"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
- Benjamin Franklin
My old Vietnam Veterans of America pal, Gerald Ney, is an excellent poet. He sent us another poem to add to the sheaf of some of the most creative poetry illuminating the Nam experience ~ and a lot more. Check out his Poetry pages here and here:
Where now are chopper and rider?
Cartridge belt gold gleaming,
Sunshower spray glistening,
A circlet of rainbow
Below the blades sweeping;
Out over the wire leaping,
Like leaves before the tempest reeling,
The greening blades of the paddies mirroring,
Bathed in the tropic heat, yet
In their ruffled blue fields shivering;
With the winds of war forward,
And childhood past remembering,
Is gone, as fast as the wind furrows
In the green-blue carpet
At first burst banished by bullets and blood.
Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are 75% more likely to die in car accidents than the general population.
They're trained to drive aggressively when in Iraq and Afghanistan, but put themselves at risk when they get home
Historically, veterans have had increased fatalities following their service. Vietnam vets were twice as likely to die in crashes than non-veterans, and Gulf War veterans had a 30% to 50% greater risk of dying in crashes.
“It troubles me to tell you that once you get them home safely, they are coming home to risk of death and injury on our roadways,” said Ronald Medford, deputy administration for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in a speech last summer.
read the rest of the story here:
The problem with these stories is that they hide the link between traffic fatalities and suicide. Can they not imagine that Veterans choose to end the pain with a car rather than a gun? And they imply that the Veteran is choosing rishy driving as an adreniline fix; just for fun. They say the answer is "treatment" with drugs and therapy. I say we need to help each other the principles of Recovery first. See how here: a
On June 15, 2011 four out of six "spotlight videos" on Google News were taken from "Russia Today". Does it matter that Google is giving so much prominence to Russia Today? Here is one of them:
It's a story about 6.6 billion dollars, in cash, slated for Iraqi reconstruction. That money is unaccounted for. It just got lost... Somehow.
“Anger doesn’t solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything.” Douglass Wilder, first black governor of Virginia.
A tip of the hat to a Veteran who continues to serve Veterans, our friend Bart Davis at Utah Vet Help dot Com. This is a great site: check it out.
"Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon."
"This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense." Winston Churchill
Andrew's Two Cents Worth:
But don't hesitate to give in when honor and good sense call for it. We err. No harm in accepting that and moving forward.
Fellow Citizens, fellow Veterans;
I tell you with total conviction that the same tubulent state of affairs exists today, just as it back in Churchill in 1940. Wicked men, lusting for money and power are trying to destroy us by setting us at one anothers throats. It's not the Tea Party vs the Liberals. It's the super rich versus the poor.
Churchill's "never give in, never give in, never, never, never", advice was never truer. The only difference is that today, we must call on our Veterans to defend the Constitution from it's worst enemy; apathy.
What sets us apart from the civilian crowd is that we took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic. The biggest enemy of freedom and justice is apathy! You don't get released from that oath just because you are discharged from the service.
"Iran is an incredibly complicated country. There are a whole range of
different forces at play, and it is challenging to try to explain the
complexity of the different issues involved briefly. In the more than
years that I have been following Iran, I have learned that the right
to virtually every question one is asked on Iran is one of two phrases:
it's either "I don't know" or "It depends."
Did You Know: Continuing VetXPRS's long-standing effort to bring Veterans thought provoking, entertaining info, we have posted "Did You Know". This is one of the most challenging videos ever. Some call it 'shift happens.'Definitely worth the five minutes to watch it here.
One such event is what I call "Brain Flash". As you may know the atomic bomb that hit Nagasaki was so bright it left shadows on brick walls.
The same thing happens in the human brain. You flash enough stimulus in all at once, and you are going to get mind shadows that can stay with a Vet for decades, like shrapnel that has not worked its way out.
Our Veterans proudly served the Nation with honor, yet sadly, some soldiers are killed. That is war. People die, many are injured, then hospitalized for weeks and months, or more. That's just the way it is.
War is hell, but if you want to keep the next Hitler in check, someone has to do it for America.
Don't watch this video of instant BrainFlash if you mind hearing the 'F' bomb
Don't watch this video if you mind hearing the 'F' word
So America has a boatload of Veterans with Brain Flash. It is not a character defect. It is a brain injury. These hurt guys have a suicide rate two or more times the national rate. Throwing money at the problem in the VA and DoD is not helping. The suicide rate keeps climbing.
This brain injury can cause the Veteran to have a flash temper, have a hard time keeping jobs, to avoid crowds, and to be hyperalert. Vets with BrainFlash (PTSD) often have sleepless nights, they isolate themselves from others, they often use alcohol and dangerous drugs, they might threaten and hurt their family members, (without wanting to) to be highly agitated, and dangerously depressed, often at the same time. shapes how Veterans cope with daily stress. The more stressed out the Veteran is, the less brain power they have to make choices based on what the Vet actually wants.
When the brain gets instantly and totally stressed out, the brain flashed memories burn their way into our conciousness like an atomic bomb burning shadows into brick walls. They are never truly forgotten in spite of all we can do to bury them. A friend might mention a place or time and the memory vividly leaps out like it happened yesterday. Sometime those memories, including surpressed memories, can trigger intense physical reactions in the body that can seem extreme for the situations. Bad memories can leap out in a way that is frightening for everyone around. Usually nobody is more scared than the Vet.
The VA says "Once the event is implanted in the memory, it can continue to torment the individual, even after treatment or counseling." But I insist that it does not have to. You can do much more than learn a bunch of stress reduction techniques. You can actually reprogram your own brain, just like Pavlov trained his beagles to drool.
The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. He is "not yet dry behind the ears." He's not old enough to buy a beer. But he IS old enough to die for his country.
He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's; but he has never collected unemployment either. More:
Looking For Work?
If you are looking for work, tell the man "Hiring military veterans as they re-enter the workforce can reduce payroll expenses through the work opportunity credit, which reduces tax liabilities by as much as $2,400 of the first-year salary paid to a veteran. The amount rises to $4,800 if the new employee is a disabled veteran. There is no limit to the number of veterans an employer can hire. Use Form 5884 to claim these credits." Every little bit helps.
Introducing Scott Lee,
the latest contributor to UtVet. Check out his blog here and his essay here.
"I am a Army veteran of the first Gulf War, I was a driver of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. My unit fought the Iraqi Republican Guard in three campaigns and my vehicle was point for the brigade. I drove for 172 hours straight, engaged in 100 hours of sustained combat and witnessed literally thousands of enemy combatants die in that short span of time.
Since being honorably discharged from the service of my country I have struggled with PTSD, depression, substance use disorder, homelessness, social and health issues. It took me 7 tries and 15 years to go through the VA bureaucracy to get the help that I needed. Nothing has been given to me that I have not fought for with my life, either in the Gulf War or with the VA. I gave freely of my time and service, the same was not done for me."
PERMANENT AND TOTAL? NOTHING IN THE VA IS PERMANENT AND TOTAL!
Veterans' Advocate Jim Strickland explains.
Nothing in VA is Permanent and Total. Two plus two does not equal four. To be awarded a disability compensation rating by VBA is the beginning, not the end. Once you have that award letter, it's up to you to be in a state of constant readiness to defend it. As the man said long ago; "It ain't over until the fat lady sings". When we are speaking of our dealings with VBA, we'll never hear that song. It ain't over until long after they issue that final brass marker noting the end of our journey...
How would VBA determine that your rating may be lowered? By ordering you to undergo a reexamination; §3.327 Reexaminations. (a) General. "Reexaminations, including periods of hospital observation, will be requested whenever VA determines there is a need to verify either the continued existence or the current severity of a disability. Generally, reexaminations will be required if it is likely that a disability has improved, or if evidence indicates there has been a material change in a disability or that the current rating may be incorrect."
New Army program hints of great strides in early onset ptsd recovery.
Soldiers who want to Soldier On have an alternative to Medical Discharge.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey: Replicate Fort Bliss PTSD Program
Army News Service|by Virginia Reza
FORT BLISS, Texas - Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey visited Fort Bliss July 13 and said that an innovative program there to treat post-traumatic stress disorders ought to be replicated at other locations across the Army.
The "Restoration and Resilience Center" at Fort Bliss is a specialized treatment facility for Soldiers with PTSD who want to remain in the Army. The center is run by Dr. John Fortunato, a Benedictine monk, Vietnam veteran and clinical psychologist.
Fortunato's first instinct was to design a place where Soldiers could go and feel comfortable. He did not want them isolated in their rooms because soldiers diagnosed with PTSD are easily over-stimulated and don't want to be around anybody.
"Only - we can't leave them there," he said. "So I had to sort of seduce them out of their rooms."
So Fortunato decided the center would have to look like a lodge at a ski resort. The entrance to the facility is equipped with oversized leather, mission-style chairs, wood floors and the sound of trickling water from a cascading fountain that sits in the lobby has a calming effect. At the end of a hallway, is an Asian-looking room with background therapeutic sounds, called the meditation room.
"This room has a purpose," Fortunato said. "You can sense the music playing, which is based on breathing, and if you spend three minutes in this room with the door shut, without anyone talking you, you will find that your mental state has changed."
It seems to me this approach has much to offer
the treatment of Veterans' PTSD as well. More to come.
Do I Need To Be Tested For Hepatitis C?
This article has been up for some time. It stays because it is so important to vets. Have you read it? aw
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a disease that affects the liver.It is caused by a virus called the hepatitis C virus, or HCV for short.
According to published studies, almost 4 million people in the United States have hepatitis C. Veterans using VA facilities have higher rates of hepatitis C than the general population. Way.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis C?
Most people with hepatitis C don't have any symptoms. You feel fine, then you die.
Some people have mild symptoms soon after being infected.
Hep C is a serious illness. It may never go away. Over time it can cause cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver and liver cancer.
Symptoms of Hep C can include the following:
jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
fatigue (being tired)
abdominal (stomach) pain
loss of appetite
Usually, these symptoms go away without any treatment.
Who should get tested?
Talk with your VA doctor about being tested if any of the following are true for you.
are a Vietnam Veteran!!!
Wish to be tested.
Have ever used a needle to inject drugs, even if just once and it was a long time ago
Had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1991
Are a health care worker who had contact with blood on the job
Are or have been on long-term kidney dialysis
If your mother had hepatitis C when you were born
Had exposure to blood on the skin
Have tattoos or body piercings
Have ever snorted cocaine
Have liver disease
Have a history of drinking a lot of alcohol
Have had an abnormal liver function test
Have had multiple sex partners
It's OK to get tested if you just want to know your status.
If you feel uncomfortable telling your VA health care provider about your sexual or drug-use history, just tell someone in the VA that you are concerned and want to get tested.
How can I protect myself?
Right now, there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. But there are things you can do to protect yourself from infection. The most important thing is to avoid other people's blood or things that might have other people's blood on them.
Here are some suggestions:
Do not shoot drugs. If you shoot drugs, stop and ask your doctor about a treatment program. While you wait for enrollment in a treatment program, do not share or reuse needles or other equipment, and get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.
Don't share personal items that might have blood on them. These items include razors, toothbrushes, and personal health supplies.
Consider the risks if you are thinking about getting a tattoo or body piercing. You might get infected if the tools have someone else's blood on them, or if the artist or piercer does not follow good health practices, such as washing hands and using disposable gloves.
Use a latex condom every time you have sex. Hepatitis C can occasionally be spread by sex. Talk with your sex partner about hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Get vaccinated against hep B.
If you are a health care worker, follow standard precautions. Handle needles and other sharps safely.
These suggestions also may help protect you from other diseases, such as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and HBV (hepatitis B virus).
This radical declaration should be required reading for veterans who have taken an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution. Unfortunately, many of us Americans don't have a clue... Too bad.
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
We have located a source for the 73 Basics of Democracy documents formerly published by the United States Information Agency and will soon have them available to read or download at UtVet.com. Check back.
Become more patriotic. Invest your time to understand the ideals of our Founding Fathers and understand your responsibility to the Republic. You will be glad you did.
"A 70% disabled vet, Don served as an officer in four Special Forces (Green Beret) Groups, including a 1968-1969 tour on an A-team at Dak Pek, in the northwest corner of II Corps, Vietnam. He was also a District Coordinator for the top-secret Phoenix Program"... Veterans Radio.
Direct from the Resilient Social Network Have you been paying attention? A pop quiz. I only wish I had written this anonymous email. aw
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.
How did you do?
The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are
no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the
applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and
certificates are buried with their owners.
Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.
The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the
most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones
The point is that that we can choose to be be that hero in an another persons life. We can choose to be the person who cares. We can choose to make a difference. We can choose to have the courage to be a catalyst. aw
Here is a nifty list of resources we harvested from the University of Utah Veteran Support Center. We want to thank them for sharing their information. Visit their excellent page here:
AW here: I recently received an email from my new pal, Dominic Silva-Martin. Below is an excerpt from that email. I have just been introduced to LearnHowToBecome.org. It's a professional site. It appears to be a Fantastic Resource for anyone who seeks to keep growing. Ossum. I urge everyone to explore the site and get back to us with your feed back. It could be insanely great... or not.
Learn How to Become: Veterans Guide to Getting Hired - This guide is intended to help existing and future veterans find jobs and start new careers. They can read about finding a job, opportunities and challenges within the workplace, how businesses benefit from hiring veterans, and how vocational rehabilitation prepares veterans to find work. As military personnel return from active duty and the armed forces continue to shrink, the number of veterans entering the civilian workforce rises. With the U.S. economy also improving, more and more companies are hiring employees – good news for veterans looking for jobs.
I went to the How to become site to test it out. Just for fun, I responded to the page that instructs how to become a professional actor. It was cool how it said "Perhaps no other profession presents a less straightforward path to success than acting, and anyone pursuing that path needs to answer several questions along the way, including:... " I followed the algorhythms and ended up referred to the Sociology Degree program at Ashford online University in San Diego. Here is the street view.
August 21 I received an email from K.L. McFadden who had just published a book of stories about Forgotten Veterans with pts and tbi. She wrote:
I am hoping you will be able to advertise my book on your website. its called Our Forgotten Soldiers. The book is about Vietnam Veterans before their time in the military, their time in combat, how they got their PTSD and how they are dealing with it now.
Its heartbreaking, its raw and told in the soldiers own words. I am hoping to donate a percentage of all book sales to a veterans organization to be chosen by the veterans in the book.
I have a website it is www.klmcfadden.com
When I came across your website, I noticed it was a Utah based website. I also live in Utah and I am in the process of writing a book called the forgotten soldiers. It is about veterans with PTSD and their struggles with PTSD from their time in combat until now and how it has also affected their families.
I am interested in any Vietnam Veterans who would like their stories told.
Could you please check out the website and if you like what you see would you be able to put it onto your website.
I can be reached at this email address.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message.
I can be reached at this email address email@example.com Thank you so much for taking the time to read this message.
Here is an excerpt from her web page:
Living with a Vietnam veteran who is suffering from PTSD is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. We, as the women of these veterans, go through so many emotions. Not knowing how to handle things or who to turn to, is so hard at times.
I adore my veteran, and to see him go through this hell is so heart breaking. Even though I know there is nothing I can do to ease his suffering, I try to be there. While I can have empathy, I will never know the hell he is going through.
I always thought the older a veteran gets, the less the PTSD would bother them, but this was the wrong assumption. This condition is getting worse, and I keep wondering if he had been treated when he first came home from Vietnam, would he be much better now? I guess this question will never be answered; we can’t turn back time and have him do it all over again.
The Provo Veterans Council asked me to represent Vietnam veterans in the last Memorial Day service. The Council honors me for my service. And I am deeply honored, and humbled. Thank you.
But it's not about me. It's about the three and a half million Americans who cycled through South East Asia from the beginning, in 1954, to the end in 1975. This includes all the National Guard members, like Staff Sergeant Gary Herbert, the all the Reservists, and all the 58,300 whose names are on the Wall, and the 22 veterans a day who have been killing themselves since the sixties.
We call this the 50th anniversary because it was in 1965 that the Congress passed the War Powers Act, which allowed President Johnson to send in Marine ground forces for the first time. Before that it was all "advisors."
Please stand Veterans. Today is for you! Let's have a cheer for these guys.
I recognize that only about 3 out of 10 of you was even born back during Vietnam. Seven out of ten, not born yet. If Vietnam is just an entry in a dusty book to you Here is a fresh idea for your consideration:
"The United States of America won the Great Patriotic IndoChina War."
The proof is self evident!
Why was America in Vietnam in the first place? Going back to the 20s, 30s, and 40s the Soviet Union claimed that it was inevitable that communism would conquer the world with revolutionary wars. In the 50s they tried to take over Korea. In the 60s, the soviet boss, Nikita Khrushchev banged his shoe on the podium at the United Nations shouting "We will bury you! We will bury you!"
America responded to this threat with the “Containment Policy” implemented with a massive military presence in Europe and Asia. We committed to keep the communists in their place at any expense. Vietnam was a battlefield, not the enemy.
The Soviet Union was the enemy. They proved it by taking over country after country like Hungary, Romania, Poland, and Czechoslovakia and locking them behind what Winston Churchill called an "Iron Curtain.”
Fifty years later, the Soviet Union, our main enemy in Indochina; is no more. Democracy and the free enterprise system have overwhelmed communism like a tidal wave. Containment has been a huge success.
I admit Saigon fell in 1975, like a queen sacrificed to win a strategic chess game. But are Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, or Malaysia communist? No. Are Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Brunei, or Austrailia communist? No. We won.
In fact, there are only five communist countries left.
2. North Korea
5. Republic of Cuba.
And how communist is Vietnam? They have abandoned their collective farms approach and now lease ag-land to farmers for 50 years. And my friends who regularly visit Vietnam say everyone is an entrepreneur. They all have little businesses. Even the orphanages have businesses like bakeries or shoe making. This is free enterprise; winning!
Oh yes friends! The United States of America won the Great Patriotic IndoChina War. America's military campaign even convinced Zhou Enlai, premier of China, that the Chinese people would be much better off with a free market economy predicated on giving up the Communist “wars of liberation” in South East Asia.
It's too simple. We won. Back then. But the battle for liberty and freedom go on! FDR said “In the truest sense, freedom can not be bestowed. It must be achieved.”
Consider these words:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,...
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object (ever more power and wealth) evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Finally, since America won the Great Patriotic War what does that make Vietnam Veterans? Are we all defective, dangerous wimps, cry babies, or losers? Sometimes that is how we feel. We are survivors! What are we? We are winners whose service and sacrifice deserve your respect and friendship. You can show it by wearing a silicone TMAYD wristband. Follow your hunches about who to speak to. Just say "Tell me about your day." And then listen.
*CBT Andrew participates in Cognitive Behavior Therapy to help with post traumatic stress.
Memorial Day, when we stop to remember and thank our veterans, seems like a good time to look ahead to what we can do to prevent veteran suicides.
Veterans don’t suddenly erupt in crisis. There’s a sequence of events that leads to the kind of despair that drives the decision to end life. We’ve learned from our Lifeline for Vets that alienation and depression are factors, preceded frequently by increased emotional instability and volatility. Add physical and/or psychological injury that give rise to hyperawareness and sleep problems and you have a scenario for disaster. Are you getting the hang of this?
Before that there’s the transition to civilian life and its problems of employment and relationships, and before that it’s combat duty and the military.
Picture a descending staircase:
A vet starts at the top, in his or her military career that might include combat and some kind of injury.
Here is a great article posted by our friend Professor Gerald Ney of the Vietnam Veterans of America. Thanks Gerry.
Defining what precisely is meant by grand strategy and how al Qaeda, in particular, views grand strategy is vital for our national security. In fact, grand strategy is intertwined with every policy debate over al Qaeda that is currently ongoing in Washington, D.C.
The questions of what is al Qaeda, and who is al Qaeda have been debated since 2001. More recently, questions have arisen about affiliates and what is their relationship with al Qaeda. Is there any command and control between al Qaeda and its affiliates? What is the proper way to deal with these groups? And can we actually win against them? This talk will seek to add to this debate by offering answers to the questions of what al Qaeda is and what the group hopes to achieve.
Recovery from a mental health issue is a process that involves developing
You may benefit from having a professional help guide you on your recovery. But the essence of Recovery is You being responsible for You making choices based on what You want.
We know that people can physically rewire and reprogram their brains. But only if they practice new skills, the way that stroke sufferers work to regain lost functions. Mental health self help tools, like mindfullness, or, what I call "Active Conditioning," are within your reach.
Veterans are far more likely to die of suicide and in accidents — a trend largely unstudied until recently.
By Alan Zarembo
Photography by Rick Loomis
December 17, 2013
Mark Tyree was chasing death.
The 25-year-old Marine veteran drank heavily and drove fast — often at the same time. Tyree had walked away from two serious accidents that demolished his cars.
On a foggy November morning in 2011, he slammed his pickup truck into a power pole, became tangled in a power line and was electrocuted.
"He was so reckless at times," said his father, Mark Sr. "He had no fear whatsoever."
Tyree belonged to a generation of young veterans whose return to civilian life has been marked by an unusually high death rate, primarily boosted by accidents and suicides.
Women and Men with Military Sexual Trauma Fight PTSD Claim Process
A study conducted by the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) and the American Civil Liberties Union was made public November 5. The study has found that members of the U.S. armed services who sought benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder due to sexual trauma have a tougher time getting their claims approved than those troops filing PTSD claims for other reasons.
The approval rate for PTSD claims linked to sexual trauma during the fiscal year 2012 stood at 56.8 percent, whether that trauma was the result of a rape, assault or harassment. By comparison, 73.3 percent of PTSD claims not linked to sexual trauma were approved the same year. Read the rest here:
Friends and readers,
I try to fact check articles before I repost them. I received the following story from a source I've known a long time. I tried to google the headline. All I came up with was hundreds of indie sites who had republished the original from Vice.com, a very slick, commercial web site. http://www.vice.com/kids-telling-dirty-jokes/gigi I tried Snopes. No mention. No mention I could find in press or broadcast. I don't know if the following story is true or not. It seems plausible, lacking evidence to the contrary. What do you think? aw
VETERANS ARE BEING THREATENED AND SILENCED BY THE US AND UK MILITARIES
After this month's Remembrance Day parade, I repaired to a central London boozer with fellow veterans to stew my brain in ale. Pinned to chests all around me were glinting banks of medals. A statistically improbable number of airborne maroon and commando green berets were on display. Groups of veterans bunched together, slurring war stories.
The soldierly clique is cultural. While trained to be aggressive we are also taught to be quiet, keeping dark deeds and informed opinions “in-house.” If spoken aloud to outsiders, our stories would make us appear—and for some, leaving the heroic fantasy intact allows one to continue living at the center of it. To break that tribal silence carries risks.
21.5 million The number of military veterans in the United States in 2011. 1.6 million The number of female veterans in 2011. 2.3 million The number of black veterans in 2011. Additionally, 1.2 million veterans were Hispanic; 264,695 were Asian; 153,223 were American Indian or Alaska Native; 27,469 were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 17.2 million were non-Hispanic white. (The numbers for blacks, Asians, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and
Other Pacific Islanders, and non-Hispanic whites cover only those reporting a single race.)
Source: 2011 American Community Survey
Twenty Two Veterans are Commiting Suicide Each Day
(not 18 as previously reported)
The most extensive study yet by the U.S. government on suicide among military veterans shows more veterans are killing themselves than previously thought, with 22 deaths a day - or one every 65 minutes, on average.
More than 69 percent of veteran suicides were among individuals aged 50 years or older, the VA reported.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
The study released on Friday by the Department of Veterans Affairs covered suicides from 1999 to 2010 and compared with a previous, less precise VA estimate that there were roughly 18 veteran deaths a day in the United States.
"This data provides a fuller, more accurate, and sadly, an even more alarming picture of veteran suicide rates," said Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington state, who has championed legislation to strengthen mental health care for veterans.
The news came two weeks after the U.S. military acknowledged that suicides hit a record in 2012, outpacing combat deaths, with 349 active-duty suicides - almost one a day.
That was despite sharper focus at the leadership level at the Pentagon and VA on the suicide problem, and came during an overall rise in suicides in the United States. The number of suicides in the United States rose 11 percent from 2007 to 2010, the VA said.
The VA did not provide raw data and acknowledged its national figures were still estimates. The new study was based on data collected from 21 states in which military status is reported on the death certificate. It said more data from more states were being processed.
Reuters last year obtained less-detailed data for the 2005-to-2010 period from 32 states, also showing a significant rise in the number of suicides among the country's 23 million veterans.
The VA said that while the number of veteran suicides had risen, the percentage of all suicides in America identified as "veteran" declined from 1999 to 2003 and had remained relatively constant in recent years.
The VA said the data would help it better identify where at-risk veterans may be located and improve targeting of specific suicide intervention and outreach activities.
"We have more work to do and we will use this data to continue to strengthen our suicide prevention efforts," Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said in a statement.
Why do Veterans constitute one out of five US suicides?
Active duty suicides now 50% higher than combat deaths!
Suicide is undeniably a function of psychiatric illness, with well over 90 percent of those taking their lives suffering from a diagnosable mental illness at the time of death. There is little argument among experts that increasing numbers of military personnel, both those with and without combat exposure, are struggling with psychiatric symptoms. The role of deployment and multiple deployments is a bit more complex, particularly given that a considerable number of those dying by suicide have never been deployed. The numbers vary across service branches, but over the last two years, estimates for the Army hover around 25 percent to 30 percent of those dying by suicide have had no deployment history.
Psychological injuries in combat are just as unavoidable as medical casualties.
Regardless of whether a soldier is deployed, the operational tempo of the military during wartime is fast paced and pressure-filled. Soldiers in garrison are in constant preparation for war, meaning more time in the field and less time with family and loved ones. For those that return from combat, it means that when they are home, they’re not entirely at home, as the demands of preparing for the next deployment are considerable. The net result is enormous strain on the system and the individuals who make up that system, including family members and civilian employees. Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen these high levels of stress manifest in progressively higher rates of major depression, post-traumatic stress symptoms and substance abuse, all clearly implicated in the escalating suicide rates regardless of deployment status.
For those with multiple deployments and repeated combat exposure, it is becoming increasingly clear that 10 years of war (with an unprecedented number of soldiers seeing combat two, three and four times) dramatically increases the likelihood of psychological injury. I recently spoke to a Special Forces soldier who has been in Afghanistan nine times over the past 10 years. Regardless of one’s inner strength and resilience, that amount of combat exposure over such a long duration makes post-trauma symptoms almost a certainty.
The Department of Defense has a done a remarkable and admirable job of increasing access to mental health care and combating stigma, work that will change the field significantly for decades to come. Regardless, though, the warrior culture does not embrace psychological injury, with large percentages of those suffering opting not to pursue care. The net result is an increase in personal suffering, high divorce rates, escalating numbers of service members dying by suicide, and families left to grieve tragic and unnecessary losses.
All of us need to recognize and understand that even with the best trained and most effective fighting force in the history of the world, psychological injuries in combat are just as unavoidable as medical casualties. We need to fight stigma, continue to improve access to care, and help those struggling recognize that the answer is reaching out for help.
From Frank Maughn, Chairman, Governor Herbert's Veterans Advisory Council:
Please be aware of a potential scam targeting veterans who have either signed up or have been approved for VRAP!!
A veteran approached me this morning stating he received a call on Saturday from a "James" who congratulated him on his VRAP approval. He advised him and knew the exact amount he was approved for and that the $8500 would be directly deposited into his account within 45 minutes of him giving his banking account number and routing number to a "Kelly Watson" at 1-202-558- 4595 and paying $205 for the service fee. I called this number and it is a standard answering machine.
Unfortunately the veteran did provide this sensitive information to them. He thought about it later and contacted his bank and closed his account before any monies were withdrawn. I spoke to another staff person who said a veteran she helped complete the application informed her about a similar call he received. Please advise your veterans not to provide banking account information over the phone to anyone.
If you are not familiar with VRAP(Veterans Retraining Assistance Program), it is money provided to veterans monthly for retraining. Veterans receive a $1473 a month stipend to attend a training school or community college. As of today 38,286 unemployed veterans have signed up for this much needed program and we need to make them aware of this type of fraud!!
Military veterans say pot eases PTSD
By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez - The Arizona Republic
Posted : Sunday Jul 8, 2012 16:19:12 EDT
PHOENIX, Ariz. — Emanuel Herrera returned from war addicted to painkillers and barely able to tolerate his children’s voices.
The former staff sergeant had enlisted in the Arizona National Guard after 9/11, wanting to help his country. In 2006, while providing security for a convoy near Camp Anaconda in Iraq, his truck hit an improvised bomb. The blast turned the night into day, nearly destroyed his neck, damaged the discs in his back and left him with brain injuries and post-traumatic stress.
Last year, despite warnings from medical staff at the local veterans hospital, he began to smoke pot legally under the state’s new medical-marijuana program to cope with the physical and mental pains of combat. Read the rest of the story here:
Doctor Laurie at A Helping Hoof just forwarded an email containing a link to
The short film was done by SSG Kyle Hausmann-Stokes, an Airborne Infantryman who was in Iraq from 2007-2008, and then went to the USC film school. This is one of his first films (maybe even the first), was completed in 2009 and is his autobiographical piece about his own post traumatic stress struggles while in school. Kyle went on to graduate with honors and now runs Blue Three Productions.
Ed note: It seems as if Kyle crammed as many awful scenes of death and destruction as humanly possible into his film. Hollywood! But I love the way Recovery is portrayed. Like Senator John Valentine says, "It's not therapy. It's friendship". Dr. Laurie says watching the movie can trigger a ptsd event. Does that trigger irresistable curiosity? See the movie here:
The Center for a New American Security conducted interviews with 87 individuals from 69 companies to find out why, from an employer perspective. Keep these factors in your hip pocket while you search for jobs!
Lisa Nagorny and Dan Pick are student Veterans at Wharton’s MBA for Executives program. As part of a school project, they created a blog, Switch, to help Vets transition more smoothly and find jobs. The blog has posts about transition considerations and critical resources.
1. Skills Translation: Unless you are applying for a defense contracting job, you have to translate your military skills into civilian terms. Civilians don’t understand your acronyms, positions, and military terminology, and they aren’t going to take the time to learn. Seek out someone from the desired industry and have them review your resume. Or, use one job skills translator listed on our Resource page. Many companies use software to screen the applicant pool. If the software finds words that don’t align with the industry (eg. Military terms), your resume will get kicked out. Bottom line is that if your resume does not contain the appropriate jargon key words, you most likely won’t make it through the screening process!
2. Negative Stereotypes: Some employers believe that Veterans can be too “rigid” or formal. Overcome these stereotypes by preparing for your interview. Have a civilian play the role of the employer, asking you questions about your background, experience, and qualifications. Consider recording the interaction on your smart phone or video camera, and the interviewer can debrief you on how you came across. Other stereotypes include problems with anger management or post-traumatic stress. If you are faced with these challenges, help is available at VA facilities and Vet Centers. You can also reach out to Give an Hour or other related organizations. It may take some help to get back on your feet, but don’t let that stop you from furthering your career.
3. Skill Mismatch: The military helped transform you into a great leader with excellent work ethic. But some employers are looking for specific skills. If you don’t have these skills, you may be out of luck. Look for creative ways to build new skills relevant to your target industry. First, check out job listings in that industry to identify the skills employers are looking for, or ask someone you know in that industry. Hone in on the skills that you can build in the near term. For example, take a community college class and approach the professor about doing a side project or independent study in which you can demonstrate the application of the skills you are learning. Look for volunteer opportunities in which you can demonstrate those skills. You may be able to help out in the business office of your church or local community. Or, you may be able to run the fundraising or marketing efforts for a local charity event. Temp agencies are another consideration; sometimes starting in a temp position may help build relevant skills and lead to permanent employment.
4. Concern about Future Deployments: Guardsmen and Reservists face this challenge, especially if they are seeking employment with small businesses. Be familiar with the laws protecting reservists and be honest about your continuing military commitment. Recently, I became aware of a situation in which a reservist potentially misled a company to secure a job a couple weeks before deploying with his unit. The employer did not know this at the time. Actions such as this not only tarnish the reputation of the reservist, but also make it difficult for other vets trying to secure a job. Be candid and up front!
5. Acclimation: Employers are concerned that Veterans don’t completely fit into corporate culture. Following the interview prep suggestions in #2 can help you practice coming across in a less military, more corporate way. Finding out about the corporate environment is also helpful. What terms are used? How do people dress (business or business casual)? How formal is the culture? Connect with someone in that industry, or better yet the company you are applying to, to find out about the cultural environment and norms.
A tip of the hat to Mark Hutchison from the Salt Lake City VA Mental Health Advisory Council for this info from the VA. Salute!
Healing Starts With Knowing the Facts
Car wrecks are the largest cause of traumatic stress injuries in America. Sexual trauma is not far behind. aw
Let's help each other. It's time for EVERYBODY to heal.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), giving VA a great opportunity to share information about the impact of sexual trauma and the services VA has available for Veterans who experienced military sexual trauma (MST).
The Utah House voted unanimously. The Senate voted unanimously. And on April 4th, with less than 48 hours notice, and with zero fanfare, Governor Herbert signed the legislation, saying, "We can never do enough for Veterans, who have sacrificed so much in the cause of freedom."
I agree! Call your favorite TV station. Ask for the news director. Ask them to direct the personalities that read the news to refer to the highway by its correct name:
Veterans Memorial Highway.
The legislature and governor unanimously supported this legislation for a reason. They were demonstrating to their constituents that Utah honors Veterans. Doesn't it seem just a little disrespectful for a news reader to dilute this heartfelt tribute to Veterans contributions by calling the Highway "I - 15"?
This is Glen Barris, one of the program facilitators. Glen, who is a Vietnam Veteran, has a great way with horses and a deep understanding of the way of the Great Spirit. Get to know him.
This is a great video from City Weekly about Dr Laurie and equine assisted therapy... another facet in the jewel of Recovery.
Are Secret "Separation Program Numbers" Wrecking Your VA Claim or Your Ability to Get a Job?
on practically every veteran's DD-214 discharge papers are secret code
letters and numbers called Separation Program Numbers (SPN numbers) that
might make obtaining veterans benefits difficult if not impossible.
Here are these secret numeric codes that may make a difference in your
Brasscheck writes; "The cost in human terms is staggering. These drugs now kill an estimated 42,000 people every year.
And the death count keeps rising. Containing more than 175 interviews with lawyers, mental health experts, the families of victims and the survivors themselves, this riveting documentary rips the mask off psychotropic drugging and exposes a brutal but well-entrenched money-making machine.
"Veterans helping veterans is such a great tool because YOU have been there!" "YOU do understand. YOU can speak the same language, and if you've confronted those demons and come out the other side, it gives them hope that they can do the same. And that's really the key to defeating suicide and things of that nature is having hope that it will be better."
You can help make things better for yourself and your fellow Veterans. I'm not saying that one day a Veteran wakes up Cured of PTSD. Just like a brain injured by stroke, a brain altered by PTSD never returns to Normal. You are never cured. You can share your knowledge that Veterans can make gradual progress toward a time when stress injury symptoms become "Undiagnosable." The Recovery system we teach takes time and effort. It works like a charm. Like an alcoholic staying sober by helping another alcoholic stay sober, teaching Recovery helps us to experience recovery.
We are not advocating that we practice therapy on each other. This is not therapy; it's friendship. Still, it does not take a college degree to learn a little something about Cognitive Behavior Therapy. It's in the name. Cognitive is all about thinking. If you make choices in the sincere belief that two plus two is five... you can save yourself a lot of grief by learning to think two plus two equals four. That's the way it is for everything. In Active Conditioning what we are doing is learning some more correct principles. As we get those principles self-conditioned into our own brains, our beliefs automatically changes our behavior.
Just about anyone can easily learn to teach their fellow Veterans how condition to their own minds. The best way to learn something is to teach it. We can help people to actually, physiologically rewire the brain to bypass self defeating behavior in ourselves and others. The mental habits we choose to form can accelerate the growth of new neural pathways that bypass the broken part of the brain. The new neural structures are visible with a microscope. Recovery can be a real, physical process.
This matters so much because Veterans need to learn that we no longer have to rely on massive, industrial strength coping skills to deal with post traumatic stress. We can reach a point where we recognize the stressor, but we don't mind. The stress becomes a distraction, not a way of life.The Veterans brain can reach a state where the injury related symptoms become undiagnosable. You can share your hope for the future.
You can learn Active Conditioning. You can teach Active Conditioning.
Breathe in Peace.
Breathe out Stress. When you have exhaled fully;
Relax the body. Flex your neck, roll your shoulders.
Focus your attention for just a moment on what it is you actually WANT at the moment.
Yes, It really is that simple.
Every time you perform the Active Conditioning ritual, you are creating wispy, filmy, flimsy, new neural pathways. Like cobwebs forming together to make a dust bunny, these fresh neural fibers can knit together that create the neural network equivalent of a super highway... that lead to self mastery and self direction. Imagine how, after a millions of repetitions of Active Conditioning, your thoughts automatically go where you want them to go, without getting bogged down in the short circuited, traumatized part of the brain. Like drops of rain on your windshield, following the path of least resistance to the ground, so will your thoughts follow the well developed path of least resistance you have earned for yourself with practice and desire. This is true! aw.
Reduced state and federal budgets for health care services and support mean individuals are losing access to services.
2015 will continue to be a difficult time for many returning military service members who are coming home to economic uncertainty and the challenges of depression, PTS and other mental illnesses. They need your support now more than ever.
Courage becomes a worthwhile and meaningful virtue when it is regarded not so much as a willingness to die manfully but as a determination to live decently.
As we begin this new year I feel to share this essay with you. Tommy Monson, the man who wrote the essay, is a wise old man. We try not to hold what he does for a living against him, (That's a joke, son.) but to learn something that can make a positive difference. aw
President Monson: "At the advent of a new year, I challenge [Veterans] everywhere to undertake a personal, diligent, significant quest for what I call the abundant life—a life filled with an abundance of success, goodness, and blessings. Just as we learned the ABCs in school, I offer my own ABCs to help us all gain the abundant life.
Southern Utah Veterans Aid has launched a new website for Veterans
I spoke to Pat Lisi on the phone for quite a while. He seems a treasure for Southern Utah Veterans. He knows a LOT of resources. Give him a call or visit the new website.
Here's from an email just received from our Veterans friend, Paul Sweeney in Moab...
Veterans in the Moab area no longer have to drive to Salt Lake City
in order to meet face-to-face with a Veterans Benefits Administration representative when they need assistance with a service connected disability claim.
“Using our existing TeleHealth System in the Moab clinic, the VA was able to connect to a teleconferencing unit in the Salt Lake City Regional Veterans Benefits Office,” said Paul Sweeney, public affairs officer for the Grand Junction VA Medical Center.
“Now a Veteran who needs to file a claim or has a benefits question that can’t be resolved over the VBA’s toll free phone line can schedule a TeleBenefits meeting through the Moab TeleHealth Clinic’s staff.
“The meeting is held over a high-definition, encrypted line, so the Veteran is assured of their privacy, and the images are sharp enough that the Veteran can hold his paperwork up to the camera for the benefits representative to review before the Veteran submits it.”
Veterans do not have to be enrolled with the VA for health care or even live in the Moab clinic’s area of responsibility to use the TeleBenefits program.
If a Veteran needs help talking to the Salt Lake City VBA office, the clinic’s staff will schedule an appointment for them regardless of where they live, he added.
“When you consider it’s an 800 mile round trip from Bluff, Utah to Salt Lake City, the 200 mile round trip from Bluff to Moab is more than reasonable.” Sweeney said.
Veterans, or their survivors who would like to schedule a TeleBenefits appointment can call the clinic located at 267 North Main Street, Suite C, Moab UT, Tuesday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. The clinic is closed on Mondays and Fridays.
The clinic’s phone number is (435) 719-4144
“The Chance for Peace”
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.
This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.… Is there no other way the world may live?
Dwight David Eisenhower, “The Chance for Peace,” speech given to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Apr. 16, 1953.
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Is entitlement reform the way to fix the growing national debt? One new analysis says "nope."
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says, if we don't change current economic policy at all, the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will account for more than half of the national debt by 2019.
For Everyone Who Feels The Rich Deserve More Tax Breaks:
Please notice that these figures come from the Congressional Budget Office. We are not making this stuff up.
The Veteran suicide rate is at the same epidemic proportions it has been for the last five years. Or worse.
There's a serious lack of national awareness or concern.
With veterans now accounting for one of every five suicides in the nation, the Department of Veterans Affairs is under pressure from the courts and Congress to fix its mental health services in an attempt to curb the death toll.
By ROB HOTAKAINEN
While the government keeps no official tally of veteran suicides, the VA said last year that veterans account for roughly 20 percent of the estimated 30,000 suicides annually in the United States.
One attack on the VA came from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which ordered a major overhaul of the agency. The court said that with an average of 18 veterans killing themselves each day, "the VA's unchecked incompetence has gone on long enough; no more veterans should be compelled to agonize or perish while the government fails to perform its obligations."
Suicides among active-duty troops are also a cause of concern: In April, 25 soldiers killed themselves, equal to about half the deaths in Afghanistan during the month. Read the rest of the story at the Miami Herald. You can read a New York Times editorial "Victory for Veterans" reprinted by the Deseret News here.
Vietnam Veterans: Still a lot of Healing to Do After all these decades, Nam Vets still grieve. There is still time to honor these men. Bring them home.
The whole family is often wounded after a family member is exposed to something really horrible; beyond imagining. Often the result is broken families and disposable relationships. This is a tragedy; multiplied by the fact that relationships can become repairable. All the family members can get well!
This goes way beyond learning to cope with the Veterans incurable mental illness! This is helping Veterans recover mental wellness and helping the whole family to do the same. I want families to know JOY. The VA has hard evidence that Veterans Can Recover Mental Wellness. We are teaching how to do it!
Buddhists have a saying: "Man wait long time for roast duck to fly into mouth."
You will wait a long time for the VA to deliver happiness to your home. You have to go out and seek it. You have to want it. But first you have to hope that life can actually be different. Without hope there can be no healing. But then Hope animates awareness. Awareness helps us accept that we can make some significant Changes. Not because we Have To. Simply because we want to. And we "want to" because we are focused on that which we desire.
In this instance I think about any Veteran would agree that, next to health, there is nothing as valuable as a truly happy family in a stable home situation. Unfortunately, many of us have never experienced such a thing, living in a perpetual war of blame and guilt and anger. Active Conditioning can literally 'magnetize' us to draw to ourselves that which we desire through the powers of our minds and spirits. Imagine getting into a tub filled with water. The mass of our bodies pushes out the water, overflowing the tub. When we magnetize ourselves to attract Recovery, it fills our lives and pushes out chaos, uncertainty and fear; replacing it with Peace.
What's the big deal about Recovery? Reprogramming ourselves to successfully live in harmonious relationships with others is the big deal. Relationships are the heart of anybody's Recovery. Love is a fundamental pillar of recovery. One can't really experience the joy of recovery alone. We need relationships to experience all life has to offer. Expanding someone's potential to experience love is a huge deal. That's Recovery. We know we can never change the bad stuff that has happened. But what we can do is radically change how we think about it. That can change how we feel about it. And that can change how we act about it. When we can chose the changes we want to make: Show Time. That's when the benefits of Recovery emerge.
The yellow circle is as pure yellow as the internet will allow. Viewed on the black background that little circle of yellow looks hot and bright as the sun.
But place the mouse over the sun. The background switches to white. What does the yellow circle remind you of now? One wiseacre said; "A urine hole in the snow."
What happened to the bright yellow heat of the sun? Nothing changed in the yellow circle. It's all about the context.
Combat, and military training change the mind. The brain will never work that same old way again. It's not a character defect. It's a bio-chemical neuromuscular evolutionary survival mechanism in full working order.
We don't want to train that battle mind away with "Coping Skills" that always let us down in the end. We want to form new neural pathways that can ease those PTSD symptoms to the degree that the Veterans PTSD symptoms can become practically "Un diagnosable." That doesn't mean the condition is 'cured'. That is not going to happen. But if you not experiencing any symptoms of illness, does it matter if you are not completely well?
If you, or a Veteran you love has this brain injury, it can cause a flash temper, hard time keeping jobs, powerful urge to avoid crowds, and to be hyper alert. Vets with Brain Flash (PTSD) often have sleepless nights, they isolate themselves from others, they often use alcohol and dangerous drugs, they might threaten and hurt their family members, (without wanting to) to be highly agitated, and dangerously depressed, often at the same time.
If all I was telling you that Veterans and their families often get wounded from military experiences, that would be bad. Terribly depressing. But I'm saying that Mental Health Recovery is possible. I'm also saying you don't have to have a PhD to recognize PTSD and do something about reducing the symptoms.
More info on Mental Health Recovery and Family to Family come back to this spot soon.
Post-traumatic stress disorder takes a 'village' Vets with PTSD need boosted grass-roots response
In a long overdue move, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials took shears to the red tape that tangled up veterans pursuing disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Non combat veterans who served in war zones no longer need produce backing documents or buddies to vouch for a specific event that triggered their PTSD. Now, it's presumed that a combat-zone veteran's claim of PTSD is service-connected.
Certainly, the VA would have made an even bigger splash had it also lightened the load of its understaffed ranks of mental-health professionals by blessing PTSD diagnoses from private-sector therapists.
While nearly 20 percent of troops in our two current wars struggle with PTSD, fewer than half ever seek treatment, according to a 2008 RAND Corp. study. The VA's struggle to trot out trained counselors fast enough to keep pace with the mounting need is partly to blame.
The point of the story is that the VA simply can not keep up with demand for mental health recovery resources. The rest of the story says that Florida community organizations like "Give an Hour" which recruits psychologists to help Veterans and various churches and collaborative groups are banding together to help veterans make the transition back to civilian life. We can and should do the same here in Utah. aw
The Pentagon is scrambling to help war-torn vets, but it's a mission that extends to all ranks of society.
Recent studies show that a third of Veterans are diagnosed with a combat stress-related behavioral health issue like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or major depression. Of those diagnosed, nearly half won't seek any help and half of those that do seek help don't receive adequate care.
The consequences of untreated behavioral health problems like PTSD can be grave.
Compared to civilians, veterans living with PTSD are two times more likely to divorce, three times more likely to be unemployed and four times more likely to commit suicide. Deployment-related mental health issues are challenging to address from a warrior's perspective and from the standpoint of those currently trying to solve this problem. Stigma is always a concern, and common symptoms like avoidance can keep returning troops from asking for help, or in some cases even leaving the house. Read the whole story from Military.com here
Motorcycle Accidents More Deadly than Combat for Marines
QUANTICO, Virginia (CNN) -- Motorcycle accidents have killed more Marines in the past 12 months than enemy fire in combat, a rate that's so alarming, it has prompted top brass to call a meeting to address the issue, officials say.
When this was written twenty-five Marines had died in motorcycle crashes in four months-- all but one of them involving sport bikes that can reach speeds of well over 100 mph, according to Marine officials. In that same period, 20 Marines have been killed in action in Iraq. Read the rest of the article here.
For returning vets, a tragic toll on the roads
Devastating death rate from crashes sounds the alarm at Veterans Affairs
NORTHAMPTON - For Dominic Taverna, a two-tour Army scout who prowled Iraq for insurgents, the dream of peace and quiet lost some of its appeal when he returned in 2007.
“I was looking for that rush, and you just couldn't find it,’’ said Taverna, 28, staring past his folded hands. “You’re driving 90 all the time. You’re hauling ass under overpasses. You just can’t flip a switch [when you come home].’’
Former Army sergeant Carlton Duncan, 26, nodded knowingly. He would drink too much, Duncan said, before grasping the wheel of his car and driving without any memory of where he went or how he got there.
Dominick Sondrini, 28, a former Marine officer, raced his car for the pure thrill of driving 90 miles per hour, “because I knew I wasn’t going to get in trouble.’’ Police nearly always allowed Sondrini, who would flash his military ID after a traffic stop, to drive away without a ticket, he said.
Dangerous driving is often a byproduct of military bravado, the three veterans said. But among survivors of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the practice is now seen as a deadly crisis, prompting the Department of Veterans Affairs to take unprecedented preventive action.
In the first years after returning from deployment, veterans of the two wars are 75 percent more likely to die in motor vehicle accidents than civilians of comparable age, race, and sex, according to a 2008 VA study.
The national rate for motorcycle deaths is 37 times more than the rate of deaths in cars. For Veterans it is an astounding 50 times more than the rate of deaths in cars.Get the rest of the story here.
You Might Have Diabetes and Not Know It
Diabetes will sneak up on a vet. No heavy symptoms, maybe a little thirsty, then peeing every couple of hours, then BOOM. Amputations, Heart Attacks, Stroke, Premature Decrepitude, Death.
And if you have spent any time around Agent Orange, your odds of metabolic problems just skyrocket. Take care of yourself!
You think "That can't happen to me. I'm young and healthy." That's what my buddy, Annapolis grad Keith Haines, thought. Younger than me... then dead.
To All Veterans Caught Up in the Dance of Addiction, Words of Courage
The Dances We Do With Other People
…by Julia A. Wilson
How old were you when you learned to dance? I was forty. Why so old you might ask? I spent twenty years dancing by myself on a bar stool, I thought I was cool and sexy. Actually I was afraid of you, them, and any others who challenged my way of life. It wasn’t until I began to feel God’s love in my heart that I became unafraid of you, them, and all of the others who had challenged my old way of life.
Today I dance joyfully with my hands in the air feeling God’s hands touching mine. I’ve never felt more serenity or joy in my life, ever! I attribute it all to God’s loving touch.
Some people are afraid to talk about how God has touched their life. I used to be one of those people and because I didn’t acknowledge God to others my blessings were short lived. I thought I could keep God to myself, but I understand now that he wants me to testify of His power in my life.
He saved me from a life of destitution. I was an active alcoholic and drug addict for over thirty years. After years of listening to non-believers I was convinced I would die in the gutter and absolutely believed that’s exactly where I deserved to be.
Yet here I stand before you, healed and transformed into the person God always wanted me to be. I did little to make this happen, or so it seems. The hardest thing I did was step out on Faith and believed that God would save me if I served Him well. He did that for me and has thus allowed me to share my life with others who were once just as lost as I was. This is how it works for me; and because it has worked, I now dance with other people sharing God’s work in my life.