I want to trust the data, just have a hard time with the source…

Below is the PDF / report that came out from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Here is the problem that I have with their report:

For a decade, moving into the 11th year of being a civilian and having to deal with the appeal process with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), I have been lied to, cheated, duped, discarded, become a victim to delay tactics, as well as unfair treatments. I have noticed that the VA would do just about anything to gain a foothold in today’s society. What I mean by that is: there are so many stories coming out each week about corruption within the VA and other nasty truths, so the VA may want to somehow impede their backwards-slide by ‘conducting their greatest survey to date’.

I am not a believer that the VA conducted a legitimate survey only because the VA has yet to prove to me that they have not deliberately made it difficult for me to gain coverage for ALL of the disabilities that I left the military with. It has been one nightmare after another…for an entire decade, and is still going on. So, do I think that they are telling the truth? I wholeheartedly WISH they are telling the truth because that would mean a reduction in veteran-suicides. I want nothing more than the veteran suicide rate to decrease to zero, however, I do not believe the VA has worked out how they do business well enough to deter veterans from choosing suicide because of how they were treated (or rejected for requests for treatments-yet denied).

My opinion on their statistics:

Their numbers seem convenient enough to decrease the overall number from 22 veterans a day to 20 veterans a day, but, their numbers showing an increase to those veterans who have not sought VA healthcare can be deceiving. Who is to say that the veterans who committed suicide were not TRYING to get VA healthcare support? Basically, if a veteran was seeking support, yet had not yet been processed into the VA healthcare system, then the VA can wash their hands and take the stance that ‘the VA is there for every veteran, but the veteran must come to the VA to get help’. I say this yet I have experience much hardships with dealing the VA and can say firsthand that it is not always easy, and the VA is not going to call each veteran to guide them through the mess that is the VA process. Another point is (and I have seen this with other veteran’s claims) if these veterans are attempting to get a disability rating (or ratings) for legitimate disabilities incurred while service to their country, yet the VA keeps stamping them with their worn-out ‘deny’ stamp, the veteran can feel a sense of helplessness (since there is little guidance for most veterans) and after being denied so many times, and not remaining in pain, they may choose a simpler way out. Where are those numbers?

Please think about that when you read their report below:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 7, 2016

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has undertaken the most comprehensive analysis of Veteran suicide rates in the U.S., examining over 55 million Veteran records from 1979 to 2014 from every state in the nation. The effort extends VA’s knowledge from the previous report issued in 2010, which examined three million Veteran records from 20 states were available. Based on the data from 2010, VA estimated the number of Veteran deaths by suicide averaged 22 per day. The current analysis indicates that in 2014, an average of 20 Veterans a day died from suicide.

“One Veteran suicide is one too many, and this collaborative effort provides both updated and comprehensive data that allows us to make better informed decisions on how to prevent this national tragedy,” said VA Under Secretary for Health, Dr. David J. Shulkin. “We as a nation must focus on bringing the number of Veteran suicides to zero.”

The final report will be publicly released later this month. Key findings of the analysis will include: 65% of all Veterans who died from suicide in 2014 were 50 years of age or older.

Veterans accounted for 18% of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults. This is a decrease from 22% in 2010.

Since 2001, U.S. adult civilian suicides increased 23%, while Veteran suicides increased 32% in the same time period. After controlling for age and gender, this makes the risk of suicide 21% greater for Veterans.

Since 2001, the rate of suicide among US Veterans who use VA services increased by 8.8%, while the rate of suicide among Veterans who do not use VA services increased by 38.6%. VA Conducts Nation’s Largest Analysis of Veteran Suicide

In the same time period, the rate of suicide among male Veterans who use VA services increased 11%, while the rate of suicide increased 35% among male Veterans who do not use VA services.

In the same time period, the rate of suicide among female Veterans who use VA services increased 4.6%, while the rate of suicide increased 98% among female Veterans who do not use VA services.

Please also see our Suicide Prevention Fact Sheet at the following link:

http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/factsheets/Suicide_Prevention_FactSheet_New_VA_Stats_070616_1400.pdf

VA is aggressively undertaking a number of new measures to prevent suicide, including:

Ensuring same-day access for Veterans with urgent mental health needs at over 1,000 points of care by the end of calendar year 2016. In fiscal year 2015, more than 1.6 million Veterans received mental health treatment from VA, including at over 150 medical centers, 820 community-based outpatient clinics and 300 Vet Centers that provide readjustment counseling. Veterans also enter VA health care through the Veterans Crisis Line, VA staff on college and university campuses, or other outreach points.

Using predictive modeling to determine which Veterans may be at highest risk of suicide, so providers can intervene early. Veterans in the top 0.1% of risk, who have a 43-fold increased risk of death from suicide within a month, can be identified before clinical signs of suicide are evident in order to save lives before a crisis occurs.

Expanding telemental health care by establishing four new regional telemental health hubs across the VA healthcare system.

Hiring over 60 new crisis intervention responders for the Veterans Crisis Line. Each responder receives intensive training on a wide variety of topics in crisis intervention, substance use disorders, screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment. Building new collaborations between Veteran programs in VA and those working in community settings, such as Give an Hour, Psych

Armor Institute, University of Michigan’s Peer Advisors for Veterans Education Program (PAVE), and the Cohen Veterans Network. Creating stronger inter-agency (e.g. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Department of Defense, National

Institutes of Health) and new public-private partnerships (e.g., Johnson & Johnson Healthcare System, Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, Walgreen’s, and many more) focused on preventing suicide among Veterans.

Many of these efforts were catalyzed by VA’s February 2016 Preventing Veteran Suicide—A Call to Action summit, which focused on improving mental health care access for Veterans across the nation and increasing resources for the VA Suicide Prevention Program.

Suicide is an issue that affects all Americans. Recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data reported in April 2016 (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db241.htm)  that from 1999 through 2014 (the most recent year with data available from CDC), suicide rates increased 24 % in the general population for both males and females.

VA has implemented comprehensive, broad ranging suicide prevention initiatives, including a toll-free Veterans Crisis Line [https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/] , placement of Suicide Prevention Coordinators at all VA Medical Centers and large outpatient facilities, and improvements in case management and tracking.

Immediate help is available at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net or by calling the Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1) or texting 838255.

For guidance on safe ways to communicate, please visit www.ReportingOnSuicide.Org (http://reportingonsuicide.org/)

 

(Source: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxv-kKjZhQfyaERtN21ZRFJ0Y1k/view)

 

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs July 2016

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS’ AFFAIRS

If you have ever wondered if your elected officials are trying to help you, wonder no longer. The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs site is where you can go to see who the committee members are, what they have to say and where things stand. One would have to wonder if there are any politicians that exist that truly want to help the veteran community, and hold the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accountable for their actions. Please go to the following link (http://veterans.house.gov/) to view the information yourself. Here is what I found to be interesting (one thing out of many):

-The main landing page has a 4-slide topic changing slideshow that covers some topics that they feel are important, and I would have to agree.  The first slide is:

-“Trials in Transparency: Total Outstanding VA Info Requests: 156 Oldest Outstanding Request: December 4, 2012”

To stop there for a moment, please direct your attention to the date of the oldest outstanding request: December 4, 2012. We are now in 2016. So the VA has requested information from the Congressional Committee, to which the VA has ignored? Who would stand for that? Would you drop your vehicle off at a garage and then email the garage to ask them, for example, for the estimated cost of repair, only to wait in excess of 3-4 years for an answer? I do not think so, so why on earth would the Congressional Committee, who are specifically pulled together for Veterans’ Affairs, wait idly by while the VA ignores their questions/requests?

The second slide is: “VA Honesty Project: Is VA stonewalling the media? You decide.”

I find it ironic that this happens to be the second slide, to follow the information on outstanding requests that the VA is ignoring, and be a topic that should cause action to be brought against the leadership at the VA. Wonder who is benefitting from this one? I can tell you that it is NOT the veteran community, that is for sure.

The third slide is: “VA Accountability Watch: Is VA Holding Its Executives Accountable? You Decide.”

The final slide is: “The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 Highlights

Below you will find links to the stories in order that they appear in the slide-show. I am going to copy and paste each of the links but at some point I have to believe that whomever contributes to this website will relook at their layout and information and come to their senses that their information can only anger veterans that are relying on their representatives to take actions against the corrupt VA system, because the veteran community can figure out pertinent questions for the VA to answer, yet no one else can? Makes one think that there may be other reasons as to why the VA representatives are not being pressed as hard as they should be. Why else would there be such delays in requiring the answers? Delays in making the VA hold their executives accountable? Etc.  You be the judge.

“Trials in Transparency” [http://veterans.house.gov/transparency]

“VA Honesty Project” [http://veterans.house.gov/VAHonestyProject]

“VA Accountability Watch” [http://veterans.house.gov/accountability]

“The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 Highlights” [http://veterans.house.gov/the-veterans-access-choice-and-accountability-act-of-2014-highlights#overlay-context=content/the-veterans-access-choice-and-accountability-act-of-2014-highlights]