Showing posts with label veterans peer support. Show all posts
Showing posts with label veterans peer support. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Sky Attack Comics shows what happens when you're too busy to help save a life

Sky Attack Comics sums up suicide awareness stunts perfectly

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 26, 2020

The evidence is in! Stunts to "raise awareness" veterans are killing themselves spreads pain...not healing! I have grown weary of fighting these people who spent more time raising money and getting fame, instead of actually learning anything to change the outcome.

This morning a cartoon gave me back hope that people are paying attention! Sky Attack Comics produced it! It shows a veteran getting ready to do 22 pushups but his phone rings. On the other end is another veteran he served with, reaching out to him for help with a gun in his hand. He was too busy getting ready to do what he wanted to do. PERFECTION!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Free equine therapy to female veterans with PTSD in dire need of support

Financial fallout of COVID-19 hits Montana ranch that helps female veterans fight PTSD

FOX News
By Emily DeCiccio
May 21, 2020
Ledoux and her mother depend on donations to run Serenity Ranch and offer free-of-charge equine therapy to at-risk women. Their dedication comes from their firsthand account of equine therapy when they both experienced loss.

Lisa Ledoux and her mother have been operating Serenity Ranch in Montana since May 2016, providing free equine therapy to female veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other traumas.

The economic fallout of COVID-19, however, has taken a toll on Serenity Ranch and is forcing the horse rescue facility to roll back its critical equine therapy programs and sell nearly 40 acres of land.

“This year, unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be unable to do a female veteran program,” said Ledoux. “We’ll be taking care of the horses, and that's kind of what we've been focusing on more lately since the pandemic started, just because the donations that we were receiving have gone down significantly.”

Ledoux explained to Fox News that it’s just her and her mom taking care of the ranch and the horses. She broke down the high operating costs and noted that a bale of hay, for example, is $120, and the horses go through one bale in about a day-and-a-half.
read it here

The Serenity Ranch’s mission is to assist women with programs designed to create a safe environment to help facilitate a positive relationship with our 42 rescued horses, when battling PTSD, trauma, abuse and the addictions that can result.

Programs will be created for the following :
Female Veterans
Female Spouses of Veterans
Female Law Enforcement Officers
Spouses of Law Enforcement Officers
Grieving Women
Families of Veterans and Law Enforcement Officers
Women Experiencing or Living With Trauma
Abused Women

Each program group will have one thing in common; background. Veterans will be grouped together, as well as Spouses and Law Enforcement Officers. We will not be mixing backgrounds for individual programs!

Our organization is pending non-profit (501c-3) status, but is actively fundraising.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Exit12's veteran movement workshop started by Marine



I grew up in a household where we were driven to help other people. My grandparents would go out of their way for others, even if it affected their own happiness and prosperity. And so this feeling of needing to be of help to others is probably part of my DNA.

In high school I had a friend who was a ballerina and I was intrigued, so I started taking classes—ballet, tap and jazz. The call of ballet was so interesting because it was so physical and yet so intricate and smart at the same time.

Exit12 Dance Company, which I co-founded in 2007, works predominantly with, and for, veterans of war. Sadly, all our 2020 tours have been cancelled or postponed because of COVID-19.
Román Baca, artist, choreographer and US Marine Iraq War Veteran, pictured in Iraq in 2006. ROMAN BACA

After losing two of my Marines to suicide in 2011, I started to develop Exit12's veteran movement workshop, Movement to Contact. We invite veterans to work with us and go through one of our movement workshops. Initially these were designed to rebuild the feeling of self and a sense of trust and teamwork. But a lot of veterans were reporting that they were also being inspired creatively. The workshops allowed them to create, choreograph and think imaginatively, and they would say, "wow! I did that! I wonder what else i could do with my life?"

We had one army veteran who served for the U.S. in the Vietnam War. He would self-report that the army trained him how to kill, that he was a killer, a shell he's been trying to shed his whole life. He came to a couple of our workshops and he did a couple of writing workshops with another veterans' organization. And now in his hometown, he is a peer veteran counsellor.

When I got into dance, I was drawn towards the story ballets that had impact and purpose. At university, we performed a piece by Antony Tudor called Dark Elegies. It's a piece where the children in a community die in a tragedy. We interpreted it as them playing on the beach and getting swept away by a huge wave.
read it here
Find more inspirational stories here

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Just about any where there are Vets there is a Point Man presence

Point Man turning lost into found and healed

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
May 16, 2020

From Point Man's website
Since 1984, when Seattle Police Officer and Vietnam Veteran Bill Landreth noticed he was arresting the same people each night, he discovered most were Vietnam vets like himself that just never seemed to have quite made it home. He began to meet with them in coffee shops and on a regular basis for fellowship and prayer. Soon, Point Man Ministries was conceived and became a staple of the Seattle area. Bills untimely death soon after put the future of Point Man in jeopardy.

However, Chuck Dean, publisher of a Veterans self help newspaper, Reveille, had a vision for the ministry and developed it into a system of small groups across the USA for the purpose of mutual support and fellowship. These groups are known as Outposts. Worldwide there are hundreds of Outposts and Homefront groups serving the families of veterans.

PMIM is run by veterans from all conflicts, nationalities and backgrounds. Although, the primary focus of Point Man has always been to offer spiritual healing from PTSD, Point Man today is involved in group meetings, publishing, hospital visits, conferences, supplying speakers for churches and veteran groups, welcome home projects and community support. Just about any where there are Vets there is a Point Man presence. All services offered by Point Man are free of charge.

From Wounded Times September 21, 2007
The leader of the Newark post, Russ Clark, is a retired Marine who fought in Vietnam. Clark was a Methodist minister for 25 years before leaving the pastorate due to life upheaval brought on by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He knows firsthand the devastation PTSD can bring into the lives of veterans and their families.

“I lost a family. I lost a ministry. Point Man is now my calling,” Clark explained. He said helping other veterans has brought him great healing. He encourages other veterans to reach out to those with similar experiences.

read it here

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Combat Wounded Veteran Rory Hamill inspired others to live on....until he lost his own battle

UPDATE: Do not become one more

Last night I could not get this story out of my mind. We loose too many people who decide their lives toward helping others, only to give up on themselves. This is not easy but it can be easier if you are willing to follow your own advice and ask for help when you need it!

If you are struggling to understand how this can happen, it is because those who put others first, put themselves last. That also includes asking for help when they need it. We need to do a lot more on encouraging veterans like Rory Hamill to follow their own advice before we continue to lose more like him.

Veterans Mourn, Outraged After Death of Another Decorated Local Marine Corps Combat Veteran

Shore News Network
May 3, 2020

OCEAN COUNTY, NJ – Rory Hamill served with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines during his combat deployment to Afghanistan in in 2009. He returned home from war as an amputee and went on to become a veteran’s mental health advocate. Hammil was a motivational speaker and veteran mentor with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Veteran’s Diversion Program. After returning home from Afghanistan, Hammil went to college and earned a degree in social sciences.
“Today, I learned that my friend, Rory Patrick Hamill, took his life yesterday,” said his close friend Jase Wheeler. “Have no idea what triggered him, but can say, I totally understand what it’s like when you battle PTSD on a daily basis. Add to that, the fact we have to quarantine, change every part of our daily routine, can’t get out to see friends, unable to do all the things that allow us to de-stress. It’s brutal. He was a father of 3, a motivational speaker, a hero and a friend.” read it here

Still pushing: Cpl. Rory Hamill
Story by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht
New Jersey National Guard

“All this stuff started coming out a few years ago,” said Hamill. “I thought I was fine, but it took me some time to realize things weren’t alright.”

His past deployment experiences coupled with his injuries caused Hamill a deep depression that led to alcohol abuse and a feeling suicidal. He knew he needed to turn a corner in his life.

“After one bad night, I found myself looking into the mirror, and realized that I needed to figure this out for my kids,” said Hamill. “They’re the driving force in my life.”

In addition to his kids, the other driving force in Hamill’s life is a calling to help fellow veterans.

“I don’t like quitting, at all,” said Hamill. “Call it pure stubbornness, but I don’t like giving up. I’ve always been told I can’t do stuff my entire life. It’s made me want to prove people wrong.”
read it here

Friday, May 1, 2020

Yes we can prevent veteran suicides

Preventing suicides is only impossible if we do nothing

Over half a lifetime ago, I started working with veterans with PTSD and their families. Why? Because it was a matter of life or death. Over the years it became apparent that peer support worked best, but having an educated peer was better than anything else.

Want to change a life? Learn what PTSD is and then start to change the conversation from doom and gloom, to "adapt, improvise and overcome!"

That is what Point Man International Ministries started to do in 1984 and proved healing was possible when people are joined together to open doors few knew existed.

Can community engagement prevent veteran suicides?

VAntage Point
Mike Richman
April 29, 2020
Specifically, the team interviewed participants within a week of their discharge from an inpatient psychiatric unit. They discovered Veterans analyzed for psychiatric conditions, such as PTSD, are at much greater risk than other cohorts of taking their own lives within three months after leaving the hospital.
Social isolation and feelings of loneliness are associated with suicidal thoughts. Consequently, the more people feel disconnected from their friends, peers and colleagues, the more isolated they become.

One antidote for social isolation is social connectedness. That is, people coming together and interacting. But there's been little research on suicide prevention programs that target social connectedness.

Dr. Jason Chen of the VA Portland Health Care System is leading a study to establish a stronger sense of social connectedness for Veterans at high risk of suicide. He's doing this by increasing their participation in community activities.

Chen and his team have been identifying the community engagement needs and preferences of Veterans who have been hospitalized and evaluated for psychiatric conditions. Specifically, the team interviewed participants within a week of their discharge from an inpatient psychiatric unit. They discovered Veterans analyzed for psychiatric conditions, such as PTSD, are at much greater risk than other cohorts of taking their own lives within three months after leaving the hospital.
read it here on We Are The Mighty

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Remember a lot of older veterans are not online. The phone is their lifeline!

UPDATE Media started to pay attention...

Coronavirus isolation dangerous for veterans with PTSD, Kentucky advocates warn
Louisville Courier Journal...April 3!
“Isolation in the veteran community is, in fact, a killer,” said Harrell, an Iraq combat veteran.

Veterans who struggle with PTSD, suicidal thoughts or depression are especially vulnerable during the pandemic, he said. read it here

UPDATE Calls to veteran crisis hotline up 12 percent during COVID-19 outbreak, Wilkie tells VSOs

“The isolation required now was a key part of my question,” Chenelly said. “How do we counteract the negative effects of that? How many veterans will take their own lives because of this isolation now? That’s a big reason we exist -- to keep them connected to make sure they don’t feel alone.”

Calls to veteran crisis hotline up 12 percent during COVID-19 outbreak, Wilkie tells VSOs
Here is the link

Isolated Veterans Need Help During COVID-19

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos

March 14, 2020
The Coronavirus or COVID-19 is now in 49 states. It is wise for older people to isolate, since this hits us harder. Even worse if you have health issues. The problem with this is that older veterans face something most are not talking about and that is what isolation does to them.

Over all these years, the one thing experts keep stressing when dealing with PTSD, is that veterans get out with peers, join groups and spend time with others. We know that the majority of known cases of veteran suicides are still in the older veteran population. We also know that when they do spend time with other veterans, they help one another heal. Knowing you are not alone, is comforting and healing.

This is where you come in! If you know a veteran who has to isolate during this crisis, pick up the phone and call them. Do not just do it once, but spend a couple of minutes a day reaching out to them and you will change their whole day.

Remember a lot of older veterans are not online. The phone is their lifeline!

It will also give you an opportunity to know how their mood is. They may be passing off depression as nothing to worry about, and they may not even notice it themselves.

Offer to go to the store for them so they do not run out of supplies, especially toilet paper, which is insanely hard to find right now. If you cook or go out to eat, ask them if there is anything you can bring them. You do not even have to go into their house, and it may be wiser to not so that you do not expose them to whatever you were exposed to.

You'll be surprised how much little gestures of kindness can do to change the life of someone you care about!

If you are the isolated veteran, most of you are spending time watching TV. Stop watching news all day long. Stop watching war movies or with violence in them. Find comedies to lift your spirits. If you have hobbies, DO THEM! Keep busy and tackle projects you have put off.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

American Legion Chaplain leading veterans trained to talk to veterans and stop these suicides

Tackling veteran suicides one on one

American Legion
March 4, 2020
“I knew we had to do something about veteran suicides,” said Miller, who was a Strategic Air Command medic during the Korean War. “That’s when I started the peer group … to have veterans trained to talk to veterans and stop these suicides.
(Photo courtesy
In 2012, U.S. Air Force veteran Frederick Miller saw a report on CNN about veteran suicides. And then he started to notice multiple reports showing the number of suicides each day, but didn’t see much in the way of how the problem was being addressed.

So Miller – the former Nassau County (New York) chief of parasitology, an ordained reverend and the chaplain for Arthur H. Clune American Legion Post 1533 in Mastic Beach – decided to start addressing the problem at the local level.

Miller’s Veterans Peer-to-Peer Program started at his post, but has since grown to become a Suffolk County program, with more than 100 Legion Family members participating. Those who participate in the program as counselors undergo training and then work with veterans who are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and what Miller calls the “moral injuries” associated with serving in combat.
read it here

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Long Island Veterans Fight For Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Project

Long Island veterans groups demand Gov. Cuomo provide state aid for peer-to-peer programA fight for funding is underway in Albany for a program that helps veterans deal with the unseen wounds of war.

News 12
February 6, 2020

A cry of protest has arisen from Long Island veterans who are furious Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not included funding to a peer-to-peer program that helps veterans facing the challenges of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Assemblyman Mike LiPetri, along with several Long Island groups, are demanding the $4 million in state aid needed for the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Project be included in Cuomo's budget.

Morris Miller, a Vietnam veteran who volunteers as a peer counselor, understands the importance of the peer-to-peer program.

"PTSD is not just for Vietnam veterans, it's Iraq, Afghanistan, Desert Storm, Desert Shield. There are our younger veterans, and we have to, as older veterans, stand up for these guys," says Morris.
read it here

Friday, September 27, 2019

Veteran casually mentioned suicide plans at routine appointment

VA staff’s instant action prevents a Veteran suicide

by Kristen Parker
September 25, 2019
Many common risk factors for suicide are treatable. As a community, we can #BeThere and save Veterans lives through stories of hope and recovery.

In the photo above, Cleveland VA’s lifesaving team includes (from left) Jose Rivera (ED nurse manager), Kimberly Miller (infusion clinic nurse), Jennifer Davis (dietitian), Erin Valenti (infusion clinic nurse manager), Alexandra Murray (psychiatry intern) and Rocco Burke (police officer). 

It’s not often that we talk about suicide in terms of lives saved, but recently, the Cleveland VA team saved a Veteran from ending his life.

He came in for his medical appointment for treatment just like any other day. During a casual conversation with a VA team member, he shared his plan for suicide. He had lost hope and didn’t feel he had anything more to offer.

The VA team member wasn’t a mental health provider, a nurse or a doctor, but is a compassionate VA employee who knew how to #BeThere. The VA team member immediately engaged members of the Veteran’s treatment team.

They showed compassion and talked with the Veteran about his needs and together, then they developed a plan that helped him feel safe.

Every member of the VA team flawlessly executed their role to save this Veteran’s life. They got him to the emergency department and, eventually, to the psychiatric assessment and observation center for further treatment.
read it here

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Will VA Suicide Prevention Continue to Fail to Prevent Them?

The VA’s suicide prevention strategy will fail

Military Times
By: Sean Gilfillan
September 17, 2019
Instead of relying on others, the VA’s strategy should be to replicate the peer, community and institutional support veterans had while they were in the military.
Hawaii-based service members from every branch of service, Department of Defense personnel, and military and DoD families form a human chain in the shape of a yellow suicide awareness ribbon on Sept. 5, 2018, in support of National Suicide Awareness Month at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Corwin Colbert/Navy)
The suicide rate for young adults was 17 per 100,000 population in 2017, while the suicide rate for veterans 18-39 is over 50 per 100,000.

The VA strategy says, “Suicide prevention is VA’s highest priority.” If that were true, the VA would not outsource the solution to local, community-based organizations. In the VA’s National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide, there are four critical protective factors that help offset risk factors.

Two clinical solutions: 
1) Positive coping skills, and 
2) Access to mental health care; and two non-clinical solutions: 
3) Feeling connected to other people, and 
4) Having reasons for living or a sense of purpose in life. 

The VA’s strategy has a “lead from behind” approach for the latter two. We give the VA $220.2 billion per year to take care of our 20 million veterans. Yet, the VA wants to outsource outreach to veteran service organizations (VSOs), nonprofits, local businesses and governments to address the two non-clinical factors. While VSOs advocate on behalf of all veterans, they are not in touch with all veterans.

Given member overlap and passive membership, basic math dictates that the combined marketing reach of the entire VSO community is estimated to be 5-10 percent of the total.

Even so, this business-to-business (B2B) (organization to organization) approach is not the right strategy for an organization with individual customers.
read it here

Sunday, September 1, 2019

If veterans are "Still Reluctant To Seek Help" time to change help you are offering

Can we finally drop the BS of "suicide awareness" so we can start raising "healing awareness?"

Every time I read about the rate of suicides going up after all the "awareness" efforts stated, I have to decide between crying, screaming or hitting something. For the last 37 years I have known what to do for two reasons. The first is that other people became experts on PTSD long before I heard the term. The second reason is that learning all I can about it was a matter of life or death because it involved my family.

All these years later, what people are settling for makes me sick to my stomach! Suicide is a serious thing and requires serious efforts to be support, not avoided because it is harder than pulling stunts and showing off. Saving lives is personal involvement and a full knowledge of everything involved in it.

Are you willing to make a difference for them, or are you in this for yourself? Take a good, hard, honest look at yourself. If you really care about them, contact me so you will know what has to be done. 407-754-7526 or email

All calls are confidential, so you can ask any question you want. Maybe then we can prevent more headlines like this one.

Veterans And Active-Duty Service Members Make Up 20% Of All Suicides In Colorado, But They’re Still Reluctant To Seek Help

Colorado Public Radio
By Hayley Sanchez
August 30, 2019
Nearly 200 Colorado veterans kill themselves every year, according to the report. The number of veteran suicides in the state has been increasing since 2004. It went from 44 suicides per 100,000 that year to 52 by 2017.

David Zalubowski/Associated Press The exterior of the Veterans Affairs Department hospital is shown in east Denver.

Colorado’s suicide rate is already one of the highest in the country, and research shows veterans are even more likely to die by suicide than non-veterans in the state.

“The deaths by suicide from 2004 to 2017 in Colorado, there were about 13,000 of them, which is a mind-boggling statistic. Nearly 2,600 of them were veterans or active duty service members,” said Karam Ahmad, a policy analyst with the institute, who also wrote the report for Colorado Health Institute.

“Suicide is a major public health problem nationally. Here in Colorado, it’s a major public health problem. We ranked 10th worst in the country,” Ahmad said.
read it here

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Marine veteran "ain't heavy" for his brother Marine

Veteran carries fellow Marine to Utah mountain summit: 'We're all a band of brothers'

FOX News
By David Montanaro
August 27, 2019
Phil Casper wrote, "They sought no special attention. The disabled vet said he weighed 135 lbs. They were committed to reach the summit. Having just exhausted myself to reach the summit with less than 5 lbs on my back, it was hard to fathom the drive that the pair possessed to achieve their goal. To have arrived where I met them was already an incredible accomplishment. It was a powerful and inspiring experience to see them on their way."
When it comes to the U.S. Marines, one of their core beliefs is to leave no man behind.

That motto was on full display last week when retired Marine Sgt. John Nelson was caught on video carrying his friend and fellow Marine, Staff Sgt. Jonathon Blank, to the summit of Utah's Mount Timpanogos.

Blank lost his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2010, with Nelson nearby when the blast occurred. The two, who served together on long-range reconnaissance missions, joined "Fox & Friends" Tuesday to detail the inspirational journey, which spanned 14 miles and 4,500 feet of elevation.

The sight of Nelson carrying Blank, who weighs about 135 pounds, on his back left two fellow hikers in awe and one shared the video on Facebook.
read it here

Monday, August 5, 2019

Point Man getting to the point of love and what heals PTSD

Point Man weekend lifting up healing

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
August 5, 2019

Of all the things you have been hearing about lately, you may have received the impression that it is all new stuff. Peer support...not new. Healing of mind-body and spirit...not new. Suicides and attempted suicides...not new. None of what you hear about today is new, but most of it is not an improvement on what had already been done without the glow of reporters covering stunts.

This weekend I was in Buffalo for the Point Man International Ministries conference. Dana Morgan, the President of Point Man for longer than I have been involved, has stepped down and is taking on leading an Out Post instead of the whole thing after over 20 years.

Want to know what works? Listen to these speeches and know what the rest of the groups should be doing because if you end the video and are not awakened to possibilities...not much else will open your eyes.

There will be a few more videos up tomorrow but they will have to wait until I get back from work.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Marine Old Breed Rugby offering support for PTSD the old fashion way

How a St. Charles veteran uses rugby to help fellow Marines

Daily Herald
Bob Susnjara
August 1, 2019

Okicich is among five Old Breed Rugby members who are available 24 hours a day for veterans suffering from depression or who just need to talk. Contact information is on the home page of Old Breed Rugby's website.
Retired Marine Marc Okicich of St. Charles, running with ball, helps other veterans through endeavors such as the Old Breed Rugby Club. The nonprofit honors the memories of fallen Marines while offering a support network to veterans in need. Courtesy of Old Breed Rugby Club

When St. Charles resident Marc Okicich gathers with other retired Marines to play rugby, it's more than just a fun day on the field.

Okicich is a member of the nationwide Old Breed Rugby Club, which since 2005 has honored the memories of fallen Marines while offering a support network to veterans in need.

Part of Old Breed Rugby's mission is to raise money for the permanent endowment of a memorial fund named for Marine Lt. Col. Kevin Shea, who was killed in Iraq in September 2004. The fund is administered by the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.

Okicich is among five Old Breed Rugby members who are available 24 hours a day for veterans suffering from depression or who just need to talk. Contact information is on the home page of Old Breed Rugby's website,

"We've found we've become a support network for some of the guys that came back that were struggling with some post-traumatic stress issues," said Okicich, who played rugby with Shea at Camp Pendleton in California in the early 1990s.

Okicich, 49, remembers one instance when he woke from a nightmare at 2:30 a.m. and noticed a missed call from a few minutes earlier. He returned the call and reached a veteran who "was struggling with some demons."
read it here

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Vermont veterans rate 88.7% higher than the national rate for suicides

Endless struggle: Vermont’s veteran suicide rate is among highest in the nation

VT Digger
By Peng Chen
Jul 21 2019
Vermont’s veteran suicide rate has been higher than the national rate almost every year from 2005 to 2016, according to the veteran suicide data from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Data shows there were 25 veteran suicides in Vermont in 2016 — a rate of 56.8 per 100,000 people. That put the state’s rate 88.7% higher than the national rate.
Josh Pallotta is pictured here during his service in Afghanistan. Facebook photo

In Valerie Pallotta’s eyes, her son, Josh, was always determined to do what he liked, including fighting for his country.

When Josh came home one day in 2009 and told her he was joining the Vermont National Guard, she asked if he realized he would be deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“He said ‘I know. That’s why I’m joining’,” Valerie said.

Josh scored so high in the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test that he could choose whatever branch in the military he wanted, according to his mother. He opted for infantry because he knew that he would be on the frontlines. He was 20.

Valerie said Josh was a teddy bear type who enjoyed snowboarding, football and lacrosse. He also had a great sense of humor that made everyone want to be around him. But things changed after he lost two members of his unit in a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan.

“That totally changed him,” Valerie said.

At 21, it was the biggest loss of Josh’s life. He came back to Vermont a few months later. Valerie said Josh was OK at first. He worked as a transportation security officer at Burlington International Airport. But then problems began to crop up. He had a hard time sleeping, which led to missing work and ultimately, being fired.

Valerie said Josh had another job later that required him to make sandwiches and mop the floors. He really liked it and was good at it, but the business closed. Josh was left with “What do I do now?” said Valerie, and felt he had few choices.

Soon, his mother said, Josh lost motivation and purpose in life. In September 2014, he ended his life. He was 25.
If you are in crisis or need help for someone else, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Valerie had not spoken with her son during the nine months before he took his own life. She took a tough love approach, hoping Josh would buck up. But that backfired on her, and she has had to live with a terrible sense of guilt, she said.

What’s worse, she said, time doesn’t heal.

“This is the worst thing to ever happen to me. I will never have grandchildren. He was my only child. I will never see my child get married and have kids,” she said.
read it here

That last part is something you need to pay attention to, because if you feel as if you are a burden now, suicide is something your family will never get over. 

If you do not want to be a burden...THEN STOP BEING ONE AND DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO BE BETTER FOR THEIR SAKE. You can heal and isn't it time you started to?

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Friday, July 19, 2019

Jason Kander understands PTSD is not as strong as he is with other veterans

He left politics to treat his PTSD. His new mission? Helping fellow vets

By Kathleen Toner
July 18, 2019

"I was afraid of the stigma. ... But it's just getting worse. So, after 11 years of trying to outrun depression and PTSD symptoms, I have finally concluded that it's faster than me. That I have to stop running, turn around, and confront it." Jason Kander
Jason Kander, former Missouri Secretary of State and U.S. Army veteran

New York (CNN)Last fall, Jason Kander was considered a rising star in the Democratic party.

The U.S. Army combat veteran had served as Missouri's Secretary of State, nearly beaten a Republican incumbent for a U.S. Senate seat in 2016 and was the front-runner in the race for Kansas City mayor. There was even talk of him running for president.

But Kander made headlines when he suddenly dropped out of the race to get treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. In a public letter to his supporters, he admitted it was a step he'd avoided for years.
The treatment helped Kander. So did hanging out at the group's outreach center. "(Before) I didn't make time to hang out with other veterans like maybe I should have because it's been very therapeutic to do that," Kander said. "There's a reason that past generations have been hanging out at VFW halls. There's a comfort in being around fellow combat vets."

Earlier this week, the organization announced that Kander will help lead the nonprofit's national expansion. The group hopes to open eight additional locations across the country by 2022. Kander calls the role his "new mission."

"I was really impressed by everything that VCP does and found it inspiring," Kander said. "Long term, we want to end veteran homelessness nationwide and make sure no veterans fall through the cracks."
read it here

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Tom Hanks encourages people to ‘Be There'

Tom Hanks encourages people to ‘Be There' and help prevent veteran suicide

Connecting Vets
By Ben Krimmel
JULY 15, 2019

Even the smallest action can make the world of a difference.

Actor Tom Hanks is joining the call to promote the "Be There for Veterans" public service announcement to raise awareness for the VA's #BeThere campaign to support veterans in need.

"Twenty veterans take their lives every day," Hanks says in the PSA. "Learn how to be there for a veteran at Honor the code! Be there! Leave no one behind."

The VA hopes their #BeThere campaign underscores how everyone can play a role in suicide prevention.

“This PSA underscores VA’s public health approach to preventing Veteran suicide, which encourages everyone to play a role in suicide prevention,” said Aaron Eagan, deputy director of operations and integration for suicide prevention in VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. “The ‘Be There’ campaign is focused on simple yet impactful ways we can all reach out to and engage Veterans.”
read it here

Where will you be when they need you?

That is the question I have been asking since I began my online work back in 93. I was known as Namguardianangel.

It seems like a lifetime ago, especially now that all the results seem so bad. 

There used to be good results because people with good intentions back it up with diligent work on research to know exactly how to help them. Now it is whatever will obtain the most popularity, even if that means they have to lie to gain it.

The lie is "suicide awareness" actually means something other than spreading misery instead of healing.

After all these years I am still asking "where are  you when they need you" because from what I have seen, most are just taking whatever they can get while veterans are still suffering.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Bravo Company battles to save their brothers after war

Military Unit, Ravaged by War, Regroups Back Home to Survive the Peace

The Wall Street Journal
By Ben Kesling
July 14, 2019
“Derek, Grant, Timmy—all those guys died at their own hands,” said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Musil, listing close friends from Bravo Company and other units he served in who had killed themselves. “All those men were warriors. If they can do it, what’s stopping me?”
Veterans at the reunion talk about their experiences since returning from deployment to Afghanistan. PHOTO: TRAVIS DOVE FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Suicides drive Bravo Company veterans to test whether reuniting will help overcome lingering effects of battle

Nearly a year ago, the combat-hardened paratroopers of Bravo Company realized things were getting too dangerous. They weren’t working as a team. Too many men were dying. Nobody seemed to know how to stop the bloodletting.

And that was a decade after they got home from war.

During an 11-month tour of Afghanistan’s notorious Arghandab Valley, three soldiers from Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment were killed in action and a dozen more lost at least one leg or arm. In the 10 years since they returned to the U.S., two B Company soldiers—isolated from their buddies, struggling with their demons—have killed themselves, more than a dozen have tried and others admit they have considered it.
“I didn’t think I deserved to get help,” Jason Horton confessed to the group over a microphone in a conference room. It’s hard to find help in a system as large as the VA, he said. He found it helpful to talk one-on-one with someone who experienced the same trauma he did. “It’s a big sea, and it’s hard to swim in that sea,” he said.
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You learned how to learn how to live! #BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Sunday, June 30, 2019

"The thing that brings us all together is love..." at Jarheads funeral

'Tough to Lose Your Brothers': Funerals Held for Marine Motorcycle Club Bikers

The Associated Press
By Michael Casey
29 Jun 2019
"The thing that brings us all together is love, love for my Dad." Matthew Ferazzi
Members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club and a police honor guard salute as the casket of Michael Ferazzi is loaded into a hearse outside St. Peter's Catholic Church in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Friday, June 28, 2019. Ferazzi, a motorcyclist and retired police officer, was killed in a fiery crash that claimed the lives of seven people riding with the Jarheads Motorcycle Club in New Hampshire. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) — A motorcyclist who was among seven killed in a collision with a pickup truck last week was a family man, proud Marine and dedicated public servant, mourners said Friday at a funeral that drew about 200 people, including leather-clad bikers and law enforcement officers.

The funeral for Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire, was held at a church in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The rumbling of motorcycles echoed through town as dozens of bikes made their way to the service.

Many riders were fellow members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, with which Ferazzi and the other six killed were riding when they died. They hugged one another as Ferazzi's flag-draped casket was carried into the church and offered a military salute alongside their bikes as the service ended with the Marine Corps hymn on bagpipes.

"Tough to lose your brothers, especially so many at one time," said Jarheads member Paul Downey as he and his fellow bikers got on their motorcycles for the ride to the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.

"He had a lot more life in him," said retired Lt. Col. Joe Murray. Ferazzi was in his American Legion post, he said, and the two marched in parades together.

"He didn't need to die when he was obviously enjoying the ride with his buddies," Murray said. "But it's good he died doing something he loved."
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