Timeline of Veteran Suicides, Legislative Efforts, and Nationwide Negligence at the Department of Veterans Affairs

Military Sexual Trauma – The New Face of PTSD (2007):

The Other PTSD – Sexual Abuse of Women in the Military -NBC Nightly News (May 4, 2007)

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Featured ‘The Other PTSD: Sexual Abuse of Women in the Military’ (May 4, 2007)

Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act (2007):

The House debates the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, which directs the VA to develop and implement a comprehensive program to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans. The bill is named for an Iraq veteran who took his own life, and recognizes the special needs of veterans suffering from PTSD and elderly veterans who are at high risk for depression and experience high rates of suicide. -Rep Leonard Boswell (October 23, 2007)

President George W. Bush Signed the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act Into Law (November 5, 2007)

The Number One Problem Combat Vets Will Face is Mental Health (2007):

Paul Sullivan of Veterans for Common Sense tells Armen Keteyian that the No. 1 problem facing vets of Afghanistan and Iraq will be mental health. -CBS News (November 13, 2007)

Eye to Eye with Katie Couric on CBS News: Veterans and Suicide (November 13, 2007)

Veterans Who Get Help at VA Are Still at Risk of Suicide (2008):

CBS News first reported on the staggering number of veteran suicides in a report last year. Now, newly-released data shows that vets who get help from the VA are still at risk. -CBS (March 20, 2008)

CBS News: Veteran Suicides An Epidemic (March 20, 2008)

Seven Vets Under VA’s Care Died by Suicide in Washington (2008):

They served their country honorably but after risking their life in combat abroad, coping with coming home was too much. In the last three months seven servicemen being treated by Spokane’s VA Hospital have committed suicide. -4 News Now (April 29, 2008)

Army National Guardsman Spc. Timothy Juneman Died by Suicide; Family Shares Imminent Redeployment to Iraq ‘Major Stressor’ (March 5, 2008)

Senator Patty Murray Alleges VA Cover-up of Veteran Suicide (2008):

Despite recent efforts by the Veterans Administration to prevent veteran suicide, seven have committed suicide in the Inland Northwest in the last four months and US Senator Patty Murray is calling the situation unacceptable. -4 News Now (May 1, 2008)

Senator Patty Murray Calls for Changes at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Wake of Suicides (May 1, 2008)

“The Betrayal Issues Are Really Deep” (2009):

Katie Couric investigates an alarming trend in the U.S. military, as more and more female soldiers have come forward with tales of sexual abuse at the hands of male soldiers and superior officers. -CBS (March 17, 2009)

Sexual Assault Permeates U.S. Armed Forces (CBS News, March 17, 2009)

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Simple Kindness: Easy Ways to Repay Our Veterans for Their Service (July 31, 2019)

DeployOrg.com.png

(Image courtesy of Pexels)

Guest post by Kelli Brewer, DeployCare.org

Simple Kindness: Easy Ways to Repay Our Veterans for Their Service 

It can be very difficult for the average American, especially those with no military experience, to appreciate the mental, physical, and financial impact that years of military service can have. The situation comes into focus when you consider that there are more than 1.3 million men and women on active duty, with more than 800,000 in the country’s reserve forces.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, family problems, and lack of employment opportunities can place a huge obstacle in the way of returning service members who just want things to return to normal. Unfortunately, it’s often not that easy, especially for those who return with debilitating injuries. If you’re looking for a way to help out, here are a few ideas.

Say ‘Thank You’

The Vietnam War experience taught Americans that returning service members can be seriously affected by the nature of their return. If it’s critical or indifferent, veterans may feel unsupported and unappreciated. And while today’s military personnel typically don’t face the kind of harsh criticism that confronted Vietnam-era servicemen and servicewomen, they can still be powerfully impacted by a lack of support and understanding. If you want to help a veteran, acknowledge their service by shaking their hand or offering a sincere “Thank you.”

The Health Care They Need

Veterans, particularly seniors, need to understand how their health insurance works. For those enrolled in Medicare Part A or B, there are several out-of-pocket costs, and to complicate matters further, plans often change from year to year. Fortunately, you can enroll in a Medigap plan, which may provide more of the benefits you need. For example, Plan F covers the deductible that comes with Medicare Part B, though certain changes to this particular benefit will go into effect beginning in 2020. Knowing your coverage and understanding how Medicare functions is essential for getting the most out of your coverage.

Help Veterans Reintegrate Socially

A soldier who returns home without a job or without access to social services may feel lost and alone. Consider organizing an event for returning service members, perhaps schedule an evening at the movies, an informal dinner setting, or get together every week at a nearby coffee shop. Make it a venue where everyone can talk about their experiences, hopes, and frustrations.

If you have a relationship with a veteran, offer to help out in specific ways. For example, if your friend has trouble scheduling a medical or therapy appointment, reach out by offering to babysit or offer to give them a ride if they lack transportation. There are many ways to volunteer, just by making efforts of simple goodwill.

Finding Work

Veterans often find that the skills they learned in the military don’t translate well into steady employment once they’re discharged. That can be especially true of veterans who lack a degree or some form of higher education. If you’re a business owner or have access to human resources personnel at work, why not put in a good word for a veteran who’s having trouble latching on somewhere? Your company will earn tax credits for hiring veterans. Sometimes, a foot in the door is all a veteran needs to impress a prospective employer.

Be a Willing Listener

You don’t have to be close friends with a service member who just needs a sympathetic ear. Give a veteran an opportunity to share their experiences. You really don’t need to say much, just be present in the moment and listen without judging or criticizing. It’s a simple but important gesture because many have no one to talk to, no outlet for their frustrations and anxieties.

Simple gestures are sometimes the best way to help veterans, service members, and their families. Be willing to provide the kind of support and assistance you’d offer to anyone. It’ll make you feel great and it’s a great way to thank our military heroes for their service. 

Army Veteran Shawn Bryce McVea Died by Suicide; Death Prompts Mom to Educate Others of Warning Signs After Deployment (September 4, 2017)

Shawn Bryce McVea KING 5

Shawn Bryce McVea, U.S. Army Veteran (Photo: Screenshot KING 5)

Suicide prompts mother to warn others. -KING 5 (November 29, 2018)

A military mom is trying to make a difference after her son killed himself after returning from deployment in Iraq. -KING 5 (November 29, 2018)

Related Links:
Shawn Bryce McVea | Find A Grave
Suicide prompts mother to warn others
Extended: Veteran’s suicide prompts mother to warn others
Veteran’s suicide prompts seminar for deploying JBLM airmen
Veteran’s Suicide Prompts Seminar for Deploying JBLM Airmen 2
Channeling grief into resiliency | The United States Army
Timeline of Veteran Suicides, Legislative Efforts, and Nationwide Negligence at the Department of Veterans Affairs

The Clay Hunt Act: What President Barack Obama Just Signed (February 12, 2015)

On February 12, 2015, President Obama signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act into law at the White House. -The Obama White House (February 12, 2015) 

Summary: Learn more about the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act and the Administration’s commitment to help veterans.

The new suicide prevention law is named in honor of Clay Hunt, an extraordinary young Texan and decorated Marine who served with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like too many of our veterans, Clay struggled with depression and post-traumatic stress after he came home. Sadly, Clay’s life ended much too soon when he tragically committed suicide in 2011 at the age of only 28.

This new law builds on a long history of executive actions the President has issued to improve access to mental health services for members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and their families. The Clay Hunt Act will:

  • Require annual third-party evaluations of VA’s mental health care and suicide prevention programs
  • Create a centralized website with resources and information for veterans about the range of mental health services available from the VA
  • Require collaboration on suicide prevention efforts between VA and non-profit mental health organizations

President Obama passes law to prevent suicide among military members. -CNN (March 31,2016)

Read more from the The Obama White House here.

Related Links:
The Clay Hunt Act: What the President Just Signed
President Obama on Veteran Suicide – Clay Hunt Act
President Obama Signs the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act
Remarks by the President at Signing of the Clay Hunt SAV Act
Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act
H.R.203 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): Clay Hunt SAV Act
Senate Report 114-34 – Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for America Veterans Act
Casey Statement Following President’s Signing of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act
Pelosi Statement on President Obama Signing Bipartisan Law to Prevent Veteran Suicide
President Signs Clay Hunt Act, Says ‘Stigma Has to End’ | Dept. of Defense
Clay Hunt Act complements VA’s ongoing commitment to mental health
The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act | IAVA
President Obama Signs Into Law Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act
President Obama Signs Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act
Obama signs veteran suicide prevention bill
American Federation for Suicide Prevention Supports Our Veterans
Ranking Member Corrine Brown Stresses Importance of Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act’s First Anniversary
Clay Hunt Act Serves To Prevent Veteran Suicide | NAMI
Clay Hunt SAV Act Update: May 2019 | IAVA

Senator Patty Murray Calls for Changes at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Wake of Suicides (May 1, 2008)

Despite recent efforts by the Veterans Administration to prevent veteran suicide, seven have committed suicide in the Inland Northwest in the last four months and US Senator Patty Murray is calling the situation unacceptable. -4 News Now (May 1, 2008)

Related Links:
Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Veterans – United States Senator Patty Murray
“Epidemic” of military suicides investigated
Veterans and Suicide | CBS (November 13, 2007)
President Bush Signed the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act Into Law
Army National Guardsman Spc. Timothy Juneman Died by Suicide; Family Shares Imminent Redeployment to Iraq ‘Major Stressor’ (March 5, 2008)
CBS News: Veteran Suicides An Epidemic (March 20, 2008)
Seven Veterans Under VA’s Care Commit Suicide
Murray calls for changes in VA in wake of veteran suicides
Murray Assails Top VA Official over Vets Suicide Cover-Up
Rural Veterans Access to Care Act, VA’s ‘Strength of a Warrior’ Campaign, Sen. Patty Murray Calls for More to Be Done for Suicidal Vets
Murray’s visit to Vancouver puts focus on veterans issues
New data reveals high death rates for Iraq, Afghanistan vets
Investigation blasts VA over wait times for mental health care
Senator Patty Murray: Veteran’s suicide prevention bill passes Senate
Murray Reiterates Mental Health Challenges Facing Veterans
U.S. military veteran suicides rise, one dies every 65 minutes
Mental Health and Suicide Among Veterans (Senate Hearing)
Waiting At VA Hospitals: A Matter Of Life And Death
Sen. Murray: VA system needs change now, not another report
Spokane Veterans Affairs hospital brings budget concerns to Sen. Patty Murray
Senator Patty Murray Urges DEA to Get Right on Pot
Sen. Murray Urges Greater Accountability, Assistance for Veteran Suicide Prevention at Senate Hearing
As Senate Prepares to Vote on Sweeping Legislation to Improve Veteran Access to Care, Senator Murray Highlights a Provision of the Bill That She Wrote, Which Would Finally Expand VA’s Caregiver Support Program
Senator Murray Continues to Fight for Veterans and their Families, Urges Support for Bill to Reduce Medical Costs for Veterans with Newborns
Timeline of Veteran Suicides, Legislative Efforts, and Nationwide Negligence at the Department of Veterans Affairs

CBS News: Veteran Suicides An Epidemic (March 20, 2008)

CBS News first reported on the staggering number of veteran suicides in a report last year. Now, newly-released data shows that vets who get help from the VA are still at risk. Armen Keteyian reports. -CBS News (March 20, 2008)

Related Links:
Veteran Suicides An Epidemic (CBS News)
Suicides Seen Among Vets Treated By VA
Eye to Eye with Katie Couric on CBS News: Veterans and Suicide (November 13, 2007)
Timeline of Veteran Suicides, Legislative Efforts, and Nationwide Negligence at the Department of Veterans Affairs
Wounded Warrior Project
Home Base Program, Veteran & Family Care
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
American Federation of Suicide Prevention
NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness
320 Changes Direction – The Campaign to Change Direction
Give an Hour: Department of Veteran’s Affairs Partnership
US Department of Veterans Affairs
VA MISSION Act

Eye to Eye with Katie Couric on CBS News: Veterans and Suicide (November 13, 2007)

Paul Sullivan of Veterans for Common Sense tells Armen Keteyian that the No. 1 problem facing vets of Afghanistan and Iraq will be mental health. -CBS News (November 13, 2007)

Related Links:
Eye To Eye: Vets And Suicide (CBS News)
The Veteran Suicide “Epidemic” (CBS News)
Nov. 13: CBS News Interviews VCS About Epidemic of Iraq War Veteran Suicides
CBS News: Veteran Suicides An Epidemic (March 20, 2008)
Timeline of Veteran Suicides, Legislative Efforts, and Nationwide Negligence at the Department of Veterans Affairs
Wounded Warrior Project
Home Base Program, Veteran & Family Care
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
American Federation of Suicide Prevention
NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness
320 Changes Direction – The Campaign to Change Direction
Give an Hour: Department of Veteran’s Affairs Partnership
US Department of Veterans Affairs
VA MISSION Act