Suicide awareness should be suspended
September 19, 2019
There is a challenge we face everyday and it is about "22 veterans committing suicide." It is not the kind of battle you may think it is. It is the battle to get them to shut the hell up and start doing what will make a difference for our veterans!
I kept thinking that one day people will pay enough attention to all of this that they will actually do something to change what is going on. Years later, I am still waiting for that day when none of this is acceptable to anyone.
We keep reading about all the stunts talking about veterans committing suicide, but no stunts to prove to the that anyone really cares.
The publicity seekers and fundraisers are poor babies! They suffer doing their 22 pushups, as if that would stop a veteran from not wanting to live one more day.
We have all the BS coming out of Washington about how important veterans are, and with another election coming up, we're hearing a lot more of it piled onto all the other crap we heard before. Nothing changes for the better because people do not pay enough attention to ever consider how we got here.
If you want to know, then you need to know what was done back in the the 70's, especially if you were not even born back then.
We didn't have reporters telling our stories, or stunts getting mass attention on social media. We didn't have social media or even computers in our homes. Forget cell phones because we were still using phone booths and looking up numbers in phone books!
Yet for our generation, we knew what worked and we stuck with it until some yahoo decided that we did not know anything, if we suffered at all, which, apparently, they ignored until it happened to them.
"Staffing at Vet Centers lagging" was the headline on April 20, 2007 reported by Greg Zoroya for USA Today. Zoroya reported that in 2006, 21,681 veterans visited these centers just from Afghanistan and Iraq wars. According to the VA at the time those numbers went from 8,965 in 2004, to 13,307 in 2005 all the way up to that number.
There were a lot of numbers in this report. Among them was the fact that veterans from all wars were using these centers because of outreach efforts. In 2004 it was 125,737, but by 2006 it was 228,612.
According to the VA, the number of veterans using the Vet Centers jumped. "298,576 Veterans, active duty service members (including Guard and Reservists) and their families received readjustment counseling at VA’s 300 Vet Centers, totaling more than 1.9 million visits in Fiscal Year 2018."
That shows how important these centers were way back then and still are. Veteran Centers are more welcoming than the VA facilities. Most veterans do not know the centers are part of the VA and find it easier to walk in looking for support.
Back then, we knew what worked because we lived with the reality of all of it. Strange how so many people are talking about the heartbreaking outcomes for far too many families, but too few are talking about what needs to be done.
This was and still is, peer support on steroids. They also helped families, like mine. It was the Vet Center in Boston encouraging my husband to seek help dealing with PTSD at the VA way back in the early 90's and offered support to me as well.
While the VA, and almost everyone else, understood the value of having these centers, apparently the Bush Administration did not. As with most administrations, they have to rely on advisers clewing them in. Like most Presidents, they were ill advised, much like is happening now.
"Last year, the White House proposed cutting $47 million from the $3.3 billion budget for veterans readjustment benefits. Two congressional committees agreed, but the Republican-controlled Congress didn't pass a final spending bill."The thing is, back then what worked, did not cost as much as what has failed ever since.
"The Vet Centers are small, storefront operations with a staff of four to five people each. The centers were created in 1979 to help Vietnam War veterans readjust to society. Services included combat stress counseling, marriage therapy, job assistance and medical referrals."But the VA went above all that to create Mobile Vet Centers and a Vet Call Center.
Vet Center Call Center 1-877-WAR VETS (1.877.927.8387) is an around the clock confidential call center where combat Veterans and their families can call to talk about their military experience or any other issue they are facing in their readjustment to civilian life. The staff is comprised of combat Veterans from several eras as well as family members of combat Veterans. The service is free for combat Veterans and their families so they may find resources they need at their nearest Vet Center.
Now we have higher rates of suicides within the military and in the veteran community. We have families falling apart and being left out of all the "new groups" screaming about suicides while ignoring the fact the majority of the veterans killing themselves. They survived all these years without being made aware they were killing themselves, but now have become the majority of those ending their pain by ending their lives instead of doing whatever it took to heal their lives.