Saturday, December 2, 2017

Veteran Suicide Stunts Rewarded Without Results

Suicide Stunts Rewarded, Truth Ignored
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 2, 2017

Several months ago, I had a lengthy session with a young veteran. He had no clue what PTSD was, why he had it, what it was doing to his family or even the simple fact that he could actually heal with the right help.

What made all this worse, was even though he was broke, he was spending money on the group he was hearing about from his friends. He wanted to put a tattoo on his neck with "22KILL" until his eyes were open to things that could actually keep him from becoming one of the veterans committing suicide.

That is the number every family left behind knows about, the one that was part of them.

The other thing the veteran assumed was that the veterans he heard about committing suicide were the OEF and OIF generation. He didn't know the majority of veterans committing suicide were actually over the age of 50. These veterans did not merit any efforts from the "awareness" raisers. The veterans without "honorable discharges" were not worthy of anyone paying attention to them or even the simple fact they were not included in any report. Didn't matter if they had been deployed once, twice or even ten times, because if they were given a bad discharge, they could not claim anything connected to "veteran status" on anything.

When he knew some of the basic facts, such as the "22" came from limited data from just 21 states, he was furious. He wondered why none of the "awareness" folks told him anything he actually needed to know. Here is the suicide report they must have not read or understand that this was in it.
Currently available data include information on suicide mortality among the population of residents in 21 states. Veteran status in each of these areas is determined by a single question asking about history of U.S. military service. Information about history of military service is routinely obtained from family members and collected by funeral home staff and has not been validated using information from the DoD or VA. 
Or, even know that while California and Texas veterans were not in the report, California did not have military service on their deaths certificates, and Illinois didn't, plus some other states. California has the highest number of veterans and Texas is the second largest, plus last time I heard, we had 50 states.

But this is how the VA got the number on page 19.
The estimated number of Veterans who died from suicide each day was calculated as the percentage of all suicides identified as Veterans multiplied by the number of suicides in the U.S. and divided by the number of days in a year. The estimated number of Veterans who have died from suicide is based on data obtained from 21 states and has been calculated using service history as reported on death certificates
Here is the link to the one from 2016 but yet again, when they included California, if the veteran was not in the VA system, they would have no way of knowing if the person committing suicide was a veteran or not. Remember they just passed a bill to have military service added to their death certificates.

It is bad enough when reporters do not do any research when they cover stunts about a topic as serious as veterans committing suicide. It is even worse when these groups are given awards for them.

Omar N. Bradley “Spirit of Independence” Award recipient. 
The award has been given to outstanding American Citizens and organizations, according to a news release. He is the first person to be awarded the "Spirit of Independence" award since Gen. Charles C. "Hondo" Campbell in 2011.
And why was it "earned"
22KILL began as a social media movement to raise awareness of the suicide epidemic in 2013 with the “22 Push-up Challenge,” and became a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2015. The name is derived from the average of 22 veterans who die by suicide per day. 
Yes, those guys. The ones that have Police Officers and Firefighters doing pushups for a number that was not even close to the truth, all the while, ignoring their own committing suicide. Their suicides have gone up but you don't see stunts for them.

I am far from alone going after these groups. More and more are trying to tell the truth so that veterans will actually become aware of what they need to know, instead of what some want them to hear.

One of the responses that sticks out in my head the most is when I confronted someone who believed she could do a lot better than anyone else. When I explained facts, she got defensive. Her response summed up exactly what is going on. "22 is an easy number to remember."

Here is another group trying to get this right.

The 22 Pushups Challenge Isn’t Actually Helping Anyone
Task and Purpose
The main problem with this is not the cause, it’s the tactic. As military veterans know, intelligence doesn’t exist just so the military can learn about an enemy. Intelligence exists to enable the military to defeat an enemy. 
Likewise, awareness doesn’t do much. You can know a problem exists. That doesn’t mean you are any closer to solving the problem. There are a lot of diseases and societal issues with different color ribbons and special days for awareness, but not a lot of solutions. Veterans dying by suicide has been all over the news since the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal broke in April 2014. 
If you really want to do something meaningful, stop supporting the groups raising awareness because it is an easy number to remember. Help get the facts out there or as we've already seen, those groups get attention of the press, donations they never have to explain, but the number of families left behind grows far beyond what any of these groups will ever pay attention to.

It got worse for the only veterans they want to talk about along with the other veterans they totally ignored!
Check these links to learn more about what the press didn't bother to learn about.

Unrequited Service the real data you need to know.

This could go on and on but it is a start for you to learn. If you want to change the outcome, change what you are supporting and start actually supporting the veterans you want to see living instead of dying.

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