The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) unveiled new promotion strategies to fight high veteran suicide numbers called “simple acts” that may include stalking veterans at home.

In November 2018, the Government Accounting Office exposed VA for not spending tax dollars set aside for suicide prevention advertising costing tens of millions of dollars each year.

What followed was a flurry of op-eds arguing VA should simply pay its pundits to run interference against stories exposing stories addressing high suicide numbers.

VA is now running out stories through its various networks, directly and indirectly, they propagate the agency’s narrative on suicide and other topics. Last week, a South Dakota publication highlighted that the agency is “eager” to end suicide.

The agency plans to do this by promoting its resources even more than it has in the past, which including a press plan costing up to $50 million in tax dollars each year. This includes hiring pundits to talk about suicide prevention on TV and apparently plant stories throughout news media resources highlighting how proactive VA is in combating suicide.

What Are “Simple Acts”?

VA also plans on ramping up a campaign that includes physical acts the agency references as “simple acts” that certainly could be abused by agency officials seeking to retaliate against dissenting veterans under the guise of suicide prevention.

Until recently, I have not noticed any news media address “simple acts” directly much less include the term in the title of the story.

Titled, “VA Eager to End Suicide By Promoting Resources and Simple Acts,” KDLT News published a news story if you can call it that, highlighting how proactive VA is in combatting veteran suicide reaching out to any veteran “with a text or a call or stopping by their house.”

Let me state that a different way.

VA will be “stopping by [your] house” if you are a veteran and someone decides you need a visit from a government official of their choosing.

Do you know who else gets random visits from government officials? Parolees.

Sound a bit like the “Big Brother” we may not want? Did you know when signing up for the military you may also receive government visits on occasion?

“Really just connecting and saying hello, how are you doing, and having a conversation with a veteran. It’s about being connected and connections with other people are huge,” says Jon Feiock with the VA.

Are they bringing a clown? What about balloons and some cake? What criteria will VA use to decide when to drop by your house? Will they bring a broom to sweep our floors? How about cleaning the toilet?

I am already thinking through how I might respond if a VA employee randomly shows up on my doorstep or any other federal official. How about you?

The KDLT article did not provide specific details on how the agency will decide what veterans need a check-in. However, we know VA frequently sends local police including SWAT teams to veterans’ homes for “wellness checks” when agency leadership has concerns that a veteran may commit suicide.

Unfortunately, calling the Veterans’ Crisis Line has repeatedly ended with area police being sent to the veteran’s home resulting in a significant disruption to the veteran and further alienating veterans from the services VA is pushing.

Could “Simple Acts” Become Stalking?

Personally, I think the new plan seems more stalkerish than anything else in an attempt to appear proactive while also pulling more veterans into its system who may not want VA on their doorstep.

Some of you may be thinking, “Hell Ben, home check-ins like a parole officer is a great idea.” But, think about the process VA will likely create when deciding which veterans should receive visits.

Let’s start with the definition of stalking in a normal context like dating.

Stalking includes a series of actions that, when taken individually, would appear to be legal or for a legal purpose. It includes a combination of simple acts like sending flowers, writing love notes, or waiting outside someone’s place of work. In this smartphone era, this could include text messages and phone calls.

In isolation, these acts are not illegal. If taken as a whole with an intent to instill fear or emotional injury they become illegal acts.

It is safe to assume VA will use an algorithm to sift through massive quantities of health care records. Artificial Intelligence software will select candidates for visits. VA police may use a law enforcement database to gather additional information. Local VA leadership will evaluate candidates selected for visits and likely incorporate social media audits as well as any other means to gather data on you.

Then, you hear a knock on your door.

Who will you see on the other side of the peephole? A VA social worker with the local sheriff?

I have seen a few instances where VA leadership used wellness checks to send a message to a dissenting veteran that rubbed agency leadership the wrong way. The current campaign to expand public acceptance of more intrusive strategies certainly could be abused.

Ramping up of suicide prevention strategies is part of the agency’s plan to reduce suicide of the veterans not seeking care from VA. It also seems like VA is using suicide as a basis to expand further intrusions into veterans’ lives.

Part Of Suicide Prevention Program

The public is well aware at this point that VA has failed to make a dent in veteran suicide numbers. VA presently admits around 20 veterans commit suicide every day. They also admit 14 of the 20 veterans are not in the VA health care system.

To fix this, VA seeks to incorporate all veterans into its health care system, which would seemingly include veterans who presently do not want VA health care.

The premise of the agency’s argument is that if these 14 veterans were receiving VA health care services, they would not commit suicide.

But would they?

Presently, around 1/3 of all suicides are committed by veterans enrolled in VA health care, and around 1/3 of veterans are entitled to VA health care. If those veterans seeking health care still commit suicide, why would greater inclusion, expanding from some veterans to all veterans, reduce the suicide numbers?

I doubt veterans will benefit from the current plan.

However, I know who will.

The government contractors who stand to gain tens of millions in taxpayer dollars through added advertising spending certainly will benefit from an accelerated expansion of the agency’s public relations agenda.

More Spin Within Local Media

Yesterday, I wrote about a news story published through the USA Today Network of publications where the agency is spinning its fraudulent non-VA emergency room billing practices – – instead claiming veterans love VA emergency room care so much that civilian ambulance services should divert veterans from closer emergency rooms in favor of the Milwaukee VA Medical Center emergency room.

RELATED: VA Spins Non-VA Emergency Bill Denials

As an attorney, I can tell you any VA emergency room is the last place you should go when you are experiencing a medical emergency, especially in off-hours. Off-hours, residents run most VA hospitals or VA medical centers where there is a lack basic staff supervision generally required at civilian facilities.

Do you want a Lord of the Flies scenario conducting a differential diagnosis of your loved one while suffering from symptoms of stroke?

The story today is a local story in a publication related to Sioux Falls VA in South Dakota.

The take away for the public unfamiliar with how veterans are really treated?

Veterans really want VA emergency care regardless of the distance to the nearest VA emergency room. And, veterans need VA to occasionally swing by to ask questions about how were are doing at our homes just in case we are suicidal.

Said a different way. Veterans lack common sense when receiving emergency care; and, veterans need VA in hour homes.

About Sioux Falls VA Health Care System

The Sioux Falls system, with its 98-bed medical center and 5 community clinics, is now “embracing the VA Whole Health System Model of Care.” The goal of the model is a mindset shift from “What’s the matter with you” to “What matters to you.”

This is an interesting shift between the practice of medicine to one focused on health care – – feeling better about what you get rather than simply receiving quality medical care for the conditions presented.

The system is affiliated with The Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota (USD). Many of the residents treating veterans at this location will likely come from USD. Should you receive care from Sioux Falls VA, be sure to request medical care from an attending physician only, not a resident.

If you make this request, you may hear a response, “We are a teaching medical center.” Regardless, you have a right to request health care from a competently trained and experienced physician, not someone learning the trade.

At VA, residents are frequently relied on exclusively to administer medical services without direct supervision of staff physicians beyond what is acceptable elsewhere.

One reason this happens is budget – residents are cheaper. Another reason is the legal protection residents and physician supervisors enjoy through their employment by the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The individual who harmed you cannot be held directly liable through this process.

Accountability? Yeah, right.

About Federal Tort Claims Act

Generally, an injured veteran can only sue the federal government without a jury trial after enduring the mandatory (and slow) administrative claims process after filing an SF-95 claims form. If no settlement is reached, the veteran may then sue, but they cannot receive a jury trial and the awards tend to be lower.

Attorneys fees are also capped at 25 percent during a lawsuit instead of the standard 33 to 40 percent charged for civilian medical malpractice lawsuits. This means the return on investment to any firm when selecting clients is substantially reduced when helping veterans suing the agency.

This FTCA system effectively reduces veterans’ access to qualified legal representation since most businesses will select cases based on the likelihood of success, the amount of a possible award, which is higher with jury trials, and allowable attorneys fees.

Want better health care with appropriate supervision of residents? Get your health care from the community options instead of from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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37 COMMENTS

  1. I’m sure this would have a negative effect on us with PTS. The VA is just throwing another log on the suicide fire. Now I have another possible intrution to worry about. Yep. I feel better already.

    • Those of us with PTSD they will dress as cuddly maniacal fluffy bunnies carrying baskets with ex-lax egg chocolates.

    • I agree, new violations additionally contribute to my original trauma and it’s done by those in charge of my care!!??

  2. The SWAT Teams called by the VA will be now wearing clown outfits when making ‘random’ visits, the balloons will likely have some sort of toxic gas filling them, sparing no expense, they will also make all the VA’s Barney Cop Disruptive Committees dress like Stephen King’s ‘IT’ clown, Pennywise, same balloons and teeth.

  3. How Veterans like Concerned Veteran for America Foundation and our New Veteran Affairs Committee the Senate Side or House Side.

  4. I know a Vet that has severe back issues resulting in a lot of pain. He will not take pain killers for fear of addition. One night it was so bad he called to local VA hospital to try and get an appointment directly with the back surgeon as it had been recommended but it put it off as the outcome is not always good.

    The screener immediately asked him if he had suicidal thoughts and he said no. He then he asked his current physical pain level and the guy answers 10. He was then asked what is his emotional pain level and the reply was ten. He was asked if he had access to firearms and the guy said yes. Then the screen started small talk, some about his health and some about his service in the USMC, within minutes there were two cops at his door. They came in and asked for his firearms and took them, they then asked him to get into the back of the patrol car, he was not handcuffed. They took him to the nearby VA hospital and waiting but no rooms were available in their Psych facility for him. So the cops took him to one of the public psych facilities and baker acted him. There they forced him to take a handful of pills which made him feel like a zombie and he said their were other Vets there who seemed the sanest and also a lot of people crying, yelling and he had to spend 3 days there. Since he was Baker Acted, the cops came by again and took his gun permit. 3 Months later they came by again and knocked so loud on his door at night, it scared the crap out of him. He has a lit up door bell and they must enjoy knocking as loud as possible.

    They asked how he is doing and looked around for guns and left, telling him they would be around every three months for a year.

    I guess when he said emotional pain level of 10 and guns, it was the magic combo. I have been at a pain level of 10 several times and my emotional pain level was like a 20. I own guns, so I guess I have to be careful if talking to the VA do not tell them anything more than you want an appointment and be very careful about answering any other questions involving emotional pain and guns.

    BTW-I had 2 Uncles and a Dad who served in WW2, 2 out of 3 of them committed suicide. Vets committing suicide is unfortunately not anything new. I am sure Vets from all wars are at high risk by they did not keep records and often the suicide was covered up and called a heart attack. There were no warning signs in either of them, both had good jobs and no money or health issues.

    • KCAC,
      Your mentioning of “…suicide [amount veterans] is unfortunately not anything new…” is so true!
      Case in point, there is ample evidence showing it’s not new. Even among celebrities who served in the military (in combat roles) committed suicide. Look at one of the most celebrated celebrities – Audy Murphy!

      So, that being said, the VA needs to be shut down forever!

  5. I have said before, u cannot cure a mental
    Health problem only treat it. There is NO
    UNIVERSITY that offers a degree in mental health. We cannot cure suicide by throwing
    Money at it!

    • I’m confused by the comment string there isn’t a university offering mental health degrees. I have been doing education research and frequently mental health counselor or similar is offered at the please of the list…?

  6. The first simple act is to quit kicking vets out of mental health therapy. That private facility “baker act” will be the same. Lock up for 3 days and then kick out to commit suicide. Know that one from experience in Denver Lutheran Medical Center located in the Westminster suburb.

    The Colonel that took the finale exit on a stack of his files was probably one of the kick outs. The thing to understand is suicide and homicide are closely related. One is violence turned inside and the other is violence turned outside. If you have anosognosia with violent control issues you won’t go into the public with fear of control issues. The solution is to turn that violence inward and take that finale exit. In the VA parking lot or waiting room will focus more attention on the VA and Congresses failure. The VA subcommittee on Health Care is listening to insurance lobbyists (Tricare and Health Net) instead of veterans who have been there or are fighting to stay sane.

  7. It is the same old story, drugs (opiates), self serving advertising, corruption, INCOMPETENCE is what the v.a. has to offer the American hero instead of treatment. Until the upper level management has the ability to hire competent employees, qualified nurses and doctors American veterans will continue to suffer and die at the hands of the v.a.

    • Chris, the competent people you speak of already exist in real hospitals all around the country. Veterans aren’t allowed to use them; only congress, the upper crust, or scabs, get that privilege at tax payers expense. The best for them while we get prison medicine. If VAMCs were privitized they wouldn’t have a captive veteran audience, and would have to actually work or go hungry, while vets get real healthcare. They already have the ability to hire competent people but don’t want to spend the money on anything that would help veterans, but put the money in their own pocikets…

      • Yes, the super rich get the best physicians but not the best care. They get what they ask for not what they need. And America is the go to place for life threatening conditions of the super rich of the world out of reputation built in the 1950s and slowly lost to 39th place in the world since. I guess most of the super rich are not running to Sweden or Japan because they aren’t aware of the real position of where the best health care is in the world today. It comes from a society where even the wealthiest care about the poorest enough to provide the best possible care in a single payer mode. But those single payer modes wouldn’t work in the U.S. because we are just not honest enough. Too greedy culturally. A health culture is needed to make single payer work. Look at Canada which is too like the U.S..

  8. It is not just the VA. It is insurance company lobbied U S Medicine. We are 39th in the world, 19 among industrialized nations, which means we are worse than 18 third world non industrialized nations because bankers (Financial Institutions, insurance companies, etc.) are running our health care through the AMA not our local representatives. Because our local reps are owned by the bankers. Wake up people! It is not just the VA that is catering to the Bankers. Everybody is getting screwed the same as vets. Vets just pay less to get screwed.

  9. If you work for the VA, don’t come to my house… the less I have to do with the VA the better I feel… I’ve thought of going to the wall , opening a vein and bleeding out, but I will never do that because I feel that is exactly what the VA wants me to do…these veteran suicides are caused, I believe, by veterans becoming aggrevated by all the red tape and the ever increasing bureaucratic mazes they have to go throuigh to get help and benefits, and that from uncaring VA employees. Best stay away from my AO, my dog feels the same way.

  10. Hell I couldn’t even get a VA flunky to come out to my house to remove an IV port that was left in when I was discharged after surgery. I doubt they would swing by just to see how I am doing. If they did, they would meet my dog first.
    Problem is, as you point out Ben, it would likely be local cops and not some donut chewing flunky. If it were just the flunky, I might take the opportunity to have a lengthy conversation with them recorded on video.
    Otherwise, stay the hell off my property unless you are specifically invited.

  11. Procopio v. Wilkens from the Federal Circuit of Appeals has been released. It says that blue water navy should be considered under agent orange regulations.

  12. DO NOT answer the door if the police show up. You’ll likely be shot. Not joking. I am a retired Police Officer and the police are not your friend minus a FEW Vets that are officers. They know Vets with PTSD are likely to do something to provoke them. Don’t become another notch on their guns. Avoid them at all cost if you want to save your life, your guns and freedom. Peace!

  13. Medicare for all is the answer and that means an end to the VAMC shit hole circus. Many of those VAMC people will go to the private sector and practice if they have licenses-oops that ggtes rid of a lot of criminals right there. Next- private docs are held to state law and can be audited for best practices-oops that gets rid of a lot more. Finally, why shouldn’t we get what the illegal aliens are getting for free. You don;t see a load of chachexic fucks crossing the border do you…nope — they’re all well fed fat fucks. Back to the budget for a moment; eliminating the VAMC system will save the taxpayers 2-300 billion bucks per year. Now thats money that can be spent on Veterans in a capitated system where the docs no longer control the price of tea in China. Just sayin’ All we need now is a President with Balls and a fist in his glove.

  14. 01/30/2019

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    This is a “Simple Act” by VA Management into insanity! An Act orf Sabotage/Treason.

    VA Management will not be able to implement this action due to the lack of recruiting skills and the low numbers in the existing VA labor pool with the required training.

    91Veteran explained it pretty good: “Hell I couldn’t even get a VA flunky to come out to my house to remove an IV port that was left in when I was discharged after surgery.”

    With all the existing problems at the VA; and with the VA not doing their job [Mr. William Nutter/ Bedford VA Medical Center/Sen. Warren]—they are asking for more work. Really? Does this sound like Wilkie? Or Does it go higher into the Three Omegos [Bruce Moskowitz, a Palm Beach doctor; Ike Perlmutter, the chairman of Marvel Entertainment; and Marc Sherman, an attorney,] or the Koch Brothers?

    Now, if VA Management does implement this action/program with a high degree of success [on behalf of the Management]—then there were alternative motives. Right now the VA refusal to use one dime of the Money [$17 million] from Congress in 2018 still needs to be explained under Oath by all involved. And where is the Rand [Kayla Williams] proposal to squash the suicides in the newspapers?

    Intimidation that is what this is! Pour on the heat!

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

  15. This is what happens when the Koch traitor brothers and their phony CVA run the VA. They want our money, they don’t give a damn about us.

    I don’t have to worry about this, I live in Thailand and the only cops that would come to my door would be Thai and certainly not because I have PTSD, I do. If I see a black Suburban pull up, I’m gone, cause I’m dead otherwise. I’m no longer armed. Yes, I am paranoid, they were after me during the tricky dicky regime.

    If I were in the states my ex-wife would be pulling all stops out to use this and she tried once before to get my inheritance, wasn’t much and settlement from a lawsuit, was much. Nasty piece of work.

    Get Wilkie and the CVA out of the VA, fully fund and staff the VA and stop the union busting, they are the Vets and the overhead is the problem, not the staff.

  16. Mental Health Degree? The degree is in psychology. Masters Degrees and PhD Degrees can practice in mental health in most states if you pass the state bar. A mental health degree would be for screening as in the military for acceptance for employment. Mostly dealing with testing at a screening level not a diagnostic level which is done by PhD Psychologists.

  17. “Mental health disorders common following mild head injury” “https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/mental-health-disorders-common-following-mild-head-injury”

    This NIH article shows those mild concussions cause mental health problems. Mental health problems lead to suicide especially if the treatment is behaviorally directed instead of organically directed. The biggest single reason for the Vet suicide rate.

    • The VA wants it to be “behavioral” AKA curable by just getting your thinking straight. If you don’t know the adjustment you need to make and just think the world has turned to shit on you instead of part of your brain went south on you and you need to make an adjustment to that situation, you will never make any kind of adjustment. Tests can show the deficits incurred if given. But the VA doesn’t screen all PTSD victims for organic injuries that can be presumed to have occurred in the military unless they were picked up in the induction process. The organic injury is permanent. Some redirecting can occur in the brain but it is never a “full recovery”. What cognitive therapy (not the PTSD bullshit) does is help you focus on the changes in your functioning abilities and do exercises that help move back toward your best. But you’ll never reach your best again though it is written in your conscious brain and you expect it causing mental dysfunction. Getting the conscious brain to accept the change is half the battle to mental health. That can’t be done with a “behavioral focus” without acknowledging the change. Military induction tests need to be redone on every vet that checks into mental health and compared to their military induction scores on the same tests.

  18. Well said Ben. I’m all for closing the doors on VA. It’s not about advertising for suicide prevention, it’s about getting people who care and understand mental health. How can a mental health professional treat or let alone understand anyone with mental health problems when they have never experienced one themselves. Episodes depression (divorce, loss of job, moving, death in family member, etc) is so different from severe depression and one episode trauma is different from multiple and multiple years of trauma. These mental health professionals don’t understand nor know how to handle you if the symptoms aren’t written in the text books. Hello, it states common symptoms which doesn’t mean all inclusive and it doesn’t mean you have to have all the listed common symptoms as everyone reacts differently based on their on personal life story and chemical makeup.

    These so-called mental health professionals are CLUELESS!!! Exactly why we still have over 8000 veterans killing themselves. Stop saying 22 a day as it doesn’t seem like a large amount and that’s why they chose this number instead of the annual number. They never mention the number of attempted and failed suicide attempts and never discuss their attempts to help them.

    As a veteran with complex ptsd and severe depression, the mental health inpatient facilities and outpatient mental health are CLUELESS and they never asked me what I needed. I told them several times certain things do t work for me like meditation and they looked at me funny and told me it’s part of the program. These individuals cause more harm to us than they help.

    To top it off, our entire medical and mental health records to include psychotherapy notes (your therapy discussions with your therapist/counselor) is open to any VA employee nationwide which requires no password, not tracked, doesn’t require your authorization as required by HIPAA; and they allow DoD full access too. So, anyone can read everything about you. Do they not understand how this damages our trust and our privacy and how hard it is to come seek help them find out people who have nothing to do with your direct care can read everything about you? I’ve had 4 confirmed HIPAA violations within a year so far and all HHS does is provide freaking technical support. Hello, how about the damage they’ve doento me and how they destroyed any trust left how they destroyed my trust in seeking medical and mental health care from VA and civilian providers to it made me attempt suicide because of what they did but they get only technical support yet continue to violate my HIPAA and privacy. Go to h3ll VA.

    • That was pretty much what my comment was going to be. We need people that understand but they just regurgitate the same crap they read from somewhere else over and over again. For years and years I tried to explain my ptsd seemed to be more physical than mental but they didnt listen, only recently have mental health professionals started stating the same thing I’ve been saying all along. It’s not as simple as just changing your thinking, for some that may work but for some that genuinely doesn’t do anything, bad memories and intrusive thoughts, for me suicidal ideation is still going to pop up whether I’m thinking happy thoughts or not. I acknowledge them and dismiss then that’s how I’ve been currently dealing with it, I get an A+ in avoidance, when I get stressed I realized my nightmares and panic attacks are more frequent which contributes to my depression and suicidal ideation, especially when I’m forcing myself to go to doctors appointments that agitate me because they dont listen. I’ve come to define my ptsd (it’s actually cptsd but I think people understand that term even less) as a stress disorder to simplify it to others I just tell them I have a stress disorder and when I get stressed I get more symptoms so I try not to get stressed – I isolate and avoid and that’s what’s been working better for me. I suffer from chronic suicidality, that’s also something they dont seem to understand, whether I’m having a good day or bad day I get images and thoughts of saying fuckitall and harming or killing myself, just randomly. It’s like I traumatized my own brain from trying to kill myself in the past lol. And agoraphobia is another term they dont seem to understand, I was diagnosed with agoraphobia when I was kicked out of the mil almost 16 years ago and I haven’t been diagnosed with it since but I still suffer from it. I tell them going to and from doctors appointments causes me a lot of stress I don’t want to go anymore, can I do telehealth from home instead, and they repeat over and over, call to make an appointment to discuss your concerns with your doctor in person. It’s very frustrating, I dont believe or trust the va, I think they are quite frankly a bunch of dumbasses that dont listen to anything we say because we are not the ones writing their checks. They dont want to help us they just want to get paid doing as little as possible. And civilian doctors are no better, everyone has become a bunch of lying scam artists and thinking happy thoughts and/popping pills to tranquilize and numb ourselves isn’t going to make anything better

      • Actually, I think that without putting it into word thought, the Directors would prefer we take that finale exit for the dole so their performance would qualify for a higher bonus. Bonuses are being measured wrong. Suicides should bear a heave negative in bonus points to eliminate the misguided therapies. Especially the ones that show a vet the door.

  19. I’ve had one of those wellness checks after hubby got in an argument with my counselor over the phone about meds, last thing I want is a bunch of cops showing up randomly at my house I view it as a threat to take me away and pump me full of meds and mistreat me in hospitals cuz I’ve been there done that, and then they are yelling at me and running after me cuz I wanted to go get a cigarette from inside to smoke while I talk to them outside, treated me like a damn criminal and things almost escalated very quickly and badly had they grabbed me and I haven’t been to mental health since ?

  20. Suicide in veterans is not as much a mental health issue as it is about the VA telling us that our physical problems are all in our heads. When we are sick from illnesses caused by exposure in service, the exposures that the government, military and VA deny even when there is so much government documented proof that the real insanity lies in their denials, rather than in us as service members, dependents and civilians. Now the VA is creating an environment in the US in general, which discredits veterans by profiling. Civilian hospitals and doctors are now less likely to hear veterans out, but rather read dismissive notes from the VA doctors and continue the neglect and abuse on the outside. It will get worse the more veterans are able to use non VA doctors, if this behavior is continued. Hospitals will love to Baker Act Veterans and get the guaranteed funding, just as they have abused the Medicaid and Medicare programs. Systemic short staffing, insurance reimbursement guidelines and “evidence based” practices which justify leaving illnesses to go untreated, such as progressively worsening anemia, to save on costs, no matter what the outcome, is the norm. How does our Federal government practice medicine without a license and write blanket laws such as the controlled substances one that immediately cease to treat all citizens as individuals in it’s pathetic attempt to control an opiod epidemic. If you look at it from a different standpoint, the illnesses that all Americans experience every day, do cause pain. Pain medication is justified for these individuals. To not treat them because of an unrelated epidemic elsewhere is not only neglect, but dangerously lazy politics and healthcare. Ethics are now non-existent in the VA and they are rapidly disappearing from the US healthcare system in general. When capitalism became more important than the health of all individuals and quality care can only be bought, we stopped right then being the great country that we used to brag about. Now, our health is held hostage by criminals in government offices, safe because of laws such as the Feres Doctrine, NEPA and any other such ruling the made it impossible for Americans to hold those, who knew exactly what they were doing, accountable and punishable. But the thing is that those laws are only as good in how they serve US citizens. Any law that creates a safe Haven for a minority, and this really is an extreme minority, especially those who are supposed to be trusted servants, but who have betrayed Americans in criminal acts of neglect, treason, negligent/intentional homicide, extortion and fraud, to name a few, should be able to be deleted immediately. How is our Supreme Court even able to make the decisions that they have made recently, such as denying recent conflict veterans the right to sue anyone who knew that their actions were killing more military than all conflicts put together? It might take decades to kill them, just like Vietnam and Korean Veterans, but they are and will continue to die. Hope long do we have to play this excruciatingly sick game of the Emporer’s new clothes. Are the consequences of calling these people out really so bad that it is better to pretend that all is well? Or are veterans committing suicide to escape the shame and pain of not only enduring life threatening physical illness that is said to be all in their head, but an institutional betrayal to deep that all healthcare, social infrastructure and a healthy American way of life was destroyed to enable the true enemy of the US to continue the acts that have given them untouchable power? The VA wants to stalk, profile and discredit veterans publicly. The government wants to do that to the rest of us. I sure as hell won’t sit idle and watch more people become hopeless and suicidal because of things that they have absolutely no control of. I won’t be quiet. I won’t pretend that everything is fine. If that earns me a stalker, 100’s more doctors telling me that it is all in my head and eventually dying of untreated illnesses, so be it. There are not enough psych meds on the face of this Earth make what the VA, the military and our own government innocent and benevolent in anyway. No amount of meds will change my views on all that I have witnessed and continue to learn of just how badly those in power have destroyed all that was good in this country. Just the fact that they are trying to treat suicide of veterans while ignoring the deadly physical illnesses that they seek help for, is a kind of insanity that needs to be erradicated far more than true suicidal ideation from actual mental illness. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs… Take care of the physical needs first, nothing else is as important and nothing will be of any use if the body is dying.

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