Thursday, June 20, 2019

"More than 50,000 organizations that provide suicide prevention services for veterans"

Following blind leaders leaves too many lost

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 20, 2019

When you have over a decade of claiming you are paying attention to something, but it gets worse, no matter what you do, that should give you a clue to open you eyes. Somehow, common sense dictates a serious look to find what you got wrong.

Common sense left Washington a long time ago.

Members of Congress are yet again trying to blame guns for veterans committing suicide. Guess they did not see a few facts. 

Taking guns away from veterans, especially if their jobs depend on using them, keeps them away from the VA and prevents them from seeking help from anyone.

They tried that back in 2007 with the Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Act. If it worked, would his family have to give their heartbreaking account in years later?

Voices: The heartbreak of veterans' suicides
"...Seven years ago, the script was almost exactly the same during a series of hearings I covered about veterans who were killing themselves after combat."
Randall Omvig testifies about his son Joshua's suicide during an appearance before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2007. Omvig's wife, Ellen, is at right. (Photo: File photo by Dennis Cook, AP)
The following year, President Bush signed into law a bill named after Omvig. It called for better screening of veterans returning from combat, better education, more mental health professionals for the Department of Veterans Affairs, more research, a new suicide hotline.

"This bill has Josh's name on it, but it represents so many men and women before and after Josh who were unable to live with the physical, mental and psychological effects of their service," his father, Randall Omvig, said at the time.

In late 2006, Army reservist Joshua Omvig went home for Thanksgiving a week after he returned from Iraq. While home, he pulled out a gun in front of his mother and shot himself.
Kelly Kennedy reported that for USA Today. There is a battle that veterans are losing. It is yet one more price they have paid after serving this country. It has been as it was since they risked their lives to obtain the freedom the rest of the citizens of this country enjoy. 

Leaders keep saying they do not know why the percentage of veterans committing suicide goes up after spending has also gone up. Admittedly, I am far from a genius but I do have common sense and that is the thing that is missing most in Washington.

Yet again, the VA and Congress miss the point as to why veterans commit suicide.

Notice how "first responders" were mentioned? They really think that taking away weapons will prevent suicides? It prevents veterans from seeking help, especially if their jobs are tied to the use of guns AS FIRST REPONDERS!

Notice there are no plans in place to rid the veterans community of ineffective "efforts" to change the outcome, or, hold any of the 50,000 organizations accountable, they want to blame the means instead of the reason.

Federal suicide prevention efforts in coming months will include increased focus on veterans’ access to firearms, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie said during a Capitol Hill appearance Wednesday.

“It is key,” he said during a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on his department’s recent efforts to address the problem. “Seventy percent of veterans who (die by suicide) do so with firearms. We’re dealing with a population that has a special familiarity with firearms. So we’re working on ways to build time and space … between thoughts and impulsive acts.”

The comments came just two days after the first formal meeting of a new presidential task force on preventing veterans suicide, part of a year-long effort to re-energize government’s approach to the problem.

That was from this article
Veterans suicide prevention efforts will include more discussions on firearm safety
Military Times
By: Leo Shane III
June 19, 2019

The comments came just two days after the first formal meeting of a new presidential task force on preventing veterans suicide, part of a year-long effort to re-energize government’s approach to the problem.

The group, which includes eight cabinet officials and the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, named as its executive director Barbara Van Dahlen, founder of the mental health advocacy organization Give an Hour. Wilkie said the work ahead will help establish a strategic plan to coordinate federal, state and community efforts on prevention.

And he also said that work will include discussions of firearms. The topic has long been a problematic political debate on Capitol Hill, with critics calling any discussion of limiting unstable veterans’ access to weapons a violation of their constitutional rights.

But Wilkie said his department has already partnered with several firms to provide gun locks to veterans, and is looking at additional education for veterans on firearms storage and safety issues.

That will include gun safety instruction for veterans caregivers, and more information for veterans families about resources on firearms storage and services.
read more here
Considering that guns have been tied to veterans committing suicide since the first "prevention" bill these folks came up with back in 2007, you'd think they would have figured out by now that is not the solution. 

“Of the 20 veterans who commit suicide every day in this country, roughly 14 of them don’t receive treatment from the VA,” said Warner. “This legislation will target that group by providing grant funding to private organizations with a proven track record of strong mental health and suicide prevention efforts among veterans. It’s my hope that broad coordination between the VA, state veterans affairs departments, first responders, and local leaders, will allow us to support more at-risk veterans and make a meaningful impact on reducing veteran suicide rates in this country.”
In Fiscal Year 2010, the VA requested $62 million for suicide prevention outreach. In Fiscal Year 2020, that number nearly quadrupled to $222 million. Despite the sharp increase in funding, the rate of veterans suicides has remained roughly unchanged at 20 per day. Only six of those 20 veterans are receiving healthcare services at the VA. This points to a significant need to empower the VA to work through community partners to expand outreach. At the same time, national data indicates there are more than 50,000 organizations that provide suicide prevention services for veterans, yet they are hard for veterans to find, access, apply for and use.
That was reported in the following article, and yes, you read those numbers correctly. 

Boozman-Warner bill aims to expand outreach, create measurement tool to improve effectiveness in fight against veteran suicideAugusta Free PressJun. 19, 2019
U.S. Sens. John Boozman (R-AR) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced legislation to improve coordination of veteran mental health and suicide prevention services and to better measure the effectiveness of these programs in order to reduce the alarming number of veteran suicides.
The IMPROVE (Incorporating Measurements and Providing Resources for Outreach to Veterans Everywhere) Wellbeing for Veterans Act creates a new grant program to enable the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct additional outreach through veteran-serving non-profits in addition to state and local organizations.
“Congress has provided significant resources to the VA to decrease veteran suicides, yet the number of veterans who take their own lives everyday remains unchanged,” Boozman said. “We all share the goal of saving the lives of veterans. We must have better coordination of existing programs; a common tool to measure the effectiveness of our programs; and better information sharing, data collection and continual feedback in order to identify what services are having the most impact. Creating a framework for these necessary pieces is essential to empowering organizations to work together in the fight against veteran suicide.”

read more here

Taking away one means of doing it, is not the answer. The means can change, but unless we remove the reason, they will still seek death over one more day unless we give them a reason to stay! More female veterans attempt suicide, but since they use less lethal means, many survive the first time they tried it.

Take away the means and they just find another way...forced to find another way because the leaders have been blind to the better way!

We had more veterans living in this country when the VA reported 20 a day...back in 1999! During a time when there was not billions being handed out like prizes with absolutely no judges to weigh the merit of the "effort" they were paid to deliver on. Somehow we managed to save more lives than spend more on creating crap!

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