Posts Tagged ‘Suicide Epidemic Among Veterans’

The Denial Twist

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Why is the VA unwilling to feature suicide prevention on their website? Suicide prevention used to show up only in the “Top Info Requests” section on the home page, and now it is completely gone.

If you go into the Health Care section of the site, there is a small banner buried within all of the clutter.

Maybe Everett (Call me Ev) Chasen, Ira Katz, or Michael Kussman, have been sending emails to the website people with subject lines like “Shhhh…”

Anyone with a website that gives a rats ass about the welfare of Veterans has a prominent banner linking to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

It is patently offensive and completely unconscionable that the VA does not prominently display suicide prevention on their home page.

When you have Michael Kussman justifying the number of Veterans committing suicide by saying, Well, there are so many of them…, it is no wonder that the VA is burying Lifeline information right along with all those Veterans killing themselves.

Another Letter To Akaka

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

23 April, 2008

Senator Akaka:

In the spirit of Ho’ohanohano Na Koa.

On behalf of the millions of voiceless Veterans of the United States Military Services who are not members of the VFW, DAV, AMVETS, PVA, or American Legion, it is time for you to resign from the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

Senator Akaka, you were entrusted to do right by America’s Veterans. All of us. You have failed that trust.

Perhaps the most heinous of your violations is hypocrisy. You are a hypocrite Senator, and we have had it up to here with hypocritical politicians.
Senator Akaka, you speak out of both sides of your mouth, and by so doing have set back the cause of Veterans.
In the May 2007 hearing on the nomination of Michael Kussman to be Under Secretary for Health at the Department of Veterans Affairs you stated:
“I urge you, Dr. Kussman: if you are confirmed, to first and foremost serve as an advocate for veterans. I am quite cognizant of the constraints placed upon you by the White House and OMB. I promise you my full cooperation and assistance, but I tell you now, that I will not be satisfied unless you work to uphold the promises made to all our troops.”

You seem to be perfectly satisfied with Kussman’s performance. Despite the fact that Kussman believes that a suicide rate of 120 Veterans per week is acceptable. Kussman states:
In the Clips this morning. our friend Chris Adams in the McLatchy (sic) Papers alleges that 18 veterans kill themselves every day and this is confirmed by the VA’s own statistics. Is that true? Sounds awful but if one is considering 24 million veterans.”

Despite that mind set, Senator, it appears that you have decided that Ira Katz should resign, and Kussman is off the hook.
Senator Akaka, do you share Kussman’s beliefs that 120 Veterans committing suicide every week is acceptable?
Do you find Kussman’s obvious disdain for Chris Adams palatable?

Senator Akaka, you will probably get no criticism from other quarters. You have acted quickly to call for Katz’sresignation. That will suffice for most.
The tell of your sincerity will be in the response, or lack of response.
You will have to answer for what is done in the dark. It will be brought to the light.
Senator Akaka, the honorable thing to do, in the spirit of Ho’ohanohano Na Koa, would be to demand that the VA “leaders” who have lied to Congress under oath are prosecuted for that felony. Anything short of that will be seen by the VA as a weakness in Congress and will be taken as an explicit endorsement of their actions.

They will then remain secure in the culture that has been created and will continue to amass power and wealth on the backs of the voiceless.

Suicide Epidemic Among Veterans

Friday, November 16th, 2007

An excellent report by CBS News.  Please take a few minutes and look over all of the information CBS News has included in that page.

Not surprisingly, the VA reacted with this press release:


November 14, 2007

Statement on CBS News Stories Aired November 13 and 14

WASHINGTON –  Every suicide in America is a tragedy.  VA cares about each veteran and their physical and mental health.  We have  more than 10,000 mental health workers who have dedicated themselves to helping veterans cope with the issues and crises they face.  We operate a veteran suicide hotline which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help any veteran in need.  That number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).  VA has suicide prevention coordinators at each of our VA Medical Centers.

VA strongly encourages veterans who may be considering harming themselves in some way to seek treatment from VA or other health care providers in their communities.  Our people are there to help during a crisis.  VA’s care and treatment works and is available for veterans with PTSD, depression and other mental health problems.

VA operates the largest mental health care system in the country, spending $3 billion each year on its mental health programs, and has taken several measures to increase its mental health services in recent years.  Those include new programs bringing mental health into primary care, intensified rehabilitation for those with serious mental illnesses, and expanded programs for homeless veterans and those with substance abuse problems.

VA is concerned that the data CBS presented in its broadcast was not reviewed by independent scientists as most legitimate academic studies are.  Regardless of this questionable journalistic tactic, VA takes the problem of suicide very seriously and wants veterans to come to VA for help if they are under stress or in crisis.

VA is constantly reviewing scientific findings, both from our own research and that of others, to guide us in improving care for veterans.  We are reviewing the limited information that CBS has made available to us and are accelerating our own research to ensure we are doing everything possible to improve the information available to the medical and research communities about suicides in veterans as a means of better understanding how to prevent these tragedies.

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The VA has a propaganda machine that is second to none.  It rivals the propaganda machine of the old Soviet Union.