to locate any family for the veteran.

Fisher’s office has limited information. She said they believe Hutchens, whose date of birth is Aug. 1, 1962, has some possible ties to family in Spartanburg, but they still have been unable to locate any next of kin.
read more here

Panama City Florida Homeless Veterans Treated Like Part of Community

Community reaches out to help local homeless veterans
WJHG ABC 7 News
September 27, 2018

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Dozens of community groups, including CareerSource Gulf Coast, held a Stand Down Thursday in downtown Panama City.
"This is our 11th one that we've done and we've brought together maybe 50 or so organizations, state agencies, private businesses in the community," Director of Workforce Services for CareerSource Gulf Coast Lee Ellzey said.

It helps our local homeless veterans get back on their feet.

"They're giving out toiletries," Ellzey explained. "They're giving out clothes. They're giving out housing vouchers."

The Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs reported 2,789 homeless vets in Florida last year, and it hits close to home for Andrea Kennedy, a local homeless veteran.

"It's overwhelming in a good way and I'm blessed," she said.
read more here
From Panama City news Herald

New home for disabled veteran vandalized by teenagers!

2 juveniles arrested for allegedly vandalizing home under construction for disabled veteran in Hanson
WHDH News
SEPTEMBER 26, 2018

HANSON, MASS. (WHDH) - Two juveniles were arrested in Hanson, accused of vandalizing a home under construction for a disabled veteran.
The teenage boys, whose names were not released, smashed every single window on a house being built by Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors — the first one this charity has built here in Massachusetts.

“This house is for a veteran. He’s a single-leg amputee, and his home right now doesn’t work for him on several levels,” said Karalexis, the lead project manager. “So what our organization does, we come in here, we build a fully functional handicapped home.”

Karalexis says the damage is so extensive, it’ll set them back weeks.

The home is free for the wounded veteran, but it costs construction crews time and money.

“They’re all mortgage-free,” Karalexis said. “We purchase the house, and the only way to do that is with the generosity of corporations. Every penny counts and the pennies go toward the projects.”

They estimate the damage at $50,000.
read more here

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Vietnam veteran with terminal cancer had yard sale to pay his for funeral?

UPDATE November 22, 2018

Navy veteran who held yard sales to pay for own funeral dies

His story gained national attention after his yard sale was visited by a pair of men who went on to start a GoFundMe campaign for the veteran. Nearly 2,000 people donated to the campaign for a total of $65,000, far above the amount needed for Davis’ funeral.

Navy veteran, 66, with terminal cancer holds yard sales to raise money for funeral
Fox News
By Stephen Sorace
September 27, 3018
"It broke your heart, hearing the story, and we just decided we had to do something to try and help him, try to make his life a little bit easier," Sheets told Johnstown, Pa.-based WJAC-TV. Davis served in the Navy from 1970-76 during the Vietnam War, the station reported.


A 66-year-old U.S. Navy veteran dying from cancer has been selling his possessions at weekend yard sales to raise money for his own funeral, reports said Wednesday.

Willie Davis, of Cambria County, Pa., was diagnosed with stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma. He plans to raise enough cash to be buried next to his parents in Culpepper, Va., according to his GoFundMe page.

The page was created by two men, David Dunkleberger and his friend, Ed Sheets, after visiting Davis’ yard sale in Brownstown, Pa., in August. When they asked whose funeral Davis was financing, he replied: "Mine."
read more here

In Florida we lost 530 veterans to suicide in 2016

UPDATE SHOCKER 

Florida had more veterans committing suicide than California and the same as Texas!

California
Total 490
18-34 71
35-54 128
55-74 162
75+ 129

Texas
Total 530
18-34 109
35-54 161
55-74 169
75+ 90

Yesterday it was clear that the benefits of suicide awareness went poof with the release of yet another suicide report from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The suicide rate for Veterans ages 18–34 substantially increased from 2005 to 2016. 
• When comparing Veteran suicide rates by age group, Veterans ages 18–34 had the highest suicide rate in 2016, at 45 per 100,000. 
• In 2016, 58.1 percent of Veteran suicides were among Veterans age 55 and older.
For all the stunts and slogans leading people to believe that the number means anything, you now have proof that all of their stunts and ear worm slogans managed to increase the bank accounts for thousands of groups all over the country at the same time left veterans with one message. They have plenty of company if they want to commit suicide.

Suicides among military bomb techs at crisis level
Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal via AP
By: Melissa Nelson Gabriel
September 18, 2018
The foundation does not have an exact number of EOD techs who have taken their own lives, in part because it is often difficult to tell if someone died accidentally or intentionally and also because there is not a good national tracking system. 
Danelle Hackett wanted her Marine husband to focus on the lives he saved disarming IEDs as a military bomb technician during two tours in Iraq.

Maj. Jeff Hackett could only focus on his 16 colleagues who died during the dangerous bomb disposal missions he led from early 2005 through late 2007.

"My husband looked at those guys as his own family, his own sons. Repeatedly losing techs just wore on him and wore him. He blamed himself for every death," Danelle Hackett said.

In June 2010, after a day of drinking at an American Legion Post in Wyoming near the family's home, Jeff Hackett downed a couple more swigs of alcohol, said "cheers" and shot and killed himself.

Among the highly skilled and elite ranks of military explosive ordnance disposal technicians — the men and women who have been on the front line of the war on terror since Sept. 11, 2001 — suicide is a growing concern.

"It is literally an epidemic," said Ken Falke, a former EOD technician and founder of the Niceville-based EOD Warrior Foundation, which supports current and former military EOD techs and their families.
Air Force Sgt. Chris Ferrell, a 32-year-old EOD tech who has had many combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 13 years, has attempted suicide four times.

He has a sleeve of tattoos on his arm with 26 shaded-in stars, each one represents a friend he has lost on the battlefield.
read more here
Think about what their jobs were in combat. Constantly putting their lives between bombs an others they served with. That is how much the lives of others mattered to them.

Yet, no matter what price they paid doing their jobs, they are left paying a much higher price out of service because no one told them how to consider their own lives as worthy as those they would have died for.

Now maybe you understand how repulsive it is to constantly hear a number that even they VA said they will no longer use.
Does not highlight the average number of suicides per day, a measure that is commonly misinterpreted, but rather focuses on suicide counts and rates among various populations. 
In Florida we lost 530 veterans to suicide. Of the known suicides, 506 were males and 24 were females. 
Age 18-34 52 suicides

Age 35-54 124 suicides
Age 55-74 204 suicides
Age 75+ 150 suicides.
Since the largest group of veterans in our state are over the age of 50, we need to focus more on these forgotten generations.

Then again, we need to focus more on what we should have learned before it got this bad for those who managed to survive this many years after risking their lives in the military.

How can any of this be taken so lightly that we are allowing people to use a slogan, that has not only been proven to be a false number, but doing more harm than good?

It isn't as if no one knew what was going on all along. Families knew their names but others wanted to reduce them down to a number, then demanded the right to use it as part of their "charity" work. Work? 

Yes, it must be very hard to get groups to pull stunts and get reporters their to cover them, while managing to get the uninformed to donate. Anything, as long as they could not pay attention to the detail...the higher suicide and lower survival rate for our veterans.

The only way to change this is to change what we are doing beginning with the "resilience" training the military has been doing since 2009. 

I am just a regular person and I figured out the harm it would do back in 2009. That should freak out anyone with half a brain because the people in charge had no problem at all spending billions on it every year no matter what the results proved.


Kathie Costos DiCesare
Published on Oct 21, 2012
There are many things that keep getting missed when we talk about Combat and PTSD. This is to clear up the biggest one of all.

What is courage and how does it link to being "mentally tough" so that you can push past what you were told about "resiliency" training. Chaplain Kathie "Costos" DiCesare of Wounded Times Blog tries to explain this in interview done by Union Squared Studios. 
That will spare the new generation going into the military. As for those who are already in and those who left, we need to change the conversation from reminding them of how many others gave up and start letting them know they can heal!

They do not have to surrender to what they already survived!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Benefits of "suicide awareness" just went poof

Want proof suicide awareness went poof?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 26, 3018

The VA released another suicide report. Wonder how many of the "awareness folks" making a living off veterans killing themselves will actually read the report?

They may want to try to make sure their supporters doing pushups and other stunts never find out about it, because it shows all this "awareness" has not worked!
The number of Veteran suicides per year decreased from 6,281 deaths in 2015 to 6,079 deaths in 2016.
The number of Veteran suicides in 2016 remains greater than the 5,797 Veteran suicides that occurred in 2005. From 2005 to 2016, the Veteran population decreased by about 4 million people. Given that the Veteran population decreased in size, the number of Veteran suicides per year can also decrease even while the rate of Veteran suicide increases.
And yet, this is the number the VA had back in 1999.
So yes, we are down 4 million veterans since 2005, and the number of known suicides remains the same. Want more proof that this "suicide awareness" thing isn't working? Read more.


Suicide deaths among never federally activated former National Guard and Reserve members increased from 2005 to 2016.
In 2016, there were 902 suicides among never federally activated former Guard and Reserve members.



From 2005 to 2016, the number of suicides among women Veterans increased.
• From 2005 to 2016, the woman Veteran population increased.
• After adjusting for age, the rate of suicide among women Veterans was higher than the rate among non-Veteran women.
The suicide rate for Veterans ages 18–34 substantially increased from 2005 to 2016.
• When comparing Veteran suicide rates by age group, Veterans ages 18–34 had the highest suicide rate in 2016, at 45 per 100,000.
• In 2016, 58.1 percent of Veteran suicides were among Veterans age 55 and older.
From 2015 to 2016, the Veteran suicide rate decreased from 30.5 per 100,000 to 30.1 per 100,000.
Suicide rates for Veteran and non-Veteran adults increased from 2005 to 2016.
In 2016, the suicide rate was 1.5 times greater for Veterans than for non-Veteran adults, after adjusting for age and gender.
How could talking about suicides give a veteran who has lost hope any reason to get up another day?

Oh, it is so much easier to just drown out the voices trying to let them know they can heal and live better lives. After all, saving veterans is a lot of hard work, but oh, so worth it!

Stop telling them they are killing themselves! They already know that. They need to hear they can #TakeBackYourLife and kick the crap out of PTSD! And yes, I meant it the way it sounded.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Iraq veteran's song dedicated to buddy who committed suicide

Fought Over Him
Mikele Buck’s decision might surprise you.
Country Living
BY MEGAN FRIEDMAN
SEP 25, 2018

Mikele Buck, a country singer who is a veteran of the Iraq war, gave an incredibly moving performance on The Voice, dedicated to his friend from the military who committed suicide. His blind audition was so strong, in fact, that it had coaches Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton fighting for him to join their teams.
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Blake Shelton Is AMAZED by Mikele Buck's Brooks and Dunn Cover - The Voice 2018 Blind Auditions

Day after discharge, veteran's body found in VA parking lot

UPDATE

Marine veteran loved to fix things — but the VA offered no plan for him to help himself

He sought help from the VA while struggling with suicidal thoughts – feelings of helplessness, frustration and anxiety. After spending four days at an inpatient mental health unit, he left the hospital, went to his car and shot himself. Police found his body the following day, his phone full of voicemails and texts from his father, Greg Miller, with one message sent over and over again: “I love you. We love you. Come home.”

Watchdog finds deficiencies in care for vet who committed suicide in Minneapolis VA parking lot
STARS AND STRIPES
By NIKKI WENTLING
Published: September 25, 2018
The next day, police found the veteran dead in the parking lot of the Minneapolis VA hospital, with a gunshot wound to the head. The local medical examiner determined the death a suicide.


WASHINGTON — A government watchdog determined a Department of Veterans Affairs mental health unit in Minneapolis didn’t follow VA policies before discharging an Iraq War veteran who committed suicide in the facility’s parking lot less than 24 hours later.

The Office of Inspector General reported Tuesday that VA staff didn’t collaborate on a discharge plan for the veteran, didn’t ensure the veteran had a follow-up appointment about newly prescribed antidepressants, and didn’t adequately document whether they had access to firearms. 

Though the VA failed in several areas, inspectors said they couldn’t determine whether the mistakes directly led to the veteran’s suicide.
The Minneapolis VA made similar errors in 2011, when a Vietnam War veteran committed suicide while under the facility’s care. A VA Inspector General report in 2012 found the hospital was “deficient” in how it handled the situation. Four of the recommendations the IG made after that suicide apply now, the IG wrote in its report.
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