Showing posts with label military suicides. Show all posts
Showing posts with label military suicides. Show all posts

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Navy suicides up, and so are cockamamie conclusions

The Navy wants to boost morale after several suicides. Some sailors say it's not enough.

NBC News
By Deon J. Hampton and Melissa Chan
May 5, 2022

Team-building events are in the works for sailors on the USS George Washington, where three shipmates died by suicide within a week in April.
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The Navy’s plan for repairing morale on a historic warship after a rash of sailors assigned to the ship killed themselves includes team-building exercises like a video game competition, recreation and moving sailors off the ship.

But some sailors who spoke to NBC News think the efforts don’t go far enough.

The Navy plans to host a day of team-building activities and has asked each department to submit ideas for how crew members could interact off the ship, according to Lt. Cmdr. Robert Myers, a Navy spokesman.

“It could be anything,” Myers said.

A Super Smash Bros. video game competition and a soccer tournament are some of the suggestions that have been floated, according to one George Washington sailor, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation.

However, that sailor doubted whether such events would fix what appears to be a mental health crisis on the ship.
read more here


Well alrighty then! Seems like they got a plan. I hope you caught the solutions they wanted to try.

More than 200 sailors moved off aircraft carrier after multiple suicides “Leadership is actively implementing these and pursuing a number of additional morale and personal well-being measures and support services to members assigned to USS George Washington.”

Are they kidding? Seriously? Super Smash Bros and soccer will really fix a mental health crisis about the same way reminding suicidal veterans there were a lot of other veterans committing suicide. Insanity will not help the mental health of anyone.

As for Lt. Cmdr. Robert Myers saying "It could be anything." That is yet another head smack moment.



Here's  thought, how about actually knowing enough about PTSD, trauma, stress and a lot of other things first and then maybe, it would be a good idea to go from there? If they don't understand what causes a mental health crisis by now, it's time for the leaders to be held accountable, especially when they come up with these cockamamie conclusions!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

This long war is only won by giving them reason to fight

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 22, 2022

Fighting to help people heal #PTSD is a long war. It is not fought with bullets or bombs, yet far too many end up in mass graves. Graves that should not have been filled for many more years but they were still casualties of the wars they sent to fight. This long war claims more lives than wars declared by governments, yet they refuse to prepare for the veterans created who will carry the title of veteran all the days of their lives. If they are still having increased suicide rates within the military, it will become significantly higher in the veterans community.

This long war is only won by giving them reason to fight to take back their lives from PTSD. They won't find it unless they have the knowledge and support they need to do it. The stigma is still alive throughout the country when survivors of all traumas end up still believing they have a reason to feel ashamed when in fact, they should celebrate being a survivor with one more injury to heal. WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL THEM THAT with the power to get them to listen? It isn't that I didn't try.

My repulsion comes when I see the groups claiming to be helping veterans fail to actually do it yet manage to increase their funding while using the false claim of "22 a day" referring to veterans committing suicide. Knowing that when they came out with that number, they grabbed if from the headline of reporters instead of actually taking the time to read the VA report itself which stated clearly it was taken from just 21 states limited data. Each and ever other report since then, has also failed to compile the data from what they omitted. If they were members of the National Guard or Reserves, and not deployed into a combat zone, they were not counted on the death certificates as veteran. If they were not honorably discharged, they were not counted as veteran but they were discharged by the thousands under personality disorders instead of being diagnosed and treated for PTSD. It was easier to just get them off the books than care for them the rest of their lives. The same lives that were shortened by this reprehensible treatment.

In 2013 I wrote The Warrior SAW, Suicides After War. A non-fiction history of how we ended up spending billions while numbers of families had to bury more veterans who survivided combat but not what it did to them. Back then I thought if people only knew, they'd do something about it. They didn't.

The question is, if I figured it out so long ago, why didn't the "experts" manage to do it?

Now we see that efforts have not come close within the military and that is frightening.


USA Today just posted an article 'Still too high': Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin orders independent panel to study military suicide by Tom Vanden Brook

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday ordered the creation of an independent panel to review suicides in the military focusing on nine bases, including three in hard-hit Alaska.

Congress required the Pentagon to create the committee, independent of the Defense Department, to review suicide prevention programs and find ways to improve them. The announcement, and the inclusion of bases in Alaska, comes after USA TODAY reported earlier this year that there were 17 suspected or confirmed suicide deaths in 2021 among the 11,500 soldiers based in the state. That was more suicides than the previous two years combined for U.S. Army Alaska.

"It is imperative that we take care of all our teammates and continue to reinforce that mental health and suicide prevention remain a key priority," Austin wrote to the Pentagon's senior leadership. "One death by suicide is one too many. And suicide rates among our service members are still too high."
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., who chairs the personnel panel of the Armed Services Committee, successfully amended the National Defense Authorization Act to require the independent review commission. It is modeled on the committee that investigated problems at Fort Hood surrounding the murder of Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen.

“I have spoken to many spouses and family members who have lost their children or spouses to suicide in the military,” Speier said Tuesday. “The numbers have painfully grown by 40% over 5 years. I will not rest until we change this tragic trajectory."
read more on USA Today
I've heard that so many times over the last 40 years that I lost hope a long time ago they would actually live up to the claim. Considering they have been making the same fatal mistakes over and over again, we continue to see the senseless loss of life. It's not like it was not known what had to be done.

This is from the Makua Aloha Center and was a long time ago considering it says that I was doing this work for 25 years, but this is now my 40th!

This shows that I "dominated this topic" before all the nonsense came out.


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
By ELIAV BREUER
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
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
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

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

580 Service Members Die by Suicide in 2020

580 Service Members Die by Suicide in 2020, New Pentagon Report Says

Air Force Times
By Greg Hadley
Sept. 30, 2021
Fliers are on display during the Suicide Explained and Suicide Intervention training inside the Bay Breeze Event Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., Sept. 17, 2021. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue.
Five hundred and eighty service members died by suicide in 2020, the Pentagon announced Sept. 30, when the Defense Department released its annual suicide report.

Those 580 deaths mark the most the DOD has recorded in at least five years, with the Active-duty component accounting for 384, the Reserve for 77, and the National Guard for 119. In the Air Force, 81 Active-duty members, 12 Reservists, and 16 Air National Guard members committed suicide in calendar year 2020, according to the report.

“The findings are troubling. Suicide rates among our service members and military families are still too high, and the trends are not going in the right direction,” Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said in a statement accompanying the release of the report. “This is a paramount challenge for our department. We must redouble our efforts to provide all of our people with the care and the resources they need, to reduce stigmas and barriers to care, and to ensure that our community uses simple safety measures and precautions to reduce the risk of future tragedies.”

While the total numbers increased, the Defense Suicide Prevention Office found that the rate of suicides per 100,000 individuals did not increase by a statistically significant margin from 2019 to 2020, assuaging some fears that the COVID-19 pandemic would lead to a surge.
read more here

As bad as that sounds for last year, the truth is, the military suicides have been averaging 500 a year since 2012.
While reporters are unable to add in the "reserve component" meaning National Guard and Reservists, that is the truth. 

Year after year, they make excuses and make promises as to how serious they are taking the deaths of service members because of their service. Year after year, the numbers prove whatever leaders are paying attention to, they are clearly not paying attention to what the men and women service actually need.

Considering the civilian world has not been able to bring down the numbers, yet the general public seems fixated on veterans committing suicide, ignoring the suicides of those who committed suicide while serving, it is unlikely anything will change for anyone.

Considering what happened at Fort Drum with the 10th Mountain Division. When I posted about three suicides at Fort Drum it was like a dagger to hope that someday, they will finally understand how what leadership has been doing has failed. 

'What are we missing?' Fort Drum seeks answers in wake of successive suicides

By Brian Dwyer
Fort Drum
Sep. 30, 2021

Three recent suicides of soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, which has the lowest suicide rate of any division in the Army, has served as a wake-up call for leaders.


“We’re doing, for a lack of better words, mental gymnastics to think 'what are we missing?' ” 10th Mountain Division Command Sergeant Major Mario Terenas said upon learning three soldiers took their own lives.

Tenth Mountain Division officials were adamant that the days of stigma, being fearful to ask for help with mental health, were gone. Officials also discussed the highest priority the division places on ensuring soldiers get that help they ask for. So when the calls came in two weeks ago for three suicides in three days, it was a massive wake-up call.

“Put simply, suicide is the military in a crisis,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told reporters Thursday.

In her eyes, Gillibrand says more needs to be done regarding mental health stigma within the military. She’s pushing for passage of the Brandon Act, named after a sailor who three years ago took his own life after being bullied by a superior.

The act would trigger help for a military member without alerting those who could retaliate or impact a career. It had been placed in the House's version of the fiscal 2021 Defense Policy bill, but was removed during final deliberations.

“Our service members make sacrifices that we can never forget. It is our obligation to ensure that adequate resources are devoted to taking care of them, our veterans and their families,” Gillibrand said.
read more here

A wake up call they have said they have been hearing for decades! Members of Congress in the last 20 years have done nothing meaning full. All they have done is repeat what didn't work before, spend more money and get their names on Bills, while the troops get their names on gravestones. Nothing more than putting words together for press releases, while families get a pressed, folded flag at the funeral of someone who didn't need to end up there. 

Families still say they don't know what to do to help other families not face the same outcome. How could they when the government, all the way from Congress to the leadership of every branch don't know what to do? How could anyone know what they need to hear, if no one is remember what they already heard for the last 4 decades as Vietnam veterans, Gulf War Veterans and the War on Terror veterans have testified over and over again to members of Congress and Brass?

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

10th Mountain lost three soldiers to suicide this month

Army investigating the suspected suicides of 3 Fort Drum soldiers this month

NBC News
By Corky Siemaszko
September 29, 2021
"We want to know the trigger," the 10th Mountain Division commander said.
Three soldiers at a U.S. Army base in upstate New York are suspected of dying by suicide during a 72-hour span earlier this month, including one who was among the last to return home from Afghanistan.

All were members of the 10th Mountain Division, which is based at Fort Drum, the division said in a statement. All three deaths are under investigation.

“Immediately when we have a situation when a Soldier is suspected of taking their own life, we want to know the trigger,” Maj. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr., the 10th Mountain Division commander, said in an email to Army Times.
The dead soldiers were identified by the Army Times as Staff Sgt. Angel Green, 24; Pfc. Tyler Thomas, 21; and Spc. Sika Tapueluelu, 26.
The deaths of the soldiers, who were assigned to different units on the base, were announced Sept. 19 by the base public affairs team.
read more here

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Is Congress finally getting it right on suicide prevention?

Among the many things I had to get certification on, was Military Cultural Compentence. Working with veterans for all these years was a little easier for me, because I grew up with veterans. I was actually an Army brat! My Dad was a Korean War veteran and my uncles were WWII veterans. I understood the difference between veterans and civilans early on.

I also married a Vietnam veteran, spending most of my time surrounded by more of them.

All these years, veterans have been saying that sending them to a civilian therapist for help with PTSD was not working, Congress failed to listen. It looks like they are finally ready to, not just hear them, but act on it.
“Veterans’ Culturally Competent Care Act” which “will require that veterans receive culturally competent, evidence-based mental health treatment from private providers, as is already required of VA mental health providers.” 
Veterans belong with veterans. Police Officers belong with Police Officers and Firefighters belong with Firefighters. Why? Because there is a cultural difference. They already feel out of place when they have PTSD, so putting them in with civilians only adds to their level of feeling like an outcast. 

There is one more huge reason for this. The civilian world has a track record of not even being able to serve civilians! The rate of suicides in each group has grown despite all the years of "efforts" to reduce suicide and change the conversation from suffering to healing.

"Suicide rates increased 33% between 1999 and 2019, with a small decline in 2019. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.3 It was responsible for more than 47,500 deaths in 2019, which is about one death every 11 minutes.3 The number of people who think about or attempt suicide is even higher. In 2019, 12 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.5 million planned a suicide attempt, and 1.4 million attempted suicide." CDC

The numbers of members of the military committing suicide have gone up as well over the years. 

The first Bill Congress passed to "reduce" suicides was back in 2007 and ever since then, they have been repeating the same things that failed. I just got hopeful reading about this effort this time and thinking IT'S ABOUT TIME~

Gus Bilirakis: Veterans’ Culturally Competent Care Act Will Help Reduce Veteran Suicides

Florida Daily
Kevin Derby
July 27, 2021

Last week, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., a member of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee, championed a proposal to “ensure veterans receive the highest quality care possible from private providers.”

Bilirakis is the main co-sponsor of U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester’s, D-Del., “Veterans’ Culturally Competent Care Act” which “will require that veterans receive culturally competent, evidence-based mental health treatment from private providers, as is already required of VA mental health providers.”

Backers of the proposal, which also include U.S. Rep. Mike Levin, D-Calif., insist the bill will help reduce the number of veterans committing suicide.

“As the suicide rate of our nation’s veterans continues to worsen, more must be done to provide them with quality mental health care. The need for quality care is most acute with private providers in two key areas: cultural competency and evidence-based treatment,” Bilirakis’ office noted.
read more here

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Warning on royal commission cover-ups on suicides

why is this all still happening?


‘I have nothing to lose. My son is dead’: Warning on royal commission cover-ups

Sydney Morning Herald
By Melissa Cunningham and Angus Livingston
July 8, 2021
“I am concerned there will still be cover-ups, or people not talking about the issues that have caused some of the suicides." Julie-Ann Finney

Julie-Ann Finney campaigned for a royal commission in veteran suicides after her son David took his own life.CREDIT:ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN
The mother of a navy sailor who took his own life is promising to come out swinging at the federal government if it allows more cover-ups, demanding whistleblowers get protection if they give evidence to a royal commission probing veteran suicides.

Former deputy commissioner of NSW Police Nick Kaldas will lead the national Royal Commission into Defence and Veterans Suicides, which was formally created on Thursday. The commissioner will be aided by James Douglas QC, a former Queensland Supreme Court judge and Peggy Brown, a consultant psychiatrist.
War veteran Rob Campbell said he had struggled “enormously” when he returned to Australia after serving in Afghanistan and East Timor and had watched his close friends grapple with PTSD and mental anguish, following years of serving in the army.
read more here

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

the oldest pandemic this nation has ever seen

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 22, 2021

Last year I went to the New Hampshire veterans cemetery for the first time on Memorial Day. As I walked around, I thought about all the veterans in my family who passed away, as well as the two veterans I was walking with. My husband and his best friend are both Vietnam veterans.

When I came upon this memorial, I had to catch a couple of tears falling. The empty place where the service member is saluting, got to me.


It was around that time when I was debating about giving up working with veterans. No matter how hard I tried, or how much I knew, it seemed as if I was fighting everyone I knew in the veteran community. Most of them were latched onto the slogan of "22 a day" and wouldn't let go of the notion that suicide awareness was a good thing to do. How could they believe that letting suicidal veterans hear about others giving up would offer them anything but more despair?

It was too late to change their minds and I had been doing this work for too long to be able to deal with the deadly results of ignorance. My heart was being ripped out every time I read another report of another suicide.

No one wanted to hear what needed to be done, anymore than they wanted to hear about the decades of failures to address the oldest pandemic this nation has ever seen...suicides carried out by those who valued the lives of others so much so, they were willing to die to save them.

I got into all of this in 1982 and focused on Vietnam veterans with PTSD, but the truth is, they had only become the latest generation to join the others going back to when this nation began. What I didn't know back then was there would be more wars. 

It felt as if I was fighting this one all alone as soon as people started to read news reports in 2012. Soon after that, the awareness groups started popping up and eroding the ability for veterans to find people like me.

And now, maybe you'll understand why I gave up on what I had dedicated my life to almost 4 decades ago.

Active-duty suicide numbers level off after summer spike, but reserves soar published April 5, 2021 on Military Times.
While active-duty suicides jumped about 8 percent overall last year ― to 377 total, compared to a 7-percent jump the previous year, or 348 total ― the final months of last year saw a leveling-off of that worrisome summer spike, with 99 total suicides from October to December, compared to 100 during the same period in 2019.

The reserve component, on the other hand, held steady in the first nine months of the year, before exploding with deaths by suicide in the fall and winter ― a 128-percent spike, from 25 deaths in late 2019 to 57 in late 2020. Most of that spike was concentrated in the National Guard, which went from 14 suicides to 39 during the same period; 23 of those deaths were in the Army National Guard, specifically.


Yesterday Military.com published this....Since 9/11, Suicide Has Claimed Four Times More Military Lives Than Combat
In a paper released Monday as part of its Costs of War series, Brown's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs estimates that 30,177 active-duty personnel and veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken their own lives over the last nearly 20 years.

That is far greater than the 7,057 service members who died in war operations since 9/11, the institute said in the report, "High Suicide Rates Among United States Service Members and Veterans of the Post-9/11 Wars."
But Congress kept writing more bills and people kept pretending that it was all so important to them that they never once opened their eyes to change the outcome to anything but worse.


If you want to get hope back, and change the conversation from doom and gloom, read PTSD Patrol website and blog. Go to Facebook PTSD Patrol 

Monday, June 14, 2021

Alaska-based soldier suicides appear to be nearly four times the general U.S. rate

USA TODAY
Tom Vanden Brook
Jun. 11, 2021

WASHINGTON – Six soldiers stationed in Alaska have died by apparent suicide in the first five months of the year, an alarming number of deaths after the Army poured more than $200 million into the state to combat the mental health crisis it identified in 2019, according to Army figures released to USA TODAY.

The 2021 suicide toll among the roughly 11,500 soldiers stationed there already has nearly matched last year when seven soldiers died by suicide while stationed with U.S. Army Alaska, whose principal posts are Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.

While suicide rates among troops overall are comparable to the civilian population, the rate within the relatively small population of Alaska-based soldiers appears to be nearly four times the general U.S. rate.
read more here

Why? Why after all these years are the numbers still going up? Because what they are doing is not working, yet they keep doing the same things that already failed. The question is...why?

February 7, 2021, Army Times reported this, "After Army Alaska’s alleged suicides, one battalion gets ‘sensing sessions’"
A command team from the Hawaii-based 25th Combat Aviation Brigade visited one of their battalions at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, in January to hold sensing sessions in which troops discussed their opinions on mental health, loss and grief.

The trip came after two soldiers from 1st Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, died by suicide in late December and January, and a third soldier attempted suicide in that same time period, according to two people and an email from a unit official obtained by Army Times that describes the three incidents.
Because they have not changed what they are doing anywhere! It shows.
Military Deaths by Suicide Jumped 25% at End of 2020
Military.com
By Stephen Losey
5 Apr 2021

The number of deaths by suicide among military service members increased alarmingly in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the Defense Department's latest quarterly report.

The military recorded 156 deaths by suicide among all services, including active-duty, National Guard and Reserve troops, from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 last year. That is a 25% increase from the 125 such deaths that occurred in the last quarter of calendar year 2019.
read more here

Exactly when will the Joint Chiefs be forced to change what they are doing so that they can actually change the outcome?

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Military PTSD-suicide in the news

Military PTSD-suicide in the news would not be happening if the other bills done over all these years actually worked......

Parents of Norfolk sailor who died by suicide hope Brandon Act passes this time; Event in VB will provide mental health resources for military



WASHINGTON (WAVY) — Legislation to provide better access to mental health services for military members will be re-introduced next week on Capitol Hill, and the parents of the sailor for whom the bill was named are hoping it will become law.

Brandon Caserta was 21 when he died by suicide on Naval Station Norfolk. He had washed out of SEAL training in San Diego, but so do the vast majority of those who even qualify for the training. The course is known as BUDS, or Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL training, and Caserta was mocked with the label “BUDS dud.”

Caserta ended his life by jumping into the rotor of a helicopter. A military investigation found that his lead petty officer’s abusive actions were a likely contributing factor, and that officer was removed from the position. read it here


Canadian Armed Forces reports 16 military suicides in 2020

OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces says 16 service members took their own lives last year.

That represents a slight decline from the 20 military suicides reported in 2019, which was the largest number in five years.

The new figures nonetheless bring the total number of Canadian military personnel who have died by suicide over the last decade to 191. That is more than the 158 service members who were killed while serving in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014. read it here

Monday, May 24, 2021

Live for love and heal

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
May 24, 2021
(from my other site) 

Today the featured video is one I did back in 2012. Alive Day with Donna Summer, I Will Live For Love. I created it when I was working with veterans and their families. It was a few years after I started posting on Wounded Times about the rise in suicides within the military and among veterans. Back then it was thought that there were 18 veterans committing suicide everyday and it was my effort to get them, along with the members of the military to think about PTSD in a different way.

All humans need to think about PTSD and mental health in a different way. Why you didn't see Post Bulletin footage of a suicide attempt? was the headline from The Post Bulletin by Jeff Pieters (May 21, 2021) about a repoter capturing the moment when a suicide was prevented by Police Officers. The reason they made the choice to not release the footage is something that all of us should pay attention to...and oh, by the way, I totally approve!
News reporting that informs you sometimes can hurt vulnerable people. Here's how one coverage decision was made.
As humans in society, we have an interest in our fellow people, the different ways they live their lives, the things that they achieve, and the fates that sometimes befall them. We expect, in our free society, to be informed. And yes, there will be hard and unpleasant stories in the Post Bulletin from time to time.

But when there is a cost to the subject, we have to weigh that against the public's desire to know. Does someone who has a drug addiction deserve to be spotlighted for his or her fairly minor misdeeds? Should the sight of somebody having their worst day — a mental health breakdown on a highway bridge in Rochester — be put on display to thousands of pairs of eyes?

And, as Gayle reminded me, sometimes it's more than the individual who bears the cost of the stigma and shame. "There's so little awareness of the impact on families," she said. "The hidden, invisible and innocent victims."

In the end, after much thought and discussion, we made the choice. We would not publish or post our images of what happened on that bridge.
It is never just the one with PTSD or any other mental health condition, but their families as well. I know what it is like to be "family" as well as what it is like to be the "one" dealing with depression so sever I was praying that God would let me die. It was after my daughter was born and I had walked around with an infection for months before it took over my body. I was in the hospital and so sad about things that I just didn't want to do any of it anymore. (Long story but you can read it in For The Love Of Jack) My husband came into the room when I woke up. He had our daughter in his arms. I looked at her and I knew I couldn't leave her. I decided to live for love.


Part of the reason why I stopped working exclusively with veterans and families was the fact that somehow the desire to expose the fact suicides were going up among veterans and members of the military, so that someone would do something to prevent them, was replaced by people making a lot of noise and money off the fact they were doing it. Prevention efforts were drowned out by the ever crowded growing numbers of people wanting fame and fortune instead of saving lives. Suicide prevention was replaced by suicide awareness. As more and more people were committing suicide, the focus and funding was all about veterans. I thought it was time that all us humans were worthy of living.

Maybe that is why most people decide to fight to take back our lives from whatever we're fighting. The people will love are worth fighting for. That is why I Will Live For Love is the featured video today.

Let it be your alive day and live for those you love by healing and #TakeBackYourLife from #PTSD
Remember, it is your life...get in and drive it!
 
Dream-a-Lot’s Theme (I Will Live for Love)
Donna Summer

There's got to be a way that I can dream
Simply close my eyes and see
The worlds I've never known
What places that my soul has been
Sometimes I need to run away and hide
And soar above the clouds and ride
I sail along so high
Till nothing's in my sky
Except the stars that fill my eyes
And I will live for love
Where ever it may lead
It's written from the start
I know it's face by heart
I will live for love
I'm searching for the one who holds the key
To all this crazy life I lead
Through galaxies in time
A solitary star that joins
Sometimes I need to close my eyes and breathe
Inhale what life's been given me
A passion to ignite
A flaming heart a' flight
I close my eyes
I breathe
I'm free
And I will live for love
Where ever it may lead
It's written from the start
I know it's face by heart
I will live for love
The poet must have known
A lover of his own
"Cause that is when he wrote
Everything I felt for love
And I will fight for love in life and life in love
And I will hold to things above
I'm strong enough to slay the dragon dead and there
I will live for love
I'm taller than the sky
This dream will never die
So only know that I
I will live for love
The poet must have known
A lover of his own
That is when he wrote everything I felt for love
I will ever fight
I will live for life
I will live for love

Genius Lyrics 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

UK:Military Members In Crisis Need Hope Now

Suicide is not your only way to end the pain


Here in the US, we have more suicides, about 500 a year within the military according to the Department of Defense. We also have far too many veterans committing suicide. Some want to pretend they know the number, but there are too many variables to know for sure what the true number is.

We have been trying to change the outcome, but few with the power to change things will listen. We are talking to those suffering and given up on changing the minds of those in charge.

Learn what PTSD and why you have it and the start fighting to #TakeBackYourLife! You are not defective, not weak, not less than anyone else and not beyond hope. You can heal and whatever you need to do it, it out there waiting for you to find it. If you are only looking for a way to end it, instead of making your life better, that is all you will find.

Time to train to heal as hard as you trained to do your jobs.....


Ministry of Defence urged to tackle PTSD as suicide attempts among troops increase


The Mirror
BySean Rayment
23 MAY 2020
EXCLUSIVE: Freedom of Information figures show that 46 soldiers, seven members of the Royal Navy and eight personnel serving in the RAF attempted suicide or injured themselves in January alone

This year at least five soldiers are feared to have killed themselves (Image: Getty)

Serving troops are trying to kill themselves or self-harming at the rate of two a day, horrifying figures reveal.

The toll released in Mental Health Awareness week raises fresh questions over forces’ handling of conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder.

The “snapshot” showed 61 incidents in January alone.

Official Ministry of Defence statistics disclose that the troops who sought help had attempted to hang themselves, overdose or slash their wrists with a knife.

But military mental health support groups say the figure is the “tip of the iceberg” and warn that many of those self-harming could attempt suicide.

The figures mean that over 700 military personnel could attempt suicide or self-harm if the number of incidents continue at the same rate for the next 12 months.
read it here

Friday, April 10, 2020

34 Air Force personnel have died by suicide as of March 31

Air Force sees small dip in suicides compared to same period last year


Air Force Times
Diana Stancy Correll
April 4, 2020
Of those who have died by suicide this year, 30 were male and four were female. Twenty were enlisted personnel, eight were officers and six were Air Force civilians.

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright announced a one-day stand down to discuss resiliency and suicide prevention in a video released Aug. 1, 2019. (DVIDS)
The Air Force saw a small drop in total force suicides for the first quarter of 2020 when measured against this point of the year in 2019, according to the service.

The Air Force reported a total of 34 Air Force personnel have died by suicide as of March 31, including 20 active duty airmen. That number is down from the 41 suicides the Air Force reported across the entire force the end of March last year, officials said.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

U.S. Marine veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, and as police officer committed suicide in lobby

When a veteran commits suicide at a VA, it is a scream for help for others before it is too late for them. When a police officer does it at the station, it is for the same reason. So when exactly do we allow that scream to motivate us to actually do something?

Former Euclid Police officer commits suicide in department's lobby


News Herald
Staff report
Mar 23, 2020
Gauntner was a decorated police officer and is a U.S. Marine veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, according to a previous News-Herald article.
Todd Gauntner a former Euclid Police officer, committed suicide March 23 in the department's lobby. In 2019, Gauntner, left, was sentenced to five days in jail for brandishing a gun at two men during a 2018 bar fight in Willoughby. News-Herald file

Former Euclid Police Officer Todd Gauntner came to the Euclid Police Department lobby at 3 a.m., March 23, and committed suicide, the department announced in a news release.

He made no attempt to hurt anyone other than himself and no one else was injured, the release stated.
read it here

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Spreading suicide awareness spreads more suicides of younger veterans and older ones too!

If you still think that the groups raising awareness veterans are killing themselves is a good thing...YOU ARE NOT THINKING AT ALL!

Suicide remains growing challenge for younger veterans, survey shows


Military Times
Leo Shaqne III
March 1, 2020

The number of young veterans who know someone who has died by suicide or considered harming themselves both increased significantly in recent years according to just-released annual membership survey of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, another sign of the mental health struggles facing the military community.
An excerpt from the annual Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America member survey released on March 4, 2020. More than two-thirds of individuals who participated said they know a fellow veteran who attempted suicide. (Courtesy of IAVA)
Of the more than 1,700 veterans who participated in the questionnaire, more than two-thirds said they know at least one post-9/11 veteran who has attempted suicide. Nearly as many — 62 percent — said that they have lost a fellow young veteran to suicide.

Six years ago, only about 40 percent of members surveyed said they knew of a fellow veteran’s suicide.
read it here


Time to stop spreading misery and start spreading hope!


When will people wake up? What will it take for veterans to stop being treated like they are not worth every effort to let them know they can heal...they do not deserve to suffer...they are not broken and their lives are not hopeless?

As long as all this crap taking over social media is support, they will lose whatever shard of hope they have left and become one of the ones everyone is talking about, raising money talking about something they have no clue about and increasing their numbers of those we failed!

Monday, March 2, 2020

UK still unsure what to do to stop military suicides after cluster in 2 months

More than a dozen former British soldiers who fought in Afghanistan kill themselves within two months


The Independent
Kate Ng
2 hours ago
The recent spate of suicides will expedite government plans for new mental health services for veterans which are due to begin in April and will complement NHS programmes on problems like PTSD, addiction and debt, The Times reported Mr Mercer as saying.

A soldier from the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment Fusiliers leaves the security of the camp walls to conduct a dawn foot patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand Province, Afghanistan ( PA )
More than a dozen former British soldiers who fought in Afghanistan have died by suicide in a short period of time, it has been reported.

The Times reported that some 14 former and serving army personnel are thought to have killed themselves in the past two months.

MP Johnny Mercer told the newspaper in an interview he was concerned over the cluster of deaths involving a “specific unit that served at a specific time in Afghanistan… the bloodiest time”.

The Minister for Defence People and Veterans was referring to veterans involved in Operation Herrick, which is the codename for all British operations conducted between 2002 and 2014 in Afghanistan.

By the end of 2014, 453 soldiers died during Operation Herrick. According to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), there were 29 coroner-confirmed suicides and open verdict deaths of army personnel who were previously deployed to Operation Herrick as of February 2018.
read it here

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Vice Adm. Scott "Sterno" Stearney gave no warning signs before committing suicide

The Navy’s investigation into Vice Adm. Scott Stearney’s suicide


Navy Times
Geoff Ziezulewicz
February 25, 2020
The investigation instead focused on the long and brutal hours Stearney put in, as well as the stoic face the man with the call sign “Sterno” wore, a countenance that belied any turmoil he might have felt inside.
U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Scott A. Stearney, the commander of U.S.5th Fleet, killed himself in his Bahrain home on Dec. 1, 2018. (Marine Corps)

The investigation into the death of Vice Adm. Scott Stearney revealed no warning signs that may have predicted the U.S. 5th Fleet commander’s Dec. 1, 2018, suicide in his Bahrain home.

But a series of suicide notes left behind by Stearney revealed he grappled with “significant time away from family” and “the struggles of military life," according to a redacted Naval Criminal Investigative Service report obtained by Navy Times.

Released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the probe also reflects the shock Stearney’s family, friends and colleagues felt after the career aviator hanged himself.

Investigators found no evidence of personal misconduct or scandal linked to the admiral.

One officer told NCIS he didn’t think Stearney was involved in any bad behavior “because he was addicted to his job,” according to the report.
read it here

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Canada" “Our (PTSD suffering) soldiers are chastised, treated like lepers.”

Canada treats veterans poorly, Fredericton doctor tells Desmond inquiry


Chronicle Herald
Aaron Beswick
Published: 6 hours ago
Smith filled out the form. Eleven months later, Desmond would use his licence to kill Shanna, his daughter Aaliyah and mother Brenda before shooting himself.

GUYSBOROUGH, N.S. — A Fredericton family doctor who works with many veterans took a harsh view of how Canada treats soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Shanna and Lionel Desmond hold their daughter Aaliyah in this photo from Shanna Desmond’s Facebook page.
“Our (PTSD suffering) soldiers are chastised, treated like lepers,” Dr. Paul Smith told the Desmond Fatality Inquiry on Monday.

“It’s all about pills and psychotherapy. It’s pathetic. There’s nothing about developing relationships, which (are) what makes the world happen.”

Lionel Desmond appeared at Smith’s office in July 2015.

He’d just been discharged from the military, his marriage was on the rocks and money was short.

Diagnosed in 2011 with PTSD and suspected brain damage from concussions during a tour on the frontlines of Afghanistan in 2007, Desmond had already been prescribed antidepressants and drugs to help him sleep.
read it here

Sunday, February 16, 2020

"For every completed suicide there are 10 others" so why support making more aware of them?

Is your group doing more harm than good?


Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 15, 2020

When veterans decide to take their own lives, there is a much bigger problem this country has, than most are aware off. There was a time when it was necessary to put all the reports together so that people would do something about it. That time arrived on Wounded Times in 2007. Why isn't the press on suicide watch was viewed over 9,000 times.


I discovered the reports searching for them to do a video on suicides. Before that, it was a topic in the Veterans' Community, but we spoke about it too quietly. Many of us lost parents, as well as other family members, but we thought it was something to be ashamed of, instead of something that needed to be shouted so that everyone could hear us.

Putting together the report and the video, ripped me apart because I knew what that pain felt like. My husband's nephew, also a Vietnam veteran, took his own life. I also know what it is like when they hear there is an alternative to taking your own life with #TakeBackYourLife.

The time to invest in awareness efforts came soon afterwards, when the American people stood up and demanded the government take action. Since then, billions have been spent on some things that are worth every dime. Unfortunately, even more has been spent by the government that are far from worthy of the loss of one single veteran's life. In the process, we managed to also ignore the families, like mine, left behind to deal with unanswerable questions.

How we arrived here is no mystery. Some just decided they had to do something but did not take it seriously enough to know what they were talking about.

In this report Chaplain to veterans hopes new initiative will help stop veteran suicide out of Australia, you can see how suicide awareness groups can actually make it worse for those struggling.
CATHOLICS leading the battle against veteran suicide have welcomed the appointment of an independent commissioner to investigate deaths and make recommendations on metal health and wellbeing.

Deacon Gary Stone, the man known as the Veteran’s padre, “hopes and prays” a new government initiative will combat veteran suicide, and benefit the wider community.

“Every suicide seriously impacts families and friends who also need support,” Deacon Stone (pictured), who heads the Veterans Care Association and is a former infantry officer, said.

“For every completed suicide there are 10 others (and their associated families and friends) struggling with suicidal ideation and self-harm.”

What do we see all over social media? Talk about a number attached to veterans committing suicide. We see members of the military, veterans groups, police officers, firefighters and regular citizens, dropping down to do 22 pushups. We see them running, walking and all kinds of other stunts to raise money while claiming they are raising awareness that veterans are killing themselves.

What is the point of all this? Did anyone of them think that their peers are also among those committing suicide and it is not just veterans?

The CDC released a report last year stating, "After a stable period from 2000 to 2007, suicide rates for persons aged 10–24 increased from 2007 to 2017..."

In another report from the CDC, "Suicide is a large and growing public health problem. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It was responsible for more than 47,000 deaths in 2017, resulting in about one death every 11 minutes. Every year, many more people think about or attempt suicide than die by suicide. In 2017, 10.6 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million made a plan, and 1.4 million attempted suicide."

Tens of thousands of groups have been doing it for over a decade and the trend is growing. What causes most advocates to cringe, aside from the obvious, is there seems to no end to the flood of people making money off this, and no end to the heartache of veterans doing it.

The groups usually use names they think will attract the most attention.

Back in 2015, NPR did a report on how The Number 22: Is There A 'False Narrative' For Vet Suicide? They interviewed Keith Jennings for his input. The problem is, they did not fact check what he said.
"That number, if we talk about it out of context, it's questionable," Keith Jennings, Iraq combat veteran and clinical psychologist, says. He acts as chief science adviser for a North Carolina-based group called StopSoldierSuicide.org.
There is a problem with the name itself. Stop "Soldier" Suicide, used in context, would mean that they are trying to stop soldiers from committing suicide, not all of the services, and certainly not talking about veterans.

At the time NPR produced this article, the DOD report shows clearly that the following statement is also wrong.
So Smolenski and a team, in a study released this year, dug deeper. They found that vets who had served during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars commit suicide at a rate of about one a day — not 22.
The average of suicides within the military has been 500 a year since 2012. (Add in Active Components with Reserve totals.) Is that what the "team" looked at?

It would make sense however, aside from that, had they really "dug deeper" they would have discovered how many were not included in any of the reports from the DOD or the VA.

If you read Wounded Times, you have seen all the data and links. It is up to them to go and find them, but much like years ago, I offered to help them change the outcome, they were not interested in facts.


22Kill has been studied since they started. "In 2012, the Veterans’ Administration (VA) released a Suicide Data Report that found an average of 22 veterans die by suicide everyday. The 22KILL initiative started in 2013, at first just as a social media movement to raise awareness, and later became an official 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in July of 2015." But had they spent enough time to even read the report? If they had, they would have noticed the number was an average from limited data collected from just 21 states. They would have seen that the majority of veterans in the report, were over the age of 50.

Had they invested time and energy to discover what had been done before the topic struck them?

While the conclusion is, much like this from Task and Purpose, "Likewise, awareness doesn’t do much. You can know a problem exists. That doesn’t mean you are any closer to solving the problem. There are a lot of diseases and societal issues with different color ribbons and special days for awareness, but not a lot of solutions. Veterans dying by suicide has been all over the news since the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal broke in April 2014."

Wounded Times has been covering veteran suicides since 2007, right after it started...and lost money every year since the work of changing the outcome matters a hell of a lot more than anything else. Before the move from Florida to New Hampshire, average page views were over 1,000 a day. Right now, after trying to rebuild from a two month break, it is about 600 a day.

As you can see, over 4 million since August of 2007.

Stop Soldier Suicides says, since they started they served 1,000+ has managed to take in over $3 million in 2018, but they are hardly the largest group.

So where exactly is your money going? Find something that will actually make a difference, like taking the time to know about the topic before you share the stunt. Make sure that what you read, is actually the truth, instead of words that stick in your brain. Until we start using words that change the outcome, we will keep contributing to it.

If you have a group that has been raising awareness, it is time to change the subject and earn the money by helping them stay alive!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Demand facts so that real solutions will be known to those we want to save

Beware of Awareness


Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 12, 2020

There was a time when everyone was made aware, the earth was flat. They believed it until they were made aware, the earth was actually round. Until common sense took over, they hated those who were telling them the truth.
The speakers of the truth had to prove what the truth was, until the others became aware they were wrong all along.

That is exactly what has been happening for far too long in this country. The topic this time is suicide awareness being raised while veterans, members of the military, first responders and regular citizens fall off because no one told them the truth...that they could heal.

Speaking the truth about this has created the same conditions for the truth tellers to be hated. If you among those trying to make others beware of awareness, here is proof that you are right, and they are wrong.

We have the press to blame when they do not report the whole truth because they do not know enough to check the facts before they publish news reports. When the Department of Defense began resiliency training, it was a predictable outcome, but reporters continually failed to link it to the increase of servicemembers committing suicide, while in the military, as well as suicides within the Veterans' Community.


The headline from NBC News is "Air Force suicides surged last year to highest in 3 decades" It contained, "According to preliminary figures, the Air Force had 84 suicides among active-duty members last year, up from 60 the year before."

What made this report worse is that the reduction in military personnel went down over those decades when NBC inserted this, "...even as the other military services saw their numbers stabilize or decline, according to officials and unpublished preliminary data."

Suicide Awareness failure was made clearer when Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly pointed to “Suicide is a difficult national problem without easily identifiable solutions that has the full attention of leadership.”

Why? Primarily because civilians did not receive billions of dollars in training to prevent them from happening.

Civilians do suffer from mental illnesses and according the the Sidran Institute "...more than 13 million people—have PTSD at any given time." but do not subject themselves to traumatic events continually. That report is a few years old but more recent ones have a different story.

The Recovery Village states "Statistics on the prevalence of PTSD in the United States vary depending on the specific group or population being studied. Overall, PTSD affects around 3.5% of the U.S. population, approximately 8 million Americans, in a given year." within an article published in January of 2020. So which one is right? Have any reporters contacted the Sidran Institute or any of the others for clarification?

Those who select jobs, putting themselves in danger to save others, should never be linked to all others.

Why? Because they value the lives of others so much so, they were willing to sacrifice their own lives to save someone else. They are not only trained to do their jobs,  billions of dollars have been spent to  supposedly "train them" to recover from their jobs.

Have any reporters asked about all that? No.

They have not linked in the fact that the Suicide Prevention Hotline from the Veterans Administration, has "Since late 2018, VA screened more than 4 million Veterans. Crisis Line is taking more than 1,700 calls each day, and VA takes emergency action on about 100 of those calls." Still this gets worse when you are aware of how long this had been in operation. This was released in 2018, by the American Physiological Association. "Launched in 2007, the service has more than 500 phone responders, who to date have answered over 3.5 million calls and sent emergency services to more than 93,000 people. The Crisis Line expanded to add an anonymous chat service in 2009 and text messaging in 2011."

They have not reported that as the number of groups raising awareness that veterans were committing suicide, all this, and more, was happening masquerading as helpful efforts to make people aware, of things they did not know.

Suicide Awareness does not work but, those speaking the truth, must never give up on making people beware of what others want them to pay attention to. The subject of those willing to risk their lives to save others, demand facts so that real solutions will be known to those we want to save.