Why using "22 veteran suicides a day" is inaccurate and potentially harmful.
Posted Aug 28, 2018
"When the first report was released in 2012, many people, in a well-meaning effort to call attention to something alarming, miscarried the application of the 22-a-day narrative. This number now dominates social media and has been adopted by a number of Veteran Service Organizations." Meaghan MobbsThis summer the Department of Veterans Affairs released its second VA National Suicide Data Report. This report, again representing a joint effort between the VA, analysts, and researchers, assesses suicide data from 2005 to 2015. Its predecessor, released in 2012, gave rise to the widely held belief that 22 veterans a day die by suicide. This report adjusts that figure by two, establishing a number closer to 20 a day--a number which has reportedly remained constant from 2008-2015. Moreover, the report states that this number also includes active duty service members, National Guard, and Reservists.
This report farther breaks down that number into those using VA-provided care (six per day), Veterans not utilizing VA services (11 a day), and those currently on active duty, National Guard, and/or in the Reserves (four a day). Perhaps, most importantly, it contains information on ethnicity, era of service, and age group comparisons.
The result is a refutation of the current belief that younger veterans, or those of the Global War on Terror generation (post-9/11 veterans), account for the bulk of veteran suicides. In fact, veterans who served during peacetime (i.e. the years between major conflicts) account for one-third of deaths by suicide in 2015. read more here
Who is she?
Meaghan Mobbs, is a West Point graduate, Afghanistan Veteran, and former Army Captain who is currently an advanced Clinical Psychology doctoral student at Columbia University, Teachers College. Mobbs is also a David O’Connor Fellow, Tillman Military Scholar, and a Noble Argus and National Military Family Association Scholarship recipient.Fighting against all the "awareness raisers" running around the country has been one of the worst experiences of my life. Friends, or people I thought were my friends, ended up defending these people and dismissing everything I tried to get them to understand.
Do you think this has been fun for me? Do you think it has been a good way to spend my time? It has done more damage to my outlook on life considering it must have been the same when rational people were trying to get fools to stop believing the world was flat!
Here is the post that this video came from
Kathie Costos DiCesareLast night I had yet another one of those conversations where I was told "I'm just sticking with the 22 a day crowd because that is the number everyone knows."
Published on Aug 25, 2018
If you are passing along the "22" or "20" a day referring to veterans committing suicide, shame on you! If you are making money to "raise awareness" about something you have no clue about, there is no excuse for you to continue. We now know the VA and the CDC do not even know how many veterans are committing suicide while far too many are committing suicide in PUBLIC~! Advocates are freaking out because the only voice in getting into veterans' heads is they are just a number!
I had to do this to be able to do the PTSD Patrol video. After yet another suicide at a VA in Indiana, I could not get out of a really lousy mood until I did this.
It did not matter how many times I have proven that this claim is doing more harm than good, and isn't even factual, it was dismissed. Worse was when I had people I know call me a liar.
Well, this morning what I've been saying for years received vindication from someone with the credentials to add to the seriousness of what has actually been going on.
When I read the healine, The VA Releases Second National Suicide Data Report" I was getting ready to slam it, since that report came out in June. A second later I read the sub-headline and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up!
Meaghan lists the fact that the majority of the known suicides are in fact veterans over the age of 50.
She has the fact that for younger veterans:
"The higher suicide rate among younger service members and veterans (age 18-34) is concerning and harder to understand. A commonly used key demographic bracket (18-34) in research, the belief is that those that fall within that cohort share similar experiences or characteristics. However, for anyone that has spent time in the military, the experience of an 18 year old on his or her first tour of duty is vastly different from a 32 year old, non-commissioned officer, with multiple deployments who has transitioned out. Unfortunately, the report does not shed more light on where the burden is most significant in that population."This came after over a decade of the military doing "resilience training" which basically told the service members they could "train their brains to be mentally strong" and in other words, they heard, they were mentally weak if they ended up with PTSD. Then you also had the fact that over 300,000 were kicked out instead of being helped. All you have to do is read the reports from the DOD on suicides within the military to know this training does not work! The average since 2012 has been 500 a year.
Here are some more points that you need to consider from this article since you have no believe me!
"So outside of the obvious pitfalls of using an inaccurate number to capture a phenomenon that may not actually be a phenomenon across time and space, it is also worth considering that the continued emphasis on awareness and attention to veteran suicide may be contributing to it. A cursory search of the hashtag #22aday or #22kill nets hundreds of thousands of results. The most recent posting? Three hours ago, with the top results being videos of people doing push-ups to raise awareness. Even more disheartening, if you are to search the hashtag #suicide, a pop-up appears with a warning and offer of help."For this part, consider this. If you lost all hope, would learning about more who decided one more day was not worth being here for, do you any good to want to stay?
"Furthermore, there is a strong body of evidence to suggest that suicide is contagious. People who complete suicide are already vulnerable for a whole host of reasons, and publicity around another suicide appears to make a difference. This suggests that one death can set off others."Yet when you hear that there is something to hope for, getting the right information and help to heal, is there, then you have hope! When you discover that the lives of veterans meant so little to the people raising awareness, they did not bother to research anything, it is like a dagger into your already wounded heart.
And this is the reason I started PTSD Patrol
"While researchers and mental health professionals may be missing pieces of the puzzle, we can all act to combat the existing narrative and drive dialogue around military and veteran suicide. The 22-a-day belief is damaging and contributes to the "broken vet" stereotype."She is yet again, totally right on that too. You are not broken! You are not weak! Nothing is hopeless and neither are you as long as you #CombatPTSD and #TakeBackYourLife as a survivor!
If your really want to do something to prevent more veterans from taking their own lives, I urge you to read the rest of this article and the next time you read something about "raising awareness" remember this part from the article. She ran into the same nonsense I have all these years!
"Personal efforts made to provide information to veteran businesses referring to and using "22 a day," have been met with astonishing responses. From “it’s recognizable,” to “its part of our brand,” to changing it “will detract from our message,” are all actual conversations I’ve had. It seems possible that the monetization and adoption of an incorrect suicide statistic for gain, whether it’s "likes," dollars, attention, or appealing to donors, is happening."Glad this article came out at the end of August since next month the articles will be all over the country as more and more reports have to do their quote of feel good stories and will once more allow these people to simply gain support for a number that is a flat out lie! Yes, September is Suicide Awareness Month and now you know a lot more than the people asking for your support will ever learn!