Showing posts with label mental health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mental health. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

'Mental health is health. Period.'

'Mental health is health. Period.' Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin decries stigma in message to troops

Tom Vanden Brook
July 26, 2021
WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed deep concern about suicide among troops during a visit to U.S. forces stationed in Alaska where there has been an alarming spike in those deaths.

At least six soldiers have died by probable suicide in Alaska since Dec. 30, and suicide is suspected in several others, USA TODAY has reported. That surge has followed several years of increases in suicide deaths among troops across the armed services.

In 2018, 326 active-duty troops died by suicide, with the toll increasing to 350 in 2019 and 385 in 2020, according to the most recent Pentagon figures. The number of suicide deaths fluctuates over time as investigations establish the cause of death.
read more here

'He deserves to have justice': In memory of their son, parents fight for mental health services in the military

Arizona Republic
Andrew Favakeh
July 15, 2021
Brandon Caserta was one of 325 active-duty service members who died by suicide in 2018, and one of 68 sailors, according to military data. Suicides have risen since then. In 2019, 348 active-duty service members died by suicide. In 2020, that number rose to 377.
Teri and Patrick Caserta bought a new car and drove it from Peoria to Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2019.

They scheduled appointments with members of Congress and went door to door through Capitol office buildings to gain support for the Brandon Act, a bill they created in honor of their son.

Brandon Caserta died by suicide three years ago while stationed in the Navy in Norfolk, Virginia.

He could not get the help he needed. Normally, sailors have to report their mental health issues to their commanding officer, who then initiates the referral. Or, if sailors do bypass normal routine and report straight to a mental health official, that mental health official has an obligation to tell their commanding officers.

If a service member mentions the Brandon Act, that would be the safe phrase that would trigger a confidential referral for mental health treatment. Service members who experience mental health issues would receive care without having to notify their command.
read more here

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Open Library has the copy of the illegal For The Love Of Jack

Open Library has the copy of the illegal For The Love Of Jack book that was stolen from me back in 2005~

Top that off with what they have written under the top section that has nothing to do with this book! I own the copyright on this!

This is the book that the publisher stole, would not pay me for and would not remove. They would not take any responsibility for any of this and all these years later, I am still seeing it show up all over the net!

Do not buy this book or read it if it has this blue cover.  This is the legal one I had to republish on Amazon!

UPDATE from PTSD Patrol
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
May 6, 2021

Cross posted on Wounded Times

No matter how many times people walked away from you, one day someone will help you. One day someone will show you the way and stand by your side until you get to where you need to be. Then you will become that "someone" for someone else. Don't give up. Don't give in. Fight like hell because you are worth it!

If you were not, then I wouldn't have been doing this work for almost 40 years with all the crap I have to go through to do the right thing. No matter what I faced, you were worth it!

Today there almost wasn't a video. I didn't have it in me to do one. I was actually online looking for something for myself. I discovered my work stolen again. It happens to me all the time and I am powerless to stop them from doing it. Sometimes they will put my name on it, other times they won't but for some reason they think they can just take it without my knowledge or permission.

I found the video that put into words exactly what I was feeling and it helped. It is from Five Finger Death Punch, Darkness Settles In. When I heard these lines, I cried. The thing is, it just got uploaded 15 hours ago!
It's like I'm holding all the aces
But I know I'll never win
Waiting for someone to save me
But everyone just runs away

The people I know who would help me, cannot help me on this. The ones who can help, I reach out to but they are not interested in helping me at all. The thing is, I am on the right side of this, doing the work for the right reasons and nothing is going to stop me. Screw the bastards. I know one day will come and they will be seen for who and what they truly are. I may not be alive to see it but I know I have the power over what I do and no one can take that way.

If you have PTSD then you know what it is like to tell death "screw you" and you lived because your life was worth it to you. You had no control over what happened but have the power to change what comes now. I'll be damned if I let the darkness settle in on my life. Don't let it settle in on your life either.

Remember, it is your life...get in and drive it!
#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife from #PTSD

Darkness Settles In
Five Finger Death Punch 

Another sun sets down behind me
Another day comes crashing in
There's a whispering wind that's blowing
There's a storm that's closing in
I can hear the trains, they're rolling
To a place I've never been
And I can feel her breath beside me
With an empty glass of gin
As the darkness settles in
I can hear her voice again
I can hear your voice again
Waiting for someone to save me
But everyone just runs away
Waiting for someone to change me
But no one ever comes
I'm breaking down the walls that cage me
But nothing ever falls in place
Waiting for the end to take me
Blinded by the sun
All the ghosts that live inside me
Always waiting in the wind
I can see through my reflection
What I've become and what I've been
You see, your Heaven doesn't want me
And your Hell won't let me in
It's like I'm holding all the aces
But I know I'll never win
Waiting for someone to save me
But everyone just runs away
Waiting for someone to change me
But no one ever comes
I'm breaking down the walls that cage me
But nothing ever falls in place
Waiting for the end to take me
Blinded by the sun
You can take it away, tear it all down
Spit in my face, pushed to the ground
Look what I've become
I've fallen from grace, bloodied and bound
Taking up space, lost and I'm found
Look what I've become
I can hear the snakes, they're winding
Singing songs of pain and sin
There's an anger overflowing
From this empty glass of gin
As the darkness settles in
And the darkness settles in
Waiting for someone to save me
But everyone just runs away
Waiting for someone to change me
But no one ever comes
I'm breaking down the walls that cage me
But nothing ever falls in place
Waiting for the end to take me
Blinded by the sun
And the darkness settles in
(You can take it away)
And the darkness settles in
(You can take it away)
As the darkness settles in

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Ivan Moody / Zoltan Bathory / Kevin Churko / Jason Hook
Darkness Settles In lyrics © Gumpofwump 

Friday, June 5, 2020

Storytellers Project "Bouncing back. Recovering. Getting help..."

Storytellers Project to stream show about never giving up

USA Today
Michelle Rogers
June 5, 2020 

The USA TODAY Network's Storytellers Project will stream the show, part of its virtual season, at 8 p.m. EST on Thursday, June 11.

Bouncing back. Recovering. Getting help and getting on with it.

The Storytellers Project will celebrate resiliency in all of its forms during a show on June 11 from the USA TODAY Network.

“For so many reasons, now feels like a time when we could use stories of meaningful resilience in the face of adversity of all kinds,” said Megan Finnerty, founder and director of the Storytellers Project. “We are so fortunate to have storytellers willing to be vulnerable, and honest.”

The series, called “LIVE, In Your House," has been drawing hundreds of thousands of views since debuting April 2, when the COVID-19 pandemic started closing down venues where in-person shows had been held across the country. Shows are now streamed on the Storytellers Project’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
read it here

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Military children should not have problem joining after seeking help

Military children shouldn’t be penalized for seeking mental health care, senators say

Military Times
Karen Jowers
June 2, 2020
The proposal would require the service surgeons general to give “liberal consideration” to children raised in a military family, because of the potential challenges of military family life, when deciding whether to grant a waiver allowing them to join the military despite prior mental health conditions. It the waiver is denied, a mental health provider would have to review the request.
Army Lt. Col. Rudy De La Rosa with his daughter Samantha, who graduated from Air Force basic military training in May, 2019. She successfully fought to overcome notations in her dependent medical record that initially kept her out of the military. (Photo courtesy of De La Rosa family)
Senators are seeking to end “undue discrimination” against military dependents and civilians with prior mental health conditions who seek to enter the military.

“Children who face the stress of parents being deployed, moving frequently and other sacrifices should never be penalized for seeking mental health care,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who introduced legislation in May, along with Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Coronavirus frontline workers getting help from mental health clinicians

Michigan clinicians offer mental health resources to coronavirus frontline workers

Click Detroit
Cassidy Johncox, Web Producer
Sarah Parlette, Associated Producer
Published: April 18, 2020
Clinicians from Michigan are joining forces to help individuals through these crises, especially those who are still working every day during the pandemic.

Mental health professionals in Michigan are coming together to provide support and resources to frontline workers amid the escalating coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The pandemic is negatively affecting the mental health of most, according to behavioral science experts.

Long-term health effects will likely ripple across all age groups, including sleep disturbance, hypervigilance, PTSD, substance abuse, relapse and suicides, experts said. The pandemic’s impact on mental health could result in a 10-20% increase in demand for mental health services, according to officials.

Clinicians from Michigan are joining forces to help individuals through these crises, especially those who are still working every day during the pandemic.

MI Frontline Support (MIFS) is a new initiative organized by local clinicians to provide crisis- and coping-related resources to frontline workers in the state. MIFS creators have a loose definition of “frontline workers”, which includes health care workers and first responders as well as those working in grocery stores, delivery and mail services, the media and more.
read it here

After I recorded this video I was thinking about all the others who are healers and protectors in isolation right now because they were exposed to COVID-19 on the job, or prevented from doing their work for other reasons. It hits us even harder because our mission on this earth is to help other people. When we cannot do it, it crushes our soul.

Healers and protectors

Monday, January 13, 2020

Voices unite to fight mental health crisis

Mental health crisis: We must speak with one powerful voice in 2020

The Hill
The systemic change we need to address our nation’s mental health crisis truly will not happen unless families, advocates, providers, and policymakers unite in support of a roadmap for change — and demand action from elected leaders.

For many, the start of a new year represents a clean slate — a chance to take stock of what truly matters in life and course correct in search of a better path.

Human resiliency is a powerful thing. Mental health and addiction professionals often say it’s why they do what they do. People can recover from their challenges and go on to lead productive, meaningful lives.

But resiliency alone is not enough for the one in six Californians who have a mental health condition or the 2.7 million Californians who meet the criteria for a substance use disorder. Access to quality, evidence-based care, and community support are equally as important.

However, as Californians know all too well, such care and support are not always easy to come by, often leading to tragic outcomes. Overdose deaths from opioids and methamphetamines continue to devastate families across the state. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for Californians age 18-34.

Jails and prisons serve as de facto “treatment centers” for some, and homelessness has hit epidemic proportions, primarily due to a combination of untreated mental health and substance use disorders and California’s affordable housing crisis.

Many who seek care using private health insurance face enormous roadblocks. A recent report by the actuarial firm Milliman found huge out-of-network utilization disparities between mental health/addiction and medical/surgical care for inpatient facilities, outpatient facilities, and office visits.

This means insured individuals are paying more out-of-pocket for mental health/addiction care than they are for medical care — mostly because health plans continue to reimburse mental health/addiction providers far less than their primary care/specialist counterparts, causing those providers to stop accepting insurance altogether.
read it here

Take the time to add your voice to this fight! I did! Go to Mental Health For US

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

DOD tells troops to seek help for PTSD to prevent suicides?

DOD Officials Urge Troops to Seek Mental Health Help Without Fear

Department of Defense
May 28, 2019
''It really speaks to ... interaction with those line commanders,'' Colston said. ''That's vitally important, and really getting a pulse of the unit.''
Soldiers from Fort Carson, Colo. watch troop movements during Exercise Green Flag West 13-2 at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., Nov. 7, 2012.
In 2018, more than 320 active duty service members committed suicide. Among reserve component service members, 144 did the same. One lawmaker called it ''an epidemic.''

One problem that may contribute to suicide numbers is a reticence to seek assistance from mental health providers due to fears that such help may damage careers, especially when it comes to security clearances. But that fear is unfounded, one defense leader told lawmakers May 21.

''We absolutely need to get the word out that it's almost impossible to lose your security clearance from endorsing a mental health history on your SF-86 question 21,'' said Navy Capt. (Dr.) Mike Colston, the Defense Department's director of mental health policy and oversight. ''We really have data — [this has happened to] a couple dozen out of nearly 10 million security clearances,'' Colston said. ''So when we look at the process of 'Let's get down to the data,' are we going to kick you out for having a mental health condition? Probably not.''

Elizabeth P. Van Winkle, executive director of DOD's Office of Force Resiliency, told lawmakers during the joint hearing of the House Armed Services Committee's subcommittee on military personnel and the House Veterans Affairs Committee's health subcommittee that solving suicide is a shared challenge in both the military and civilian societies.
read more here

As of the 3rd quarter of 2018, according to the DOD, there were 231 suicides among "active" and 144 among reserves. The numbers do not add up. So far, the report for all of 2018 has not been found, but I will keep looking because the DOD is mandated by Congress to provide the reports. Wonder if they ever figured out what we knew back in 2009? Safe bet they did not since they kept doing it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Challenges many American military children face

The emotional health challenges many American military children face

May 14, 2019
We first met 9-year-old Luca Cesternino in a powerful video of him reuniting with his dad after a long deployment.

Peter Alexander visited him and his family to learn more about the emotional toll of all the time apart -- and to hear the powerful message they’ve got for other military families.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Maine Law Enforcement front line on mental health?

Increasingly, Maine police on front lines for mental illness interventions
July 15, 2018
Involuntary committals are up, as are related service calls, forcing a shift in how authorities train for and perform their jobs.
Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce poses for a portrait at the county jail on Thursday. Staff photo by Derek Davis
Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin J. Joyce said calls related to people in crisis are spiking.
Maine is seeing a surge in involuntary committals – cases where people are held for mental health issues against their will – that is changing how police do their jobs.

The number of those committals has risen steadily in the last decade, from 344 in 2009 to 401 last year, an increase of nearly 17 percent. In another measure of mental illness affecting law enforcement and the courts, the number of Mainers found not competent to stand trial has leapt from seven in 2008 to 136 last year.

As state-provided services for the mentally ill dwindle, more front-line intervention work is performed by Maine’s law enforcement community, significantly changing how police train for and perform their jobs.

The number of calls for service that were mental health-related for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office rose from 383 in 2013 to 486 last year, an increase of nearly 27 percent. This year, the pace is continuing to rise, with 278 calls for service through early July, according to figures from the sheriff’s office. And those numbers don’t include calls for other issues – such as domestic violence or a disturbance – that are rooted in mental illness but categorized differently.
read more here

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Penn State Gets New Mental Health Center?

It isn't just the VA spending money for "research" on PTSD but also the National Institute of Mental Health. Take a look at how long Cognitive therapy has been around.

Penn receives $6.4 million from NIMH for new mental health center

Anne Hoffman
October 25, 2017

A $6.4 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health will fund a new research center at the University of Pennsylvania to study how evidence-based treatment can better circulate to more therapists and mental health care providers.

University of Pennsylvania (Ashley Hahn/PlanPhilly
Researchers want to try to reduce the “research to practice gap” in mental health.
Rinad Beidas, an assistant professor of psychiatry and director of implementation research at Penn, said it takes 17 years for a small percentage of research to make its way into community settings.
“That means that if an innovation today was developed to treat a particular condition, it’s likely that a patient with that condition today may never get that innovation,” she said. “And if they do get it, it will be many years in the future … there is a growing sense and understanding in the literature that that’s not acceptable.”
Take cognitive behavioral therapy, for example. It was developed in the 1960s, and though it’s been proved to work, lots of providers still don’t use it.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Disabled Veteran Wants Day In Court...As A Lawyer

Decorated Army Vet Sues Florida Supreme Court and Florida Board of Examiners for Violating Americans with Disabilities Act

Daily Business Review
Monika Gonzalez Mesa
September 28, ,2017
His numerous medals and commendations include three bronze stars. After 10 years of service, Hobbs separated from the military while seeking custody of his son. 
As a result of three tours of duty, Hobbs lives with adjustment disorders with mixed anxiety, depressed mood and alcohol use disorder, according to the complaint.

Julius Hobbs.
A decorated U.S. Army veteran has sued the Florida Supreme Court and the Florida Board of Bar Examiners under the Americans with Disabilities Act, seeking an end to demands for detailed medical documentation of bar applicants' mental health history and additional psychiatric examinations based on a history of disability.
The attorney for former U.S. Army Company Commander Julius Hobbs argues that investigations based on psychiatric counseling history prevent people from seeking help, and instead says investigations should be prompted by negative behaviors that demonstrate unfitness to practice law.
"Our initial goal is to have them stop requesting documentation and information involving history of mental health or treatment of substance abuse," said Hobbs' attorney Matthew Dietz, director of the Disability Independence Group. "If a person has voluntarily sought help, that is something that should be encouraged—not create additional barriers to becoming a lawyer."

Hobbs, who according to the complaint maintains a 3.63 grade point average at Western Michigan University Cooley School of Law in Tampa, Florida, applied to the Florida Bar his first year of law school in 2016. read more here

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Shelley Marshall Toronto's Mental Wellness Loft Being Forced to Move?

Mental Wellness Loft in Leslieville is being forced out by its landlord
Since March a tight community has been built around the loft
CBC News
By Ieva Lucs
Posted: Jul 09, 2017
A purpose
To keep the loft running Marshall raises money by touring with her one-woman show Hold Mommy's Cigarette, a play that advocates for suicide awareness. Marshall's father died by suicide when she was seven and she attempted suicide herself 17 years ago. It's her goal to get people talking openly about suicide and depression.

"It's not like I'm trying to go out and save someone's life, but to just be a vessel to guide them in a direction. It just gives me purpose and value," said the artist.

Marshall said she has hundreds of letters from people who have been positively affected by both the loft and her work.
Jason Marshall transformed the top of the space (top) into the Mental Wellness Loft into a home for him and his wife Shelley (bottom). (Shelley Marshall/submitted)
The Mental Wellness Loft, a free space in Toronto's Leslieville neighbourhood open to the public as a creative sanctuary from the stresses of everyday life, is being forced to close its doors.

The centre is also Shelley Marshall's home.

The artist, writer and mental wellness advocate, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and stays inside for days a time due to anxiety, started afternoon drop-in sessions there earlier this year because it was her dream to create a space to help people just like her.

Participants can do yoga or paint, sing and dance, or just watch episodes of Nurse Jackie.

But now, the lease has expired and the landlord has asked everyone to leave.

Marshall's husband Jason renovated the stark white space on Carlaw Avenue himself. He started by building a stage (a must-have for his performer wife) with a lighting grid and sound system. Next was a bathroom and kitchen so the two of them could live there comfortably. Overall they spent $25,000 remodeling the space.
read more here

Monday, May 15, 2017

PTSD Meds May Increase Dementia Risk?

With all this "awareness" going on, most do not know this part, 
A deeper look at PTSDPost traumatic stress disorder encapsulates multiple symptoms related to a traumatic event. The National Institute of Mental Health noted that PTSD can be both acute and chronic. However, the NIMH noted that individuals must have symptoms including flashbacks of a traumatic event, avoidance and mood changes for up to one month for it to be identified as PTSD. When these symptoms last for a shorter amount of time, it can be acute stress disorder.
but now you do and it may help understand why some folks claim they were "cured." Reminder, if the symptoms after traumatic events do not subside or go away, get professional help as soon as possible AND HEAL.

How PTSD medication can increase the risk of dementia Medication may increase the likelihood of dementia in older patients.
by Interim HealthCare
Published: Monday, May 15, 2017

A new study from the American Geriatrics Society may have identified another risk factor that could increase the likelihood of dementia. Individuals taking medication to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder could increase their risk for dementia later in life.

A closer look at the study
Researchers looked at over 3 million participants aged 56 and older. The study focused on individuals working with veterans. According to NPR, there continues to be a stigma for individuals who have seen combat seeking out treatment for PTSD. However, the stigma of seeking out treatment for PTSD is beginning to dissipate.

The study tracked patients since 2003 over nine years. The results found that individuals taking medication to cope with PTSD, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and antidepressants, were more likely to suffer from dementia later in life than individuals who didn't take these medications. While researchers noted the connection between these medications and dementia, they acknowledge that more research is needed to learn about the relationship.
read more here

Thursday, December 17, 2015

$163 billion appropriated for VA operations

Budget deal nails down fiscal 2016 spending for DoD, VA
Military Times
By Leo Shane III, Staff writer
December 16, 2015
(Cutting right to where the VA comes in)
The $163 billion appropriated for VA operations in fiscal 2016 includes $71.4 billion in discretionary funding, an almost 10 percent jump in that account from fiscal 2015 levels.

The total includes $7.5 billion for mental health care operations, $4.9 billion to cover medical costs of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, $4.7 billion for female-specific health care programs, and $7.5 billion for institutional and other long-term support of aging veterans.

Lawmakers matched the VA's request for $1.4 billion to support efforts to help homeless veterans, to continue efforts to reduce the number of vets living on the streets.

They also added $1.5 billion to the White House budget request for new Hepatitis-C medications, treatments that have proven to be lifesaving for VA patients but significantly more costly than officials predicted earlier this year.

The bill contains almost $700 million in additional funds related to the VA's first-time disability claims backlog, which has fallen from about 612,000 cases in spring 2013 to fewer than 78,000 claims this month. But lawmakers say the money is needed to help eliminate the backlog and ensure similar problems don’t surface again.

On construction, the bill includes $1.24 billion for major projects and $406 million for minor projects, matching department requests after months of lawmaker complaints about mismanagement and waste in the construction programs.

House and Senate leaders are hopeful the measure can be finalized before Christmas, possibly as early as this weekend.
read more here

More of the same on mental health since they are not changing anything.  The OEF and OIF veterans extra spending is for the 5 years they get free care even without a claim. Things to be happy about are the additional funding for female veterans which has been disgracefully late, more funding for homeless veterans and Hep C treatments.  As for the claims, we've been on this rollercoaster ride before.

Deal avoids shutdown, but not everyone is happy
By Deirdre Walsh and Ted Barrett
December 16, 2015

Washington (CNN)House Speaker Paul Ryan told Republican lawmakers Tuesday that congressional leaders reached an agreement on a massive $1.1 trillion bill to fund the government through September, setting up votes later this week that would avert a shutdown, according to multiple lawmakers who attended a closed door session with the speaker.

The deal would suspend two major Obamacare taxes, lift the ban on crude oil exports, reauthorize a health insurance program for 9/11 first responders, as well as include cybersecurity legislation and overhaul the visa waiver program, barring anyone who had visited Syria, Iraq and other possible terrorist hotspots in the last five years from entering the U.S. without a visa.

Leaders also struck an accord on a broad package of tax breaks worth about $600 billion, which makes permanent several key provisions for businesses related to research and development and expensing.
read more here

Sunday, November 1, 2015

VA "Candy Man" Fired in Wisconsin

Wisconsin VA hospital official dubbed ‘candy man’ fired
Associated Press
October 30, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The chief of staff at a much-criticized Wisconsin Veterans Affairs Medical Center, who was nicknamed “candy man” by some patients for allegedly handing out excess narcotics, was notified Friday that he would be fired.

David Houlihan was placed on leave in January while the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs investigated allegations of over-prescribing narcotic pain medications and retaliatory behavior at the Tomah, Wisconsin, facility.

The VA told Wisconsin’s congressional delegation that based on results of an investigation, Houlihan was notified Friday that he would be fired effective Nov. 9. Houlihan, who is a psychiatrist, also had his clinical privileges revoked.

The decision to fire Houlihan came after the VA investigated his clinical practice as well as his “administrative interactions with subordinates and alleged retaliatory behavior,” said the statement from the VA telling lawmakers of the firing.
read more here

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Montana VA Mental Health Center Shut Doors

By October of 2014, 46 veterans in Montana committed suicide. That was just in Montana and just the ones reported so the public could read about them. 9 months, 46 suicides

Within the report was the story of Brandon Slack. His story reflected what was going on all across this country, after all the speeches and bills being signed, after all the claims, and after all the elected officials got angry for the cameras.
Brandon Slack, 29, came from a long line of public service. Many of his family members served in the U.S. Marine Corps, including his mother Kate Slack. For Brandon, being a Marine was not just a career, it was in his blood.

"My son Brandon was one of those larger-than-life type personalities," said Slack. "Brandon did two tours in Iraq. He was every bit of what a Marine should be."

After his first deployment to Fallujah, Brandon began taking medication for PTSD when he came home.

"Something was desperately wrong, his temper was startling," said Slack. "I came into the house one day, he was on the phone with somebody and I didn't even recognize who this person was."

Despite the noticeable change in her son's behavior, Brandon would be deployed for a second tour, this time in Ramadi.

Brandon survived, but suffered the invisible wounds of PTSD from the two combat tours.

After trying for years to find her son help through the Veterans Affairs Hospital and through many other avenues including therapy, he ultimately lost his battle. Brandon committed suicide in October of 2013.

So here they go again, complaining in anger over something the got angry about a very long time ago.
VA Montana temporarily closing mental health center at Fort Harrison
Independent Record
February 10, 2015

Tester urges VA to fill state director's job, reconsider third-party vendors

MISSOULA -- U.S. Sen. Jon Tester this week expressed concern over the lack of a permanent VA Montana director, and said morale and staffing co… Read more

Tester calls protracted search for VA director 'unacceptable'

BILLINGS -- The selection process for naming someone to lead Montana’s VA Health Care system is taking “far, far too long,” U.S. Sen. Jon Test… Read more

VA Montana is temporarily closing its acute care mental health unit on the Fort Harrison campus because of “chronic workforce shortages,” said U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines in press releases on Tuesday.

Tester said he raised concerns about the closure during a phone call with VA Montana interim director John Ginnity last week.

Ginnity said on Tuesday that a “perfect storm” recently occurred when two mental health providers retired, and one provider resigned for a position elsewhere. He said the eight-bed, 24/7 acute care unit has been underused compared with the 16-bed residential rehabilitation unit for post-traumatic stress disorder or substance abuse.

“Only about 35 percent of the acute unit is utilized and 65 percent is unused,” Ginnity said. “Most veterans seek inpatient mental health treatment at the hospitals in their local communities.”
read more here

In 2007 2 Wisconsin clinics shut down.
Two recently opened Minneapolis VA clinics in western Wisconsin were abruptly shut down this week by the company under contract to run them. Kentucky-based Corporate Health and Wellness says it lost hundreds of thousands of dollars opening the clinics. It blames the closings on a lack of additional funding from the VA.

St. Paul, Minn. — The two clinics that sit idle now opened to much fanfare this summer and fall. The VA said, and local veterans agreed, the facilities in Hayward and in Rice Lake would make it much easier for area vets to get basic health care. No longer would they have to travel long distances to VA facilities in places like Duluth-Superior or the Twin Cities.

But without warning, the clinics closed this week.

VA spokesman Ralph Heussner says the locked doors are an unexpected disappointment.

"It's an inconvenience and we apologize for that," says Heussner. "The reason we set the clinics in those communities is to provide service so the veterans would not have to travel long distances."

Heussner says the VA is looking into several primary care options for more than 900 veterans who've been using the Hayward and Rice Lake clinics.

29 Patients at Marion VA died because of substandard and questionable care That happened in 2008 when the national news didn't care. But what the hell, they didn't care to remind anyone that back then the VA budget was $3 billions short.

VA was losing Care Coordinators

How we treat our veterans is how this nation is measured. If we do not care for the men and women retaining our freedom, that what have we become?

Now here's a flashback to 2012 and Montana VA
In Montana, where veterans wait an average of five weeks to begin counseling, an eight-bed wing of a mental health facility at Fort Harrison has been vacant for nine months because of a lack of psychiatrists, the VA says. The Rocky Mountain VA region needs to fill nearly one of four psychiatrist positions.

The vacancies occur at a time when the number of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder is increasing by about 10,000 every three months, what experts say is the cumulative effect of a decade of war, VA data show.
The VA has about a 20% shortfall in psychiatrists at hospitals throughout the Northwest, Deep South and Southern California, according to department data.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Iowa Facing Suicide Increase

Suicide Increase In Iowa
IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28)-- Suicide in Iowa is up 17 percent. According to the most recent data released by the Department of Public Health, 445 people took their own life in 2013. That is up from 381 deaths by suicide in 2012.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Marines, Left Behind By Psychological Mumbo Jumbo

"New top Marine Corps general releases plan to shake up the service" in the Washington Times report by Dan Lamorthe had this piece of information in it from Marine Corps Commandant General Joseph F. Dunford Jr.
Dunford also calls for changes at home. While attending boot camp “changes a person forever,” he said, the service should explore adopting new psychological testing for recruits to make sure they are capable of not only becoming a Marine, but successfully completing their time in service. “We will quickly assess the efficacy of available psychological screening tools currently used by special operations forces, law enforcement organizations, and industry,” the general said.

“The end state is to enhance the quality and resilience of the force – thereby making us more combat ready.”
There is a PDF of what the General thinks.

"The term Marine is synonymous with young men and women who are disciplined, smart, physically and mentally tough, and who remain always faithful to each other and to our Corps."
RAND Corp did research on this resilience theory and the difference between what the leadership was told would work up against what actually happened.
"An important distinction between approaches to promote resilience, as compared with traditional medical interventions,is the emphasis on prevention as opposed to treatment.

The research on psychological resilience has not been in a form that can be used easily by the military to identify which factors are informed by scientific evidence.

Prior to Department of Defense budget cut talks, the Marine Corps planned to reduce troops from 202,000 to 186,800 to accommodate a post-war Marine Corps. Due to budget changes and the planned withdrawal from Afghanistan, however, that number has been cut to 182,100 Marines, reducing the ranks by 19,900 men and women.

The force reduction will take place over the next four years. The Marine Corps will reduce its active-duty strength by about 5,000 Marines per year from across the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos has stressed that the resulting force of 182,100 Marines will retain the capacity and capability to support current and possible crisis response operations through rotational deployments.

Less serving but suicide numbers not down enough to account for the reduction. This came out in June of 2014 on Marine Corps Times
According to the 2014 data, there have been 70 confirmed and suspected suicides by Army soldiers; 34 by airmen, 21 by Marines and 36 by sailors. In the same time frame last year, there were 81 suicides by soldiers, 24 by airmen, 25 by Marines and 24 by sailors.

The total number for 2014 so far — 161 — is still sharply lower than the 200 reported by this time in 2012.

Enough said about "resilience" training? Hardly, because this does not include the veterans who were discharged and no longer counted by the military.

The latest release of information on Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is that the rate of them committing suicide is triple their civilian peer rate.

This is nothing more than psychological mumbo jumbo!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Veteran in VA Mental Health "care?" for 8 years with no care

Reminder, none of this is new and that is the part that should get to you the most. Countdown top VA scandals from 2008
Eight years for psych eval a “harmless error,” VA says
Stars and Stripes
By Travis J. Tritten
Published: June 23, 2014
6 minutes ago

WASHINGTON — A veteran admitted to a long-term VA mental health care facility in Massachusetts waited eight years for his first comprehensive psychiatric evaluation by staff.

Another patient with a 100 percent service-connected psychiatric condition was committed at the same Brockton facility for seven years before a single psychiatric note was placed on his medical chart.

The cases are among dozens of incidents whistleblowers in the Department of Veterans Affairs have reported out of concern for patients’ safety but the VA has failed to take the incidents seriously, or admit they might affect the quality of treatment in its nationwide system of hospitals and clinics, according to a letter sent to President Barack Obama on Monday by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

The VA has instead claimed such incidents were “harmless errors,” according to the OSC, an independent federal watchdog charged with protecting whistleblowers and fielding complaints.
read more here
Now consider this. The House Veterans Affairs Committee has been in operation since 1946. They have had that long to fix the VA and take care of our veterans. Anyone ask why they didn't?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fort Hood confirms Lopez snapped over denied leave

Fort Hood shooter snapped over denial of request for leave, Army confirms
Published April 07, 2014

Fort Hood shooter Ivan Lopez's rampage followed an argument over the denial of his request for leave and did not appear to be due to some ongoing mental problem, an Army official said Monday.

The word came as officials announced findings of their ongoing investigation, which included interviews with more than 1,100 people and a recreation of the shooting last Wednesday, which left four dead including Lopez, and 16 injured.

“We only have one suspect,” said Chris Grey, spokesman for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command. “We are fully committed to this investigation and we will continue to pursue investigatively all leads."

Grey, who was flanked by other law enforcement officials, did not take questions at the brief Monday news conference, and said he would not divulge any information that could jeopardize the investigation. But confirmation that an argument of a request for leave had immediately preceded the shooting seemed to further put to rest prior speculation that the 34-year-old Army specialist's Lopez's spree may have been related to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
read more here