Thursday, May 26, 2011

Senators Tell VA to Reduce Veteran Suicides

Senators Tell VA to Reduce Veterans Suicides

The senators can tell the VA all they want and it won't bring about the results without enough funding, enough psychologists and psychiatrists, with enough time to treat those who need it. If you read this article and see that the VA suicide hotline received 14,000 calls in April, 450 a day! Any those are only the veterans willing to pick up a phone and make that call. Many others will never do that.

Adequate treatment facilities are costly and while the US taxpayers say they want good care for veterans (like a lot of other things they want), they don't want to pay more taxes to make it possible. Even with adequate treatment, some veterans will never seek it, and we have to stop fooling ourselves that suicidal depression is like having an earache - you just take an antibiotic and it's gone. Even prolonged and excellent treatment will not save every veteran that is contemplating suicide. We don't have the means to make them well and whole.

Prolonged and repeated deployments are wreaking havoc on soldiers lives and as a nation we just seem to see them as "heroes" doing their job and serving their nation, without seeing the destruction we are visiting on them in body and mind.

Leif's military service, including his time in Bosnia, was the beginning of his descent into depression and despair. It wasn't the only reason for his suicide, but it was a contributor, as it destroyed his health, his marriage, and his career, and all his efforts to rebuild his life came to naught. To our knowledge, he never sought help for his depression and, like so many, felt it could not change the circumstances of his life.

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