Friday, February 8, 2019

Why do disabled veterans commit suicide at the VA?

The parking lot suicides

The Washington Post
By Emily Wax-Thibodeaux
February 7, 2019
His death is among 19 suicides that occurred on VA campuses from October 2017 to November 2018, seven of them in parking lots, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

ST. PAUL, Minn.
A framed photo shows Justin Miller, a 33-year-old Marine who took his life in the parking lot of a Veterans Affairs hospital in Minneapolis last year. (Jenn Ackerman for The Washington Post)
Alissa Harrington took an audible breath as she slid open a closet door deep in her home office. This is where she displays what’s too painful, too raw to keep out in the open.

Framed photos of her younger brother, Justin Miller, a 33-year-old Marine Corps trumpet player and Iraq veteran. Blood-spattered safety glasses recovered from the snow-covered Nissan Frontier truck where his body was found. A phone filled with the last text messages from his father: “We love you. We miss you. Come home.”

Miller was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal thoughts when he checked into the Minneapolis Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in February 2018. After spending four days in the mental-health unit, Miller walked to his truck in VA’s parking lot and shot himself in the very place he went to find help.

“The fact that my brother, Justin, never left the VA parking lot — it’s infuriating,” said Harrington, 37. “He did the right thing; he went in for help. I just can’t get my head around it.”

A federal investigation into Miller’s death found that the Minneapolis VA made multiple errors: not scheduling a follow-up appointment, failing to communicate with his family about the treatment plan and inadequately assessing his access to firearms. Several days after his death, Miller’s parents received a package from the Department of Veterans Affairs — bottles of antidepressants and sleep aids prescribed to Miller.
read more here

The Washington Post is close on the number of veterans committing suicide at the VA. Actually in 2018 alone, there were at least 27 public suicides.

When veterans commit suicide publicly, no one can cover it up. They do it because while they give up on themselves, they have not given up on the people of this nation finally doing the right thing for the sake of all the others. The question is, when exactly do we do it?


  1. It is sad to see these reports and statistics. Each time I read about veteran suicides I ask why is not the VA providing IV Ketamine to these folks? The data coming from other sources shows a profound and immediate positive effect for patients in preventing suicidal ideation. Here is one recent article:

  2. Because of a series of errors, language barrier of a couple of primary health providers, failure to call back when I tried to make an appointment, finally an appointment but insufficient time to do the x-ray I needed, so rescheduling, no follow up on x-ray rot another two months, inability to see the x-ray even though as a retired MD I had read films for 55 years, followup of primary care was promisedto be in a matter of minutes prior to my leaving from x-ray never occurred. No answer to note I left. Finally two letters to my primary requesting a call back. A letter to the patient representative with promise that if they failed to respond, I would submit and Inspector General complaint and go on a mini-Crusade. Finally there was a response on my answering machine. How much wasted time for all over a two month period! Fortunately, the film was normal!

    Ronald Tolls, MD, DTM&H(London),FACS, Colonel, MC US Army (ret).

    1. I am so sorry you had to go through that agony with the unknown hanging over you head. That must have been very hard. I wish I could say that this kind of thing has not been happening for decades, but I would be lying. As more and more people are OK with sending veterans into private healthcare, instead of fixing the VA, I deal with problems in the civilian world. I have a lot of problem with my back. It is a series of wait for this and wait for that, before they can address the pain level. So, we hear about problems with the VA, forget that Congress has had jurisdiction over the VA since 1946, and that veterans pre-paid for their healthcare when they put their lives on the line for the rest of us. On behalf of the rest of deserved a lot better~


If it is not helpful, do not be hurtful. Spam removed so do not try putting up free ad.