Saturday, June 1, 2019

PTSD Awareness Month begins today...again

Are they out of their minds on suicide awareness?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 1, 2019

Today begins PTSD Awareness Month. The press will not remind you of the fact that this is not the first year, or the second, or the third.
S.Res.215 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)A resolution designating the month of June 2015 as "National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month" and June 27, 2015, as "National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day".Sponsor: Sen. Heitkamp, Heidi [D-ND] (Introduced 06/25/2015) Cosponsors: (22)Latest Action: Senate - 06/25/2015 Submitted in the Senate, considered, and agreed to without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent. (consideration: CR S4657; text as passed Senate: CR S4654) (All Actions)
When Secretary of the VA Robert Wilkie issued a statement "We are not even at the Sputnik stage in this country when it comes to getting our arms around mental health issues." as an advocate and educator, it made me want to drink and it is not even 8:00 am!

In 1982, I was sitting in a library with a dictionary and a stack of clinical books, all written on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Vietnam veterans. Yes, experts were writing on it for years, but few bothered to learn much from them. That is apparent with the results we are seeing today.

By 1978 the DAV released this to help veterans know they are not alone and there was a reason for everything they were going through. 
I have it hanging on my wall as a constant reminder of how long our veterans have been suffering instead of healing because no one told them they could have a better life.

All the years since then have been wasted and we just settle for what we are being told because the press decided to not do their jobs. They get assigned to report on something and do it without any investigation of their own to know if what they are being told is true or not.

If we are going to change the outcome, it is time for brutal honesty. Otherwise, suicides will continue because too many are unqualified to do more than make it worse. A good intention is not good preparation.

Growing up in a military family, qualified me to be an oddball in my own family. Both of my brothers were born while my Dad was in the Army. He retired before I came along. It also made me an oddball among my friends. None of their parents served.

Surviving death 10 times qualified me to know what trauma does to a person. It also qualified me to know what prevention does to stop the onset of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I do not have PTSD because of how my family dealt with everything...they listened until I was done needing to talk. That qualified me to know the value of crisis intervention. Later in life I became certified in it as a Chaplain.

Living with PTSD in my husband qualified me to be able to offer support to others. It did not qualify me to attempt to treat anyone else. That came with 2 years of research in the library with clinical books and a dictionary, so I could understand what the heck I was reading. It came from talking to a lot of veterans less than listening to them. While I have been writing about PTSD since 1984, I continue to research it so that I can help more. 37 years later, all that makes me an expert enough to educate, support and change the conversation.

With first responders, I was not qualified to work with them until I did two years worth of training as a Chaplain with the IFOC and with DEEP, Disaster and Extreme Event a lot of other training.

None of that qualified me to be able diagnose or treat anyone beyond educating them and offering the facts they need to know. I cannot give or advise on medications. I cannot offer help with filing VA claims. All I can do is advise them on how to get the help they need from people qualified to give it.

The trouble we are seeing is the direct result of unqualified people doing something they did not take seriously enough to become qualified to do it. It is also the result of members of Congress more interested in getting their name on a bill than they are in doing something that will not be a repeat of what already failed. It is almost as if they think their name tied to a failure is not a hindrance but they do not know what conversations we have in the veterans community. 

Every time we read about another suicide, we bring up all the money and years of repeated failures by both parties in Washington.

Raising awareness suicides are happening is not the same thing as doing anything to prevent them from happening. Awareness is not prevention!

When raising PTSD Awareness, how about actually making them aware that they can heal, beginning with making them aware of what PTSD is in the first place! 

It makes my blood boil when I read about another stunt with the people in charge using "22 a day" years after the VA report came out and put the known number at "20" proving they could not even pay attention beyond what they originally wanted to know. Apparently they did not want to know how to change the outcome.

Was it too much work for them to learn? Would it take too much time away from their fundraising goals that became their own financial means of support as "their job" instead of their vocation? Would it take time from contacting reporters to make sure they covered their "efforts" and made them famous? (yes, we know they do that all the time too)

So, if you really want to make a difference, then take this as seriously as it should be...a matter of life or death.

This is one more thing the press will not remind you of. Choice Act for veterans was introduced by Senator John McCain and signed by President Obama.
 S.2424 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)Veterans Choice Act of 2014Sponsor: Sen. McCain, John [R-AZ] (Introduced 06/03/2014) Cosponsors: (28)Committees: Senate - Veterans' AffairsLatest Action: Senate - 06/03/2014 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs. (All Actions)Notes: For further action, see H.R.3230, which became Public Law 113-146 on 8/7/2014.

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