Saturday, February 2, 2019

Groundhog Day: Deadly Decade Results

Deadly Decade Results

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 2, 2019

Today is Groundhog Day and it appears that everyone has retreated into their dens, covering their heads for a prolonged winter season. 
Groundhog Day - specifically Feb. 2 - traces its roots back to an ancient celebration of the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. According to legend, a sunny sky on that day signifies a stormy and cold second half of winter while a cloudy sky indicates the arrival of warm weather.
Not unlike the movie, it appears the day has been repeated far too many times.

This is a headline no one wanted to see and families did not want to change their lives.

Active-Duty Military Suicides at Record Highs in 2018

But when we read something like this, anyone paying attention knows that the answer is not attitudes like this.
Army spokeswoman Col. Kathleen Turner said the loss of any soldier or family member is a tragedy. "Like the rest of America, the Army continues to grapple with the loss of too many of our people to suicide. While the Army has made progress, more work needs to be done. We must continue to ensure commanders have the policies and resources they need to prevent suicides, that all leaders have the tools to identify soldiers who are suffering and to positively intervene, and that all soldiers view seeking mental health care as a sign of strength."
 While it is true that suicides have increased across America, there is something that is different with members of the military.

First, they were willing to endure all kinds of hardships and trained to save lives. That requires something above and beyond what civilians are willing to do for the sake of someone else.

As some point out the rise in suicides in the civilian population, it is no excuse for what has been going on.

We have seen a rise in suicides within law enforcement, firefighters and other emergency responders. They also valued the lives of others to the point they were willing to sacrifice their own.

Whenever someone tries to use part of the story, they are abdicating instead of educating.

So what does a person do when they know the answer, but cannot get anyone to listen? How is it that I predicted that suicides would increase way back a decade ago? The most pressing question is, if I knew it, then why didn't the people in charge? Why have they still failed to see it?

Well, for starters I have been emailing and calling members of Congress and reporters all the time and giving them the facts. They either respond with a form letter, as with Congress, or "thanks" but no thanks phone calls, as with reporters. Occasionally some have taken the time to listen, but that is the end of it.

As for the prediction of suicides increasing, here it is.
I fully understand to you, I'm no one. I have been ignored by senators and congressmen, doctors and other brass for as long as I've been trying to help, so you are not the first. I've also been listened to by others trying to think outside the box, but more importantly to me, by the men and women seeking my help to understand this and their families. I tell them what you should have been telling them all along so that they know it's not their fault, they did not lack courage and they are not responsible for being wounded any more than they would have been to have been found by a bullet with their name on it.
If you promote this program the way Battlemind was promoted, count on the numbers of suicides and attempted suicides to go up instead of down. It's just one more deadly mistake after another and just as dangerous as sending them into Iraq without the armor needed to protect them.
For a long time, I have been deeply hurt by the fact a lot of people have simply stolen my work. Then I came to the point where getting credit, or even support, was pushed far behind the result I wanted to see. If I wanted them to heal more than anything else, I had to put that mission first.

If you are among the people using my work and taking the credit, you have my permission to do it. This is beyond my ego. I am approaching 60 and have been doing this since the age of 23. While I know what has failed, like the "resilience training," I also know what saved lives and restored hope.

There is no condition when it should ever become a matter of slogan above substance, especially when the subject is those who put their lives on the line for everyone else.

If you want to make a difference, here is where you  begin.

Stop resilience training and begin educating what PTSD is so that the stigma is killed off and they can live long enough to heal it.

Remind them that they are not a victim of anything. They are survivors of everything that they had to go through doing their jobs.

Let them know that PTSD stops gaining strength when they begin to fight back.

Support what works and stop supporting what failed with your money. Suicide Awareness has failed and that has been proven by the facts of the rise of suicides in every walk of life. What works is the truth that they can heal.

The truth of what makes these people of service experiencing a higher rate of suffering, needs to be something they are well aware of.

Support Peer Support efforts that offer true hope and help, side by side with them. This has to be done in small groups, much like AA, and not operating for the glorification of those looking to make fame for themselves.

If we do not change what we are doing, then we will not change the outcome in the right way. We will simply allow more and more to choose death after risking their lives to prevent the deaths of others.

UPDATE and sums things up nicely.

(CNN) — Punxsutawney Phil predicts spring will come early. Don't get too excited, though -- he's usually wrong.

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