Showing posts with label Israel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Israel. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Peace "as far as it depends on you"

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 31, 2023

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

That is from Romans 12:18 and that is what the people of Israel and Gaza want to do, were trying to do but others wanted to destroy any sense of peace. The desire to live your life in peace should not cost you your life, but it does.

There have been wars since the beginning of time for many different reasons. It was never about "faith," but people used the idea of faith as fuel to cause people to fight wars. They accused others of trying to take away what they believed fed hatred and that hatred energized vengeance.

The suffering and deaths they caused did not matter as long as those in charge got what they wanted.

Right now it is Israel trying to defend itself after Hamas decided to slaughter citizens in Israel. Bombing buses didn't achieve what they wanted it to. Sending bombs didn't cause as much death and destruction as they hoped. The people of Gaza are paying for what that group did and in return, the people of Israel are paying the price as well. It would be wonderful if both sides decided to invest planning, time, and money, on discovering a way to live side by side but neither side seems to want to give in on what they want out of it. The problem is, that they don't see living in peace as their goal. They want destruction.

And now we've arrived at a deplorable response from far too many blaming the people who were attacked for just trying to live a normal life, including enjoying a music festival. Brutality of Hamas attack seen at Israel morgue on CNN is a reminder of what happened to them.
They are being blamed for the response from their government. It doesn't matter if the people support what their government is doing or not, they are being attacked no matter where they live. What is happening in Gaza is terrible because the people are paying the price for what Hamas did. It doesn't matter if the people support Hamas or not because Hamas hides among the people without the ability to fight them. Hamas is not interested in peace any more than they are interested in taking care of the people living there.

What is the answer? It is the desire to live in peace becoming stronger than anything else. No parent wants their children to suffer, live in fear, or die because of what others do. It is heartbreaking to see the suffering in Israel as well as Gaza, but blaming the people is deplorable. Both sides will be paying the price for the rest of their lives as well as generations to come.

Read the reports of #PTSD caused by all of this and understand that this battle is being fought by people around the world and then understand that everyone is paying the price because PTSD is not limited to the survivors but to their entire families and friends.
To witness hatred spread around the world and people being targeted because of their heritage is something we've seen throughout history. All that was achieved by it was more suffering until more people decided to try to stop it. Where are those heroes now? Where are the people with the ability to see clearly what is happening and stop hatred from spreading? 

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Israel and Gaza should be preparing for a tsunami of mental health crises

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 14, 2023

When responding to your citizens being slaughtered by terrorists is being protested, this world has gone insane.
Last week people in Israel were minding their own business when they were attacked, dragged out of their homes, gunned down at a music festival for peace, and children were decapitated. It has been reported that the terrorists were ordered to target schools to kill as many children as possible.

The people of Gaza did not order it but the terrorists running their country did. Israel responded by targeting places they knew were occupied by them and those places included being among civilians. Many of the innocent people have been killed in the process of killing the terrorists.

The people of Israel want to live in peace. The people of Gaza want to live in peace. Their leaders have to defend their people. So what is the answer when it is not an army against an army? No one knows.

Israeli people cannot allow what happened to them to be forgotten about because it was committed by terrorists. Yet the people of Gaza should not be punished for what the terrorists did. What's the answer?

No one knows what the right answer is unless it is finding a way for both to be able to live in peace but hatred has taken over too many. The terrorists are like well-armed bullies intimidating everyone else to the point where they fear standing up to them.  The terrorists are outnumbered but the citizens do not have the weapons to fight against them. What's the answer?

When you live in constant fear, can you heal from the terror you've already survived? How do you heal when the threat never ends? How do you heal when you've spent your entire life living with it? If you have #PTSD you don't have to wonder too hard because you know what the result can be like. For me, I was only able to heal from the worst that was done to me when the threat died. The only way for the people of Israel and Gaza to begin to heal is to have the threat to their lives die. The problem is hatred does not die. It spreads. It doesn't have to be allowed to spread unchallenged if people refuse to surrender to it. If they find enough hope for peace, they will refuse to give up on achieving it. Who can deliver it when both sides want vengeance?

This is happening in Ukraine too. We cannot forget about what they're going through. What happened here on September 11 only lasted a day but what if it kept on happening? We responded by starting a war in Afghanistan that lasted 20 years and another one in Iraq. Our military was responding with the rules of warfare while they were playing by their own rules. The terrorists did the act but the people of the nations paid the price. It was not military against the military but with terrorists living among the people. Our response did not work. How does the Israeli government think it will work in Gaza?

No matter how it ends, Israel and Gaza should be preparing for a tsunami of mental health crises that will vastly outnumber the number of wounded bodies.


Thursday, August 3, 2023

Veteran died after setting himself on fire because his country failed him

This just goes to show that the US is not the only country failing at addressing #PTSD

IDF veteran dies two days after self-immolation due to rejection of PTSD recognition

Times Of Israel
August 3, 2023

Defense Ministry offers condolences, says 33-year-old Bar Kalaf had mental illness unrelated to military service
Bar Kalaf, who set himself on fire in Netanya, August 1, 2023, and died of his wounds two days later (Courtesy)
A veteran of the Israel Defense Forces who set himself on fire after his application to be recognized as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was denied died on Thursday, two days after the self-immolation at his home in the coastal city of Netanya.

Bar Kalaf, 33, was taken to Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan on Tuesday with severe burns on his entire body. He was declared dead on Thursday. There was no immediate comment from the hospital.

The Defense Ministry has said Kalaf’s application to be recognized as suffering from PTSD as a result of his military service had been denied.
read the rest of the article here because he is not the only one.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

being denied mental health care and compensation is mashugana!

I continue to be stunned by the fact no nation takes care of their service members or veterans with PTSD. As bad as that is, it is even more a sickening they fail to see the rest of the people in their country feel the sting of the stigma inflicted upon them as survivors of the traumas they face too.

Getting PTSD because you serve your nation, was job related. Getting it because Israel requires service of everyone, then being denied mental health care and compensation is mashugana!

Disabled IDF veteran denied PTSD treatment commits suicide

The Jersualem Post
Published: DECEMBER 5, 2021
47-year-old Itzik Chen, who was injured in Lebanon in the early 90s, committed suicide while fighting for recognition of his post-trauma.
A protest by disabled IDF veterans in Tel Aviv, April 18, 2021
Itzik Chen, who served as a paratrooper in Lebanon and Nablus, committed suicide on Sunday morning, Israeli media reported. Chen, 47, was recognized by the Defense Ministry as a disabled veteran but had been fighting for additional recognition of mental illnesses stemming from his service.
The Defense Ministry’s Rehabilitation Department has long been criticized for being excessively reticent in recognizing veterans’ claims of injury during military service. Until a veteran’s condition is recognized – a process that can take years in some cases – they are not eligible for assistance.

“We are hurting and stunned by the suicide of the disabled veteran Itzhik Chen,” the IDF Disabled Veterans Association said on Sunday. “This is exactly the cry that we have been raising the whole time. There are disabled IDF veterans who have been waiting for recognition for years, falling through the cracks over time and not receiving proper treatment.”
read more here

Monday, May 20, 2019

Mom of "Lone Soldier" "No other soldier should come back in a casket


Jerusalem Post Israel News
MAY 20, 2019
But the annual State Comptroller report has found major deficiencies in how the military deals with lone soldiers whose needs the IDF has not fully examined.

"No other soldier should come back in a casket."

When Michaela (Mica) Levit joined the Israeli military in November of 2017, her parents knew she was going to be a fighter, but last week she was found dead outside her base in central Israel.

“We knew she wasn’t going to go anywhere else in the army,” her mother Orit Levit told The Jerusalem Post. “She told us she wasn’t going to Israel to be a secretary, she wanted to be a fighter. We knew that if she was going, she wouldn’t do anything else.”

Levit described her daughter as “full of life, positive and happy,” as someone who was always encouraging and supporting her friends in times of need and the life of the party and “glue of the group” during the happier moments.

“She loved everyone, she never had bad word to say... She was so good to her family, never wanted us to worry, to disappoint us. She was an angel.”

What happened “wasn’t anything we expected of her,” Orit said.

“I never felt she was isolated in Israel, she had the support of extended family. She had so many invitations and she told me 'Mum, sometimes I feel bad that I want to stay home on the weekends.’”

And it wasn’t only family, Orit said. “A lot of her friends are sending condolences and [saying] that their hearts are broken and that they will never meet another person like her... She had a community.”

Orit’s middle child, Mica, moved to Israel in June 2017 and settled at Kibbutz Kinneret, where she took ulpan classes before joining the IDF through the Garin Tzabar program in November, drafting into the mixed Caracal combat battalion. She had just moved to an apartment with other lone soldiers in Hadera and was going through the army’s team leader training course (Course Makim) when she took her life.
read more here

This is what a "Lone Soldier" is
LONE SOLDIERSA “lone soldier” is a soldier in the IDF with no family in Israel to support him or her: a new immigrant, a volunteer from abroad, an orphan or an individual from a broken home.

Every day tens of thousands of soldiers are defending the State of Israel and its citizens. These soldiers regularly spend weekends and holidays at home where their parents provide for all of their needs: food, laundry, and even a hug. Challenges for a lone soldier arise when he or she leaves base. While Israeli-born lone soldiers have their families to return home to, lone soldiers are left to fend for themselves while on leave from the army. This can be once a month, or every weekend, depending on where they serve and what part of training they are in. For more than 7,000 lone soldiers, there is no immediate family in Israel to support them. Though highly motivated and proud to serve, when on leave, many of them struggle with basic needs that a family would solve.

Family searching for answers after US-born IDF lone soldier dies by suicide


Sunday, May 12, 2019

PTSD rates are not a guessing game!

According to Sebastian Junger...this is not happening

In June of 2016, I complained about the fact everyone seemed to be so excited about a book on PTSD and comparing Israel to the US. I have been complaining ever since, but it does not seem to do any good to tell the truth these days.

This is from an interview about his book "The Tribe"
While studies suggest that almost 20% of US veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have symptoms of PTSD or major depression, Junger believes that this figure does not square with the comparatively low casualty rates relative to previous wars, or the fact that only one in 10 veterans experiences actual combat. To put the American experience in perspective, he points out that the Israel Defense Forces have, by some measures, a PTSD rate as low as 1% despite decades of intermittent war. In Israel, where around half the population serves in the military, the “thank you for service” mantra breezily offered to American veterans would be as meaningless as thanking somebody for paying their taxes.
This is the headline from Israel just released.
Trauma, PTSD Cases Skyrocket in Southern Israel, Says NGO NATAL
And this is what was in the report
Israeli security forces inspect the scene of a house in Moshav Mishmeret in central Israel that was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, on March 25, 2019.
Only 45 percent of those seeking help for trauma-related issues were civilians, according to the data for 2018; another 45 percent were IDF veterans between the ages of 21 and 34. The remaining 10 percent were older military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Hundreds attended funeral for "Lone Soldier" Alex Sasaki in Israel

Laguna Beach ‘lone soldier’ dies in Israel; hundreds attend his funeral in show of support

Los Angeles Times
Faith E Pinho
April 5, 2019
“With a lone soldier, you never know how many people will be there. And there were just so many people from so many walks of life,” Rodnitzki said. “It was unclear how many of the other soldiers who served with him could join. But so many did and so many had such beautiful remarks to share.”

Alex Sasaki of Laguna Beach served as a lone soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces. He was found dead in his home last week at age 27. Hundreds attended his funeral in Jerusalem after a call on social media from fellow soldiers to support his family. (Alex Sasaki's Facebook page)

A Laguna Beach man who followed his love of Israel overseas died last week, triggering an outpouring on social media that resulted in hundreds attending his funeral in Jerusalem.

Alex Sasaki, 27, served in the Israeli Defense Forces’ Golani infantry brigade as a “lone soldier,” without family in the country. He was found dead in his home while off duty, and military police are investigating the cause of death, the IDF said in an email.
read more here

This part should be read by anyone who believed the BS book Tribe by Sebastian Junger, who claimed that PTSD is a "disorder of transition" and that troops in Israel do not have the same problems.
"Sasaki’s death followed those of two lone soldiers who died by suicide in the past three months, according to Tzivka Graiver, chairman of Keep Olim, an immigrant advocacy nonprofit in Israel."
Considering the reports are all over Wounded Times, it shows that Junger did not do basic research and nations do not do basic outreach for their troops or veterans.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Veterans digging history and healing PTSD...seriously!

U.S. veterans use archaeology to dig through trauma in Israel
NBC News
by Paul Goldman and Francis Whittaker
"Because of their separation from the military culture, a lot of them are really isolated."
The site in Beit She'arim, Israel, run by American Veterans Archaeological Recovery program.Paul Goldman / NBC News

BEIT SHE'ARIM, Israel — Like many veterans, Nichol Fuentes has struggled with some aspects of life since leaving the Marines in 2013.

Fuentes, 38, a retired sergeant, suffered recurring ankle injuries while in Iraq and while stationed in Japan. She has also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

But the New Jersey mother of three and wife of an active-duty Marine has been invigorated by an unexpected field: archaeology.

“It’s almost like therapy,” she told NBC News amid the dust and stones of an excavation site at Beit She’arim, a World Heritage site and national park in northern Israel. “It’s helped me a lot. It’s given me something to focus on and a purpose."

Fuentes said that a dig she recently took part in helped her recapture the sense of “camaraderie” she had lost since leaving the military.
read more here

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Israeli Veterans choose to share hope...and life with PTSD

Choose life, say recovering Israeli 'brothers'
Sun Sentinel
Deborah Fineblum
June 14, 2018

 "As combat soldiers, we think we're not supposed to show fear or weakness, or admit we need help. And if you're not in a wheelchair, people look at you like 'what's the problem?' Our group encourages the guys to take off the Superman mask and face their feelings." Ohad Poraz

A few of the 100 middle-schoolers in the room had probably heard the term PTSD before. Hardly any of them had ever met anyone, however, who had suffered the trauma of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, much less encountered 10 of them at once.

But earlier this month, middle-schoolers at the Rashi School in Dedham, Mass., did just that.

The Israelis who came to speak to them were all combat soldiers injured in the line of duty. As such, they are also members of a remarkable organization (some 830 strong) called "Brothers for Life" (Achim L'Chayim), a group that for the last 11 years has been bringing the wounded together with American Jews, along with injured U.S. soldiers and, perhaps most importantly, with each other.

Take Ohad Poraz, 33, a healthy-looking father of 4-month-old twins who told the students, "I'm at a point in my life when I'm the happiest I've ever been."
read more here

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Nearly a Third of Gaza War Veterans Have PTSD

30% of Israeli Soldiers Wounded During 2014 Gaza War Suffer From PTSD
HAARETZ Israel News
Gill Cohen
July 12, 2017

"Almost half of all disabled vets from that war were reservists called up to guard the border rather than regular soldiers who were fighting in Gaza." 

This is the first time Israel's Defense Ministry has published exact figures on the number of soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress due to Operation Protective Edge

An Israeli soldier stands at a staging area after crossing back into Israel from Gaza, July 28, 2014. REUTERS

Of the 481 soldiers the army recognized as disabled veterans due to the 2014 Gaza war, around 30 percent – 143 soldiers – suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Defense Ministry data.

This is the first time the ministry has published exact figures on the number of soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress due to Operation Protective Edge.
Previous studies done by the army’s medical corps put the rate of soldiers who suffered from PTSD after participating in active combat much lower – seven to 20 percent. The rate was 10 to 20 percent in both the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the 1982 Lebanon War, and just seven to 10 percent during the second intifada, the corps said.
read more

Friday, March 24, 2017

Veteran Finds Healing PTSD or “moral injuries”, injuries to one’s conscience

Veterans find solace in Israel experience through Heroes to Heroes Foundation 
The Daily Wildcat Arizona 
Rocky Baier 
March 24, 2017

In an effort to spread the word and help other veterans, two soldiers spoke to students at the Hillel Center and the Jewish Medical Student Association about their experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder, a spiritual visit to Israel and the Heroes to Heroes Foundation on March 21.
Heroes to Heroes is a non-profit organization that strives to provide support for veterans suffering from PTSD or “moral injuries”, injuries to one’s conscience. In order to do this, they send veterans of any religion to Israel to visit holy sites for spiritual therapy, and to meet both American and Israeli veterans from the Israeli Defense Force.
Sergio Lopez, one of the veterans who spoke, served as a U.S. Army staff sergeant with the 104 Airborne division from 2003-2010 in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was injured by an improvised explosive device that exploded underneath the vehicle in which he was riding. From his traumatic experiences during deployment and his injury, he developed PTSD.
According to evidence collected by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, traumatic experiences can lead to diminished faith in religious individuals.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Jerusalem Post Report: Healing PTSD Lives With Film

Healing Lives With Film on Jerusalem Post covers the use of film to help heal PTSD. In the article they also talk about veterans. Very interesting read since the notion that PTSD, suicide and grieving does not exist in Israel because of strong sense of community. Guess he didn't spend much time in the veterans community where they suffer and heal together.
Junger Thinks Society to Blame When Troops Come Home?
"In his book, Mr. Junger marshals history, psychology, anthropology and statistics to make his case. He suggests that in countries with a strong sense of community, such as Israel, incidence of PTSD is low even though that nation exists in a state of near-constant conflict."

Healing Lives With Film
Jerusalem Post
Judith Siegel-Itzkovich
August 6, 2016

Using video to treat trauma is a “very Israeli project,” said Miri Boker, head of the videotherapy center and an occupational therapist who spoke at the beginning of the five-hour conference. “We did this to embrace our soldiers and bereaved families.” The conference began with a 24-minute film made by Hagai, an IDF medic who participated in Operation Protective Shield in Gaza, and his friend Ariel. Unlike films made by bereaved fathers, they actually wanted their work to be shown, and the movie – Ma Rodef Samal Rishon? (What Pursues a Staff Sergeant?) was presented a few months ago at Docaviv.

They served together in the war, in the Sufa Battalion.

When the battle ended, Ariel bought an old Peugeot, while Hagai purchased a video camera.

One of them is shown living out of his car, even sleeping in it. He moves around the country, returning to scenes near Gaza, cooking vegetables, chicken and ground beef on a camping stove and watching passing sheep. He recalls that “horrible things happened in the war.” He is clearly unable to settle down after the trauma of his buddies’ deaths. In one of the film’s sequences, a soldier is sitting on an armored car. The narrator explains that an IDF physician told the soldiers to wear their bullet-proof vests, but that some ignored his advice. A mortar suddenly lands, killing one of the soldiers. The storyteller was saved because he by chance bent down to reach something. He was saved, but a friend was killed.

“His eyes and mouth were open. I knew he was dead. I felt his last two heartbeats before he died. I tore myself away and put on a vest.”

War, he said, “messes you up. Many guys I know suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. You can’t survive such an experience without getting shell shock.” They dedicate the movie to the memories of Daniel Marash, Liran Adir and Noam Rosenthal, who were killed in action.

“From World War I, shell shock was recognized. At first,” said Ariel, “it was thought it resulted from some chemical in the gunpowder. In later wars, especially Vietnam, it was realized that the problem was psychological trauma.”
read more here

Monday, May 23, 2016

Junger Thinks Society to Blame When Troops Come Home?

Jerusalem Post Report on PTSD

There are times when I read a headline and get really hopeful that something new will come out of it, but all too quickly, those hopes are crushed. It just happened when Sebastian Junger was interviewed about a new book and he seemed to want to blame society for the disconnect. Nothing new on that one but then again, no one can really understand what they did not live through. 

"In his book, Mr. Junger marshals history, psychology, anthropology and statistics to make his case. He suggests that in countries with a strong sense of community, such as Israel, incidence of PTSD is low even though that nation exists in a state of near-constant conflict."

Civilians cannot understand veterans but they understand emotional turmoil after surviving something something that could have killed them. Junger had a theory that pretty much summed up what type of research he did for this book.
Hundreds of Israeli soldiers have been diagnosed with PTSD after three infantrymen committed suicide after fighting in Gaza this summer. Baz Ratner/Reuters
Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) Col. Dr. Keren Ginat, who is head of the army's mental health services, told a ministerial oversight committee on Monday that the IDF had invited 1,000 soldiers known to have been wounded in combat or involved in intense firefights in Gaza to come in and talk to bosses about their experiences. Some 70% of the soldiers scored highly on the PTSD checklist and have been referred for additional treatment, Ginat said.
But it isn't just one article on how Israeli Veterans have suffered from PTSD. There are more like this one about cannabis being used to treat PTSD.
According to the study by Dr. Irit Akirav from the Department of Psychology at Haifa University, cannabinoids may relieve the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a debilitating disorder that strikes 10 to 30 percent of people who suffer from a traumatic event such as war, a car accident, rape or a terrorist attack.
And this one
Trauma is also very common in women; five out of 10 women will experience a traumatic event at some point during their lifetime. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians and soldiers, including Holocaust survivors, have developed PTSD.

There are many more articles on this and keep in mind it only took me about 15 minutes to find these since I knew what I was looking for.  After all, none of this is new. 

Here is some more of the interview.

Sebastian Junger’s Take on PTSD
The society troops return to, he says, is more to blame than combat
Wall Street Journal
May 22, 2016

One of the tools of journalism, and perhaps life in general, is the ability to create a bond by discovering what you and the person standing in front of you have in common.

However, that wasn’t my modus operandi when I got together with Sebastian Junger, the best-selling author of “The Perfect Storm” who also, along with the late Tim Hetherington, created the Oscar-nominated documentary “Restrepo,” on the Afghanistan War.

We met at The Half King, a pub on far West 23rd Street where Mr. Junger is a co-owner.

Actually, I was more than happy reveling in our differences. Mr. Junger has earned an excellent living chasing risk. I do my best to avoid it.

His new book, “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging,” which comes out of decades of reporting from war zones, argues counterintuitively that the society American soldiers return to does more to cause post-traumatic stress disorder than combat does.

“PTSD is a disorder of transition,” he said.
read more here
"PTSD is a disorder of transition" Seriously? There is a reason there are support groups for all the different groups of people needing them. They are understood among their peers. It is the same with veterans.  They are understood by other veterans more than anyone else can begin to understand. Military families are understood among other military families.  That is why you see veterans groups with spouses sharing experiences with each other they do not even attempt to share with civilian spouses.  They just don't understand what it is like when they think a huge problem is hubby didn't take out the trash or notice his wife did something differently.  

I don't know what is in the rest of Junger's book and now I don't want to find out.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Colorado WWII Veteran Meets Holocaust Survivor He Rescued

ABC 11 News
May 18, 2016

A World War II veteran from Colorado was reunited with a Holocaust survivor whom he set free from a concentration camp seven decades ago -- and the emotional moment was captured on camera.

Sid Shafner, 94, is back in the U.S. after a stirring eight-day trip to Israel and Poland last week. He was honored at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony for his hand, as a young troop, in helping to liberate some 30,000 prisoners from the Dachau Concentration Camp in southern Germany in 1945.

One of those prisoners was 19-year-old Marcel Levy, now 90.
read more here

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Emergency Responders More Susceptible to PTSD

From 2008 to 2010 I took just about every training offered on Crisis Intervention available in Florida. I was certified as a Chaplain in 2008 by the IFOC. I focused on taking care of first responders since they were like most of the veterans I had experience with. Then it was more training including Disaster and Extreme Event Preparedness.

When I read this and the numbers, I remembered the training and what we knew back then. So why wasn't this training pushed for every group of first responders so they could find the support they needed in time to save their lives?
Fire Fighter Quarterly: Bringing PTSD Out of the Shadows
(The following article appeared in the Winter 2015 edition of the IAFF Fire Fighter Quarterly)
In just an 18-month period from 2008-09, Chicago Local 2 lost seven members to suicide. In 2010, four members of Phoenix, AZ Local 493 took their own lives.

Philadelphia, PA Local 22 has lost at least one member to suicide every year over the past five years. While each situation was different, Local 22 President Joe Schulle believes that work policies played a role.

A 20-year veteran firefighter at an urban fire department, John Smith had responded to every kind of imaginable — and unimaginable — emergency incident over the course of his career.

As a fire fighter, Smith sees people on their worst days, and the incidents he responds to on a daily basis can be truly horrific.

But it wasn’t until he saw a brother fall through the floor of a burning home to his death that the trauma stayed with him, and it seemed it would never get out of his mind. At the most unexpected times, he would relive the tragedy or hear his brother call for help. Every call became a stressful experience, even the most routine.

Smith thought he just needed time to recover, but the anxiety only escalated. Even stepping foot in the firehouse or completing routine tasks became daunting.

But he never told anyone about what he was experiencing. One day, a crew mate took him aside and said, “I think I know what you’re going through, and I think I can help.”

While this is a fictional account, it depicts an all-too-common behavioral health issue in the fire service.

Emergency responders are more susceptible to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) because of the nature of the profession, coupled with the personal demands and challenges fire fighters and paramedics face.

“IAFF members respond to any number of incredible events, many of them tragic,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “PTSD is a terrible condition that affects fire fighters and paramedics at double the rate of the general population, and we need a better way to deal with it.”
“People with PTSD are six times more likely to attempt suicide compared to demographically matched controls,” says Dr. Suzy Gulliver, who has participated in a number of studies on PTSD, and currently is founding director and chief of the Warriors Research Institute (WRI), which engages in multidisciplinary studies on the traumatic stress experienced by both soldiers and first responders.
Unfortunately, in many departments, even if the stigma is reduced, there are no programs in place for addressing behavioral health issues. Others may offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) but these are simply a referral line to community services.

“We need to do a better job of recognizing the signs and symptoms and providing the tools to help address it,” says Schaitberger. “Behavioral health services need to be embedded in all fire departments.”
read more here

Israel reported that 9 out of 10 firemen suffer from symptoms of psychological trauma, according to an expert who spoke before a session of the Knesset Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee

Canada lost 23 firefighters to suicide in the first part of 2014

" Beyond The Call " Full Length PTSD Training Documentary
London Professional Fire Fighters Association

UPDATE from Australia
Vets, paramedics among jobs with highest suicide rates
AUGUST 02, 2015

VETERINARIANS, paramedics, security guards, truck drivers and engineers share some of the state’s deadliest jobs a new report has found.
One of the starkest contrasts is among emergency workers, with Victoria’s paramedics having an average annual suicide rate of 35.6 per 100,000 workers - more than three-and-a-half times higher than police (10 per 100,000), and fire fighters and other emergency workers (10.5).

Only vets recorded a higher suicide rate at 38.2 per 100,000. And in findings that will surprise many, hairdressers (11.2), real estate agents (13.4) and engineers (21) were all found to have higher rates of suicide than police, fire fighters and other non-paramedic emergency workers.

Security guards (34.6) and truck drivers (23.3) are also professions that appear to need greater support.
read more here

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Israel Defense Forces Double Suicide Rate from 2013

Suicide Rates More Than Doubled Among Soldiers Serving The Israel Defense Forces 
IB Times
By Morgan Winsor
January 02 2015
Israeli soldiers rest in the shade of trees near central Gaza Strip in July 2014. Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly
More than 2,000 Palestinians -- mostly civilians -- and 63 IDF solders were killed during Operation Protective Edge. Israeli airstrikes in Gaza have devastated the area and displaced about 425,000 people, according to Reuters.
The total number of soldier suicides in the Israel Defense Forces has more than doubled in 2014 -- one year after the soldier suicide rate fell to a historic low, according to a report released Friday.

The Israeli military denied any connection between the sharp increase and the Israel-Gaza conflict, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Seven Israeli soldiers committed suicide in 2013. Since then, 15 soldiers have taken their own lives, according to the military’s latest figures. 
read more here

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

90% of firefighters suffer psychological trauma

While the research was done in Israel, think about our firefighters in the US.
90% of firefighters suffer psychological trauma, expert tells Knesset committee
Jerusalem Post

Safety engineer Dr. Mark Lugasi presented research into the situation of firefighters: More than 43 percent have been hurt in work accidents.

Nine out of 10 firemen suffer from symptoms of psychological trauma, according to an expert who spoke before a session of the Knesset Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee on Tuesday.

The meeting was part of a day to honor the Israel Fire Service and its personnel.

Safety engineer Dr. Mark Lugasi presented research into the situation of firefighters: More than 43 percent have been hurt in work accidents.

Fully 24% of those who actually fight fires suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and 67% suffer from partial trauma – compared to 5% and 45%, respectively, in the general population.

According to Lugasi, firemen who undergo blood tests have significantly higher cholesterol and glucose levels than the general population.

“They are exposed to a wide variety of dangers, including collapsed buildings, dangerous chemicals, missiles and rockets, accidents, terrorism, natural disasters and more,” he continued.

The chief of the Fire Service, Shahar Ayalon, added firemen have poor lifestyles and quality of life. “There is inadequate information and research into the field. Quite a few firemen suffer from cancer and are being treatment. Much needs to be done in this field,” he said.
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Friday, December 28, 2012

Military suicides in Israel exposed by blogger

Anonymous blogger probe puts light on IDF suicides

Investigation by blogger "Eishton" leads army to release figures on soldiers suicide, sparking public debate.

The police and army investigation of an anonymous blogger has brought the issue of IDF suicides into the public arena, leading the military to release figures on soldiers who take their own lives, and sparking a debate on press intimidation in the country.

The investigation came to light on December 12, when blogger “Eishton” (a combination of the Hebrew words for “man” and “newspaper”) changed the banner of his blog.

“Eishton is currently under a combined police-military police investigation!! I am forbidden to speak about the details of the investigation, whose only purpose is to silence me, harm me and extort me into handing over private and protected information in order to incriminate myself and others,” the banner said.

“If this site crawls to a halt or stops being updated, know that this was done against my will and that I am being subjected to anti-democratic measures, which violate accepted journalistic ethics and censor information that the public has a right to know,” it added.

It later emerged that the probe had been launched in the wake of a three-part investigative report Eishton published beginning in April, which examined discrepancies in the official IDF death toll for 2011 and figures appearing on government-run memorial websites.

Though the Israeli press described the report as an exposé focusing solely on IDF suicides, the long, heavily researched series was based on efforts to determine the identities of all 126 fallen soldiers, independent of the issue of suicide.

Media coverage over the past two weeks led the army to release figures on soldier suicides.

The figures show that there were 14 suicides in the army this year, the lowest in at least 23 years. They indicate that in 2011 there were 21 IDF suicides, and that over the past seven years, the worst was 2010, when 28 soldiers took their own lives.

Before the army launched a program aimed at improving the way mental health issues are handled among soldiers, there were between 34 and 40 per year, the army said on Wednesday.

In his first post in April, Eishton wrote, “Who were these soldiers that the Left says died in vain? Who were these heroes that, because of them, the Right says our country is standing? The fact is, even with all the ceremonies and magic words – memorialization, heroism, memory – no one actually knows who our fallen soldiers are. I decided I would change that. I decided I would study and learn the stories of all 126 who died this past year.”
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US Blogger exposed military suicides in 2007
MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2007
Cause of death, because they served
I went back in Army Times Records to March 2003. What I found is shocking. None of the sites I have trusted have included all of these deaths. When they die back here in the USA, their deaths are ignored. When they die by their own hand, they are forgotten. When they die because of health reasons, they are passed off as “oh well” instead of taking their deaths seriously. These deaths did not have to happen. What is worse is that while AP did their jobs reporting on these deaths, it looks as if Army Times paid attention, the families paid attention, but no one else did. The Hartford Courant, McClatchy News, CNN, along with the other links provided cared. The families cared. We just didn't care enough. They died when they didn't need to die. Some because of health and some because their health was taken because of drugs they were forced to take. Some died because or murder and some by accident. Some, I am sure, are not even on this list or any other list. I tried to find as many as possible. Vehicle accidents are not included unless they are under investigation.

When they were buried I wonder if they played taps? They gave their lives becaue they served. Try to pass off one of their deaths to their families.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Experimental treatment for PTSD: Ecstasy

Experimental treatment for PTSD: Ecstasy
By Caleb Hellerman
December 1, 2012

Rachel Hope suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder for years
In 2005, she investigated an experimental new treatment: Ecstasy
Dr. Michael Mithoefer convinced the DEA to green-light a study of the treatment
More than 7 million Americans suffer from PTSD

Editor's note: This is the first installment of a three-day series on the controversial use of the drug Ecstasy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. On Sunday, read more about Rachel Hope's story and the history of MDMA, also known as Ecstasy. And don't miss "Sanjay Gupta MD" at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday and 7:30 a.m. ET Sunday.

(CNN) -- Rachel Hope was 33 years old when she received a painful reminder: She couldn't outrun the past.

Hope was trying to help a new assistant at her Maui rental property business, but it wasn't going smoothly. Part of it was Hope herself.

"I had this startle reflex," she explained. "The phone would ring, and I'm literally three feet off the floor, screaming.

"My new assistant said, 'You're driving me crazy!' And I would say, 'I'm really sorry, just please try to ignore it. It's embarrassing, but let's keep working.' "

But the young man, a teacher on break, wasn't pushed off easily. Soon after, Hope said, "he walked over to my desk and dropped a stack of papers two inches thick. It was every single PTSD study that was online, and he just said, 'pick one.' "
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Australian veterans talk about benefits of Ecstasy

While there are many more reports on this blog about using Ecstasy to help with PTSD, the research goes back to 2007. Here are a few of them.

Israel tests Ecstasy on war trauma victims April 26, 2008

A New Look At Ecstasy To Treat PTSD February 11, 2008

Ecstasy Trials Was it a fluke -- or the future? November, 22, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Navy sends three warships, Marines to waters off Israel

Navy sends three warships, Marines to waters off Israel
Stars and Stripes
Published: November 20, 2012

NAPLES, Italy — The U.S. Navy directed three warships and the Marines aboard last week to remain on standby near the coast of Israel as a security precaution as the Gaza Strip conflict between Israel and Hamas continued to escalate.

“This is being done as a precautionary measure to allow the Marine team to respond to any crisis or contingency, whatever is out there,” said Cmdr. Marc Boyd, spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa. “It is a prudent measure.”
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