Monday, February 15, 2016

More Prevention Bills Out of Congress Leave More Grieving Families

Congress Needs To Stop Suicide Prevention Bills
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 15, 2016

Now that you saw the pictures of Joshua Omvig's parents standing at his grave along with the bill named after him, this is what it was supposed to do after it was passed and signed in 2007.

The following is thanks to Vote Smart
After Months of Obstruction, Harkin Pushes Through Veterans Suicide Prevention Bill
By: Tom Harkin
Date: Sept. 28, 2007
Location: Washington, DC

Late last night, after a long fight, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) ushered the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act of 2007 unanimously through the Senate. For the past two months a Republican Senator placed a "hold" on the non-controversial, heavily bipartisan bill, preventing it from moving forward. With great effort, Harkin was able to convince his colleague to allow the Act through. Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-IA) will lead the bill through the House of Representatives for final approval before sending it to the President's desk for his signature.

The Omvig Act directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to integrate mental health services into veterans' primary care, and step up counseling and other mental health services for returning war veterans; it is named after Joshua Omvig, a soldier from Grundy Center Iowa who took his own life after returning from Iraq.

"I am heartened to see that after many months of talking about preventing suicide among our veterans, Congress finally took action. The Omvig family's patience and selfless determination in seeing this through so other soldiers and families are protected is truly commendable. This is a matter of honoring the memory of their son Josh," said Harkin. "And it is a matter of honoring the service and sacrifice of all our men and women in uniform. It is shockingly evident that our veterans urgently need the screening and counseling that this bill would require."

The VA estimates that more than 5,000 veterans take their lives each year. Suicide rates are 35 percent higher for Iraq veterans than for the general population. And the Department of Defense recently reported that the Army is now seeing the highest rate of suicide since the Vietnam War. A study in this July's issue of Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that those who have been in combat are twice as likely to commit suicide as men who have not served in a war.

"The memories of combat haunt many of our men and women who have served. We must provide the resources and support to prevent the unnecessary deaths of the men and women who have put their lives on the line to defend our nation," said Harkin. "I look forward to seeing the President sign this critical bill into law to ensure that programs are in place to meet the needs of veterans."

Specifically, the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act:

-- Ensures 24-hour access to mental health care for veterans who are deemed at risk for suicide, including those in rural or geographically remote locations.
-- Provides suicide prevention education and training for all VA staff, contractors, and medical personnel who interact with veterans.
-- Creates a Family Education Program to assist family members and veterans in understanding the readjustment process, signs and symptoms of mental illness, and risk factors for suicide.
-- Implements a Veterans Peer Support Program as an adjunct to mental health services that includes social support and suicide prevention.

We see how well that worked after all these years. What did members of Congress do? They repeated the same things they screwed up in the first place! That bill came out 9 years ago. It has gotten worse for all our veterans and the devastation increases along with billions going into prevention when the only thing they have been preventing is doing something that will work. 

WTF? How many more lives will it take before they open their eyes and understand the "something" they are doing is making it all worse?

When Clay Hunt committed suicide, this bill had been in effect for years.  Yet Congress wrote another bill in Hunt's name to do the same things Omvig's bill was supposed to do.  Congress just kept writing more and more of them and now, now after all these years, here comes another one.
"The Sgt. Daniel Somers Classified Veterans Access to Care Act, which was recently rolled into another bill about suicide among female veterans, passed the House last week. It would grant the right to individual counseling for vets with concerns about classified material. Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, was an original co-sponsor."
“When I first started working on Capitol Hill on veterans issues 20 years ago, you didn’t have anywhere near the amount of interest and passion that you do now,” said Thomas Porter, legislative director of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans organization.

His group put its muscle behind the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, signed in February 2015. The bill launched a pilot program to attract more psychiatrists to the VA. It also directed creation of a one-stop resources website and an annual evaluation of VA mental health and suicide-prevention programs.
Congress considers veteran suicide bills
Well poor baby.  They didn't care 20 years ago but then again they didn't care in the 80's and 90's when Vietnam veterans were killing themselves.  Shit they still don't care the majority of the suicides are by veterans over the age of 50 anymore than they care they have been waiting for help a hell of a lot longer. Why think of them at all? 

This is absolutely pure bullshit and has to stop. When you have members of Congress with jurisdiction over the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, you'd think they would actually try to figure out who has been failing after all these bills and all this money topped of with the most sickening reality of all, more suicides!

They can't even get the number right. Too many of our elected officials still use the "22 a day" as if they lack all ability to actually read the damn report from the VA stating that it was limited data from 21 states and urged caution. They would have been better off reading the damn report from the CDC on suicides to know, "There were 41,149 suicides in 2013 in the United States—a rate of 12.6 per 100,000 is equal to 113 suicides each day or one every 13 minutes." then maybe read the reports from their own states to know veteran suicides are double the civilian population rate. Do you think they should care about the others above and beyond the 22 everyone is falling in lockstep talking about?

Do you think our veterans are important enough to actually know what the hell they are trying to prevent and how many or the other simple fact so far they suck at it?

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