To quote the internal emails of Dr. Ira Katz, the VA’s head of Mental Health,
“…suicide prevention coordinators are identifying 1000 suicide attempts a month among the veterans.”
This sad fact is only one of many to be ignored by our main stream media of late.
Barack Obama has also given attention to a disturbing trend amongst our veteran’s physicians to deliberately misdiagnose veterans with mental health issues as having a pre-existing condition.
According to the St. Louis Dispatch, Sens. Christopher “Kit” Bond, R-Mo., and Barack
Obama, D-Ill., have written and inserted into the defense authorization bill a
provision that would make it harder for the Pentagon to discharge thousands of
troops. “They’ve kicked out about 22,000 troops who they say have pre-existing
personality disorders. I don’t believe that,” Bond said in an interview Friday.
“And when you kick them out, they don’t get the assistance they need, they
aren’t entitled to DOD or Veterans Administration care for those problems.”
Obama said the practice is “deeply disturbing” because “it means that those who
have served this country aren’t getting the care they need. …”
Add to this, the fact that McCain will not support the proposed new GI Bill, to help soldiers with education and other benefits to ease them back into society… and we’ve got a spiritually, socially, and economically bankrupt military.
“Support our troops” should involve more than sending them to war.
A few years ago, when the Iraq war was just warming up, I heard a very moving UU sermon at The Onion regarding the state of the care at a nearby VA Hospital. Stories of negligence regarding mental illness- specifically the loss of one soldier’s friend to suicide after his friend had been repeatedly turned down, sent elsewhere, ignored, and forgotten.
Requests for help regarding mental health should be treated with the same severity and immediacy as the loss of a limb. Lives are literally at stake.