A Nation in Denial
February 24, 2017
Please don’t forget our heroes hurting during in 2017. We are all hurting when we lose even one of our own to suicide .
Forget about the damn numbers or push-ups ,we are at crisis numbers after 15 years with female military suicides higher than ever. This needs to get priority escalation and if we are worried about terrorist attacks, suicide has taken thousands upon thousands of our best citizens .
The new motto ” Be There ” would have been useful decades ago. Now it rings so hollow as our president has not even had a meeting at the White House to make caring for our vets a priority as promised .
Is it up to the public now to ” be there ” where the government has failed our best and brightest men and women in uniform ?
Where were they ? Where are they ?
We are losing 20-24 heroes per DAY America. We are living in denial. That’s 8700 of 40,000 suicides per year in the USA. If that number does not stagger you, try 130,000+ military suicides since 9/11 when we began Homefront Hugs USA. Military families planning 20-24 funerals every day is unconscionable .
We hope and pray our President Trump will make this his number 1 priority as promised .
Before a massive buildup of weapons and military strength … caring for our veterans is necessary especially when wanting to recruit new troops .
When is our meeting at the White House to talk about critical changes and funds needed to help so many issues of quality and access of care with Secretary Shulkin ?
He must appoint the best and brightest from private or public sectors and think outside of the box. This is a national disgrace . So far the priorities have been reporting the size of crowds, deleting the military resources website which the previous administration compiled for all branches : “Joining Forces “… making certain the media is slandered when Americans need their media more than ever – freedom of the press – one of our inalienable rights under the 1st amendment, monitoring/ curtailing Twitter accounts, increasing price of FHA loans for middle class families, beginning to eradicate Obamacare, and insulting the intelligence community especially the unsung heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. And now he has silenced 2.5+ million career federal employees in our government.
In the meantime, since the election of President Trump, at least 80 more troops and veterans have taken their own lives out of despair and desperation leaving countless families and children to grieve . Fire whatever advisors surround you, Mr.President, who are leading you astray and focus on your promises to our veterans and families . Our country is watching and one more life lost is one life too many .
When is this a national outrage ? When is this a CDC concern? Do we need to call it a disease to get everyone’s attention ?
When do politicians stop giving it all just lip service and speak about this as the worst war our nation ever faced besides WWII.
Jake Tapper @CNN :
This is unacceptable . These numbers and statistics do nothing except make the topic even more impersonal and elusive . By talking about numbers we forget Captain Jamie had a sister and parents who loved her and miss her every day .
We forget that Navy Seal Commander Jon left a 9 year old daughter without her Daddy to protect and hug her ; watch her blossom into a young woman.
We forget Penny, a brave veteran and Homefront Hugs volunteer just lost her youngest son Ben on the USS Nimitz at age 26 one week ago to suicide , with no forewarning .
We will not be silent at Homefront Hugs USA .
🔹Our service men and women deserve better – they deserve at the very least a choice to get mental health care wherever whenever needed .
Gold Card for Vets
🔹They need service /therapy dogs for inbetween appts and care issued like Dept of Defense issues combat boots !
We have shared lists of how and why these amazing best friends are needed for our troops and vets .
🔹They need all types of therapies offered at EVERY VA – art,meditation,music,equine,sports,yoga and the latest therapies to come including the breakthroughs being done now with mindfulness therapy which are astounding :
🔹They need buddy systems as some have in combat zones ( battle buddies) as University of Michigan Depression Center is implementing with the VA where military buddies ( trained warriors in intervention and suicide prevention ) are assigned to any at risk service member from the moment they set foot back on the Homefront for at least one year ( as PTSD can present up to 6 months from trauma .)
🔹Our troops and vets need the sexual assault cases to be taken AWAY from Military Justice (as the bill by Senator Gillibrand emphasized and was rejected) and straight to civilian authorities where each case is handled as a CRIME and not within chain of command with minimal prosecutions approximately 3000 of 26,000 in 2014 and in turn a huge increase in suicides .
🔹The VA needs to open up more community clinics at greater speed to address mental health and transitioning home after deployments …forget the stigmatized buses with VA decor all over them .. These give our vets NO dignity or privacy .
🔹The VA needs to pay and recruit the best experts and researchers for mental health care ! Collaboration with top universities is encouraged .
No more mediocre care. Vets experience exemplary care in Washington DC area where the president and politicians reside. These standards should be evidenced in every VA hospital without exception .
Hire now – hire the best and pay them top dollar for the BEST !
🔸the best social workers
🔸the best psychiatrists
🔸the best psychologists
🔸the best therapists
🔸the best behavioral experts
and offer to pay education loans off as part of incentives .
🔹Stop investing in TeleHealth except to make appointments or quick well checks. If a vet in crisis lives far from hospitals or resources, then Telehealth could be used for crisis intervention on a minimal basis while 1st responders are on their way and for maintenance of care .
But overall, our veterans deserve better – one on one contact and care whatever the costs – even if it means HOME VISITS and THERAPY.
Veterans ( in fact any patient ) in emotional pain NEED HUMAN TOUCH and care not the inhumanity of TeleHealth Skype type care .
🔹Stop investing in million dollar research projects as was done a few months ago to assess value of service dogs . The facts are there and cited weekly on social media by Veterans Affairs and all branches of service themselves .
Study examines impact of service dogs on veterans with PTSD ($2 million dollars !) http://www.stripes.com/news/study-examines-impact-of-service-dogs-on-veterans-with-ptsd-1.327058#.V-tQJYCBQxU.twitter
🔹Whatever the cost – include the caregivers and natural supports when vet is willing in therapies to provide a healthy supportive home environment . Caregivers are afforded the Caregiver Act but only if service was after 9/11 and many need to be included in therapies to ensure success and progress of veteran and his or her emotional healing . Caregivers also include older children who may be part of assisting their loved ones struggling with PTSD, mood swings , healing .
🔹Mandate that Tricare cover marital counseling . Right now not one cent is covered . The benefits are limitless to maintain stability and support in the family system especially for any children witnessing and feeling their hero’s pain .
🔹The Veterans’ Crisis Line is phenomenal but overwhelmed and needs millions more to reach all our hurting vets. It cannot be the only answer either. In fact, an article this week reported the serious frightening number of calls being forwarded to other resources because they are overwhelmed .
🌀Official Unacceptable News:
One-third of calls to VA suicide hotline roll over http://azc.cc/2dx8NbM
🔹Ask the NFL charging millions each game to show appreciation to our vets to take those millions and help with the stigma of asking for help and getting help with emotional wounds for any veteran or family member concerned about a loved one before it is too late .
🔹Ask all college football teams to do the same as above but realizing they do not take millions off our veterans backs like the NFL .
🔹No one should trust the suicide numbers you are reading as many are having their loved ones buried or cremated with different reasons of death like auto accident, accidental overdose, respiratory distress, cardiac arrest . It is heavily under reported which should make us all even more concerned .
🔹The millions spent on the APPS for “relaxing” and “dealing with your PTSD” for vets to use are simply bandaids and not a replacement for care ; for authentic mental health care .
🔹Every single branch of service needs to take the lead and offer Predeployment stress management , meditation , suicide prevention, recognizing warning signs from fellow warriors, etc .
🔹As only a few units are doing – whenever feasible with mission – therapy dogs and trained mental health counselors (not just our dedicated chaplains) need to be deployed with our men and women in uniform.
🔹Sexual assault prevention and reporting needs to be taught and RE-TAUGHT with every unit and service member using actual survivors of sexual assault to teach these in services . Make the in-service workshops include physical interaction so they are not seen as just another politically correct assignment for service members to check off .
( Comments left on social media alone whenever these topics are in the news show the great need to re-teach this to all military units until their attitudes change and assaults are eradicated )
This is a national emergency . This is no longer acceptable to have an article here or there talking about escalating suicides and small attempts here or there on Suicide Prevention.
We have a national suicide crisis America. My son will not enlist in the Armed Forces as his father did because we see the pain daily and know so little is being done with so little urgency to address these daily suicides. I am not losing our son to Suicide because no one cared to address this emergency with adequate haste and attention. In the U.K. , much work is being done with Heads Together . We need to reach across the pond, share ideas and research with all our allies . Time is critical .
This is a crisis no one really wants to talk about . Do we have burial ceremonies for men and women killing themselves while serving ?
Are these mothers equally respected as other gold star mothers?
Are we even lowering our flags half staff when a service member takes his or her life ?
This is not political . Today, at least 21 military families are planning 21 funerals of heroes who volunteered to serve our amazing country . May they know their heroes were our heroes too and they will never just be numbers or statistics.
Until this crisis is addressed , and suicides drop dramatically, our flags nationwide should remain at half staff .
In peace , Shalom.
Alessandra and Ed Kellermann
Founders and Presidents
Homefront Hugs USA
You are not alone . If you are going through hell emotionally please know we care and so do millions of Americans despite the slow progress .
Call someone you trust . Call the crisis line anytime 1-800-273-8255 & press 1.
Want want to make a difference yourself ? Adopt a serviceman or woman who has no support and needs a real morale boost while they are deployed ! Email Adoptions@HomefrontHugs.org