MMQB: Is America Letting PTSD Kill Our Troops?

Veteran PTSD

Many Americans have heard that 22 U.S. veteran kill themselves every day, but many have not thought through what that means on a big scale. Here is the best PTSD breakdown I’ve seen using an infographic.

This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I plan to spend the day contemplating the impact of American policies on its veterans and not writing my usual MMQB. These policies disproportionately impact minorities as VA has consistently maintained its proven racial bias against minority service members. We just saw last week that VA is failing to even research the problem much less fix it after so many decades.


Beyond suicides, VA fails to address longstanding bias against veteran minorities. It imbeds bias using MMPI-2 evaluations to measure faking related to PTSD compensation evaluations. VA also fails to account for spirituality of Native Americans. Veterans who are minorities struggle to get veterans benefits as fairly as whites. This is a reality that must be addressed. Take a look at this well done infographic and ask yourself if VA has done enough for non-white or non-male veterans.

This MLK Jr Day, I thought it appropriate to highlight this enormous problem facing some of our brother and sister veterans.

What have you experienced?




Courtesy of: Veterans Alliance

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  2. I just want to say that as I write this my husband is in a V.A. hospital for a second attempt of suicide. He is suffering with ptsd,depression,mood problems,gulf war illness,and chronic bad. I just dont know what
    To do anymore. Its just such a battle with the v.a. they disgust me.
    Hopefully this new change of medication that was ordered will help him I guess time will tell when he gets home.
    Between not able to work fighting with the v.a. for a higher compensation and social security he doesn’t feel like a man anymore because he is not providing and in a few months we will be homeless he just got overloaded. I just hope something changes I dont want to lose my husband I love him we are married 24 years.

  3. 1. PTSD is not just related to warriors, many things that happen to ones psyche at a younger age can and do cause PTSD. Just like they grouped a whole bunch into MST which is not logical reasoning, BEN, YOU MISSED A TEST THEY DO, IT IS ON FIVE TRAITS. THERE ARE SEVERAL TRAIT TESTINGS THAT CAN BE DONE. BUT, KEEP IN MIND THAT A REALLY GOOD PROFESSOR, WHO KNEW I DID NOT LIKE ACCOLADES. WHAT I VOLUNTEERED FOR, WAS ALSO A HEALING PROCESS FOR ME. TRAIT TESTING WAS MUCH ARGUED ABOUT IN THE 1990’s ( yes a student and damn twice yes to a school and twice with my back!) I WAS GIVEN A TRAITS TEST. IT CAME OUT STATING I HAD A BORDERLINE PERSONALITY. I CALL THIS B.S., and damn lazy, because the influence of life itself brings in also the “nature verses nurture” aspect, trust me, this woman filled in the blanks, bad on her when a friend can say “I never use that word,” sorry sailor mouth at times, but never a quitter. So, I took two separate “TRAITS TESTING,” ONE SAID ON THE VERY BORDER, BUT NOT A HIGH ENOUGH SCORE AT ALL. THE SECOND WAS THE FIVE TRAITS TEST. NOW IF ONE SERIOUSLY EVALUATED EVEN THIS TEST, IT SCREAMS PTSD.
    They randomly decide as I see in my C-File which test to give, however, did they totally do their jobs? NO. Because if they had they would have found the truth, scary are they? It will be found, and every Veteran should request a copy of the test along with any write ups as well as evidence they are too damn lazy to get, screw it, time to pull a LINCOLN, and stand, sit, whatever, and scream it till they get it right. VETERANS DESERVE BETTER, AND POLITICIANS WOULD DO RIGHT TO SEE THE CORRECT TREATMENT, BECAUSE SOME WILL SHOOT THE ENEMY! SAD IS THE DAY WHEN A VETERAN CANNOT GET RIGHT TREATMENT, SADDER IS THAT THERE ARE THOSE WHO LAY DORMANT, THEN COME OUT TO PLAY!
    ( I HAVE ALWAYS GIVEN BACK TO MY COMMUNITY, STARTED VERY YOUNG. So, shall I cease when I see corrections, heck what can you do to stop us? Drone the hell out of us?

  4. Contrary to popular belief the veteran population of the US is very small and has little to no political clout. During WWII only 11.5% of the adult population fought. During the Vietnam era, only 4.3% served, and today during our many wars against terrorism, less than one half of one percent – only 0.43% – have served. We have no voice and no political clout.

    It’s interesting that of the 22 vets who commit suicide every day (per the VA report published in 2013) 19 of them are Vietnam era vets. The VA speculates that the reason is because by now most of those in this category have raised their families, are divorced and are believe they have little to live for.

    The problems they faced when they came home were never addressed and they have nothing to live for. The VA failed them then and only frustrates those now who have tried to get help.

    If this tragedy continues, in only a few more years more Vietnam vets will die by suicide than were killed during the war. And in a generation or so I believe we will see the same thing happen to our Vets who fought during our ‘War(s) on Terrorism.’

  5. 01/21/2015

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    Been busy today, Arizona had a bump with Veterans Funds, another visit to the Governor’s office [Ted Vogt].

    I have numbers from hearings that are much different—-293 dead at Phoenix and 9121 still on the waiting list. From this blog site the number is 800,000 still on the waiting lists; Gannett/USA Today stated 600,000 at the beginning of November 2014.

    Newsmax April 30, 2014:

    The VA said in its April 2014 Fact Sheet that 23 veterans suffering from cancer died while awaiting medical appointments at VA hospitals throughout the system, while another 53 patients suffered some type of harm as a result of “consult” delays in gastrointestinal cancer screenings, including routine but life-saving colonoscopies.

    53 [ Class Action Lawsuit in 2007] not 22 is the number everyday—-“one is too many” is the echo from the Marble Halls.

    Claims now take an average of 272 days to be processed—an increase of nearly 40 percent from 2011—with some lingering for as long as a year. The error rate now hovers around 14 percent, and the mountainous backlog stands at nearly 900,000, as 53 veterans reportedly die each day waiting for their benefits, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

    And these are very old number we are working with—they are much bigger.

    When is the March on Washington D.C.?


    Don Karg
    Hearing are Today and Tomorrow in Washington DC

  6. When it comes to suicide, it is horrible enough that service members and veterans, especially those with PTSD, kill themselves due to rational reasons, logical reasons, and reasons that basically make sense. But what do you call it when military doctors and VA doctors, and other staff, brainwash the individual to commit suicide? This probably sounds crazy and most people will not believe it. But this very thing in fact happened to me. I also saw it happen to other people in the service and to veterans. I always thought it was just because some very sensitive information, mind blowing stuff about highly classified missions, made the wrong people nervous, relative to national security. It has taken me years and years to figure this part out though, and a big reason for that is I had head injuries on top of prolonged extreme traumas, so I just ended up missing it, not being able to figure it out. About a year ago I got some documents in the mail, by action from a US senator through FOIA and other systems, after trying for a very long time to get this information. I wasn’t even sure what I was looking for. Then I finally noticed this one document. It said I was 100% service-connected disabled for Veterans Administration purposes. But no one ever bothered to explain to me what that meant, so it sat in a file for years and years and then I finally discovered I had a case of PTSD from hell, a very servere form. Point is, the VA should have taken this report written by the military, and I mean it was from the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Instead they just filed it away in a hidden archive somewhere. I went through years and years of fighting the VA for PTSD disability benefits and about the head injuries and other injuries. How ridiculous, considering it was already clearly documented that I was supposed to be put on full disability the moment I was separated from the Marines. Now add this sick part. When I was still in the service, going through debriefings mixed with treatment for severe physical injuries and extreme mental shock, military doctors drugged and hypnotized me, showed me pictures of dead people who had killed themselves by various means in carefully choreographed photographs. They told me to do this to myself, and I always thought it was to cover up some monumental foul ups involving very sensitive highly classified information and grave endangerment to national security that it all involved concerning the impossible job I had in the service. Well, if you stop and think about it, I am betting the real reason, the main reason, maybe the only reason these assholes worked so hard to get me to kill myself, was to save money. Hey, if I’m dead that is a lot cheaper than paying a disability pension or compensation from the VA, right? The military and the VA would jointly greatly prefer to pay servicemen’s group life insurance than pay diability, right? And they may not even pay that, because it may be some giant insurance company that is actually paying that, but I am not sure how that works. The final point is, maybe I did finally figure it all out, even with really bad head injuries and PTSD from hell, I finally get it. I refer to how I was told at the start of my military career that I would never understand how the whole thing worked. This panel of officers and high ranking enlisted men said that to me, about this very secret program I was going into. It’s really pretty simple, as in, use the service member, and if they don’t die in the line of duty like most will in this particularly hazardous occupational specialty, get them to commit suicide, or just kill them. All of this was tried on me over and over, and I don’t really know why I survived, except that, and this is a big “except”, well, God wanted me to stay alive. Anyway, isn’t it just beyond disgusting and pathetic beyond anything close to acceptable that the powers that be actually program service members and vets to kill themselves? And why? To save money. How absolutely puking pathetic. The raids to nuke Japan in the big war, the flight crews carried cyanide capsules, and that makes sense in a way, they just couldn’t be getting tortured if they got shot down and captured, and that sort of thing, that part of the game is at least rational. But, when they say, here, take this cyanide, it’s candy, you will love it, and the reason is to save the system money, and the VA or someone gets bonuses or job security, on the graves of dead vets that they in effect murder, that is just way over the top. The VA is close to conspiring to kill vets, but for sure, and I can’t be the only one or the group that I saw this stuff happen to, it has to be more widespread than that. The VA will eventually answer for this kind of thing, the tide will turn, it is just a matter of time. But, how many good men and women will die till the tide finally goes out?

  7. Ben,

    Very much a telling story. After 8 years of fighting and never giving up, I am finally 100% P&T with the VA and medically retired as a SSG at 70% for PTSD. It took years of effort and enduring a lot of dark and lonely moments (my wife left me while I was deployed and initiated a divorce). There are two things that have seen me through: 1. My love of my family – I refuse for their brother and uncle to become a sad statistic. 2. My dog – I refuse to leave him to be take care of by the state. I am aware that I have been VERY lucky as well and I am determined to live my life in honor of all my brothers who didn’t make it.
    My last fight, that I have been fighting for over 7 years, is with Social Security Disability. For some reason, even though the VA rates me 100% P&T, the Social Security judge seems to disagree with that. It’s just not right that a two-time combat vet should have to fight so hard for the benefits he or she deserves. It’s part of the reason so many of us wind up depressed, alone and despondent. I have one more chance to get my SSDI benefits (my third appeal in front of a different judge), this will happen in mid February. I’m hoping that I can finally get my SSDI benefits so I can move on from all of this. Thanks for spreading the word.

  8. There is another reason why vets take their own life – the USFSPA – that’s the 1982 law that lets state divorce courts divide military retired pay – very wrongly known as a “pension” – as jointly earned marital property. The US Supreme Court held in 1981 that military retired pay is the SOLE entitlement of the military member and has no likeness to community property. Retirees end their life in protest to stop their former spouses from getting any of their solely earned retired PAY !

  9. Contrary to what the VA and DOD and civilian medicine will tell you, a treatment is available for Traumatic Brain Injury and for the symptoms of PTSD. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is helping to heal TBI/PTSD, and help is potentially available immediately for anyone diagnosed with TBI within the last 10 years. Already, over 300 subjects have benefited from our pro bono work. See below for details.

    Consider: DOD reports that mental illness ranks as the leading cause of hospitalization for active-duty troops. Insiders worry that the epidemic of brain injuries and mental health will continue to accelerate for many more years. The components of the problem include admitted epidemics of service member suicide — now 22 a day; hundreds of thousands of diagnosed and undiagnosed traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); a massive prescription drug epidemic and accompanying deaths through overdosing; disproportionate service member homelessness, joblessness and incarcerations; bad-paper-discharges; spousal abuse and secondary PTSD among caregivers.
    The Institute of Medicine reports that DOD and the VA spent $9.3 billion to treat post-traumatic stress disorder from 2010 through 2012, but neither knows whether this sum resulted in effective or adequate care. The expenditures and outcomes for TBI are similar. Billions are spent on drugs, none of which have been tested and approved for use with brain injuries, and too many of them warn of “suicidal ideation” as a side effect. In the face of the national crisis and the paucity of funds for research and clinical medicine, this cycle of expanding time lines and bloated budgets should not continue. It does not need to.
    Army medicine has run trials investigating the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen to treat and help heal Traumatic Brain Injury. They have shown that HBOT is both safe and effective: “Randomization to the chamber . . . . offered statistical and in some measures clinically significant improvement over local routine TBI care.” Also: “…. total scores for [both] groups revealed significant improvement over the course of the study for both the sham-control group …. and the HBO2 group…..” Expert outside consultants declared that “[HBOT] is a healing environment.” Despite these findings in all their studies, HBOT is not available for use in either DOD or VA facilities, despite the epidemic of brain injuries, suffering and suicides.
    Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) involves breathing 100% oxygen under pressure in a comfortable, certified safe pressure chamber. HBOT causes an abundance of O2 to diffuse into the blood plasma, leading to growth of new blood vessels and new tissue development; reduced swelling; and accelerated wound healing. HBOT has been used for decades for decompression sickness (“bends”), carbon monoxide poisoning, diabetic foot wounds, crush injuries, and thermal burns and radiation tissue damage. Worldwide research is accelerating to understand how HBOT multiplies and mobilizes the body’s circulating stem cells, leading to neurovascular regeneration. All this occurs through the simple process of pressurizing oxygen to accelerate the body’s natural healing processes.
    Please, if you have TBI/PTSD or know someone suffering, investigate the study and get immediate attention:
    And visit:
    Contact Us
    Cara Rowe, MSW, CCRP
    [email protected]

  10. My experiences have been that there was/is a definite bias, beginning with me approaching the VA for services, including examiners that had no clue about cultural differences and era differences, when I was still fighting for my claim, to the now present still fighting to be heard, this time at VHA and bean counting, rather than meeting needs through services. Some say I cost too much.

    I, naively, thought that I was done dealing with feeling re-traumatized by VA…claim fairly adjudicated, receiving treatment through CBOC & VAMC as needed and as I can make it there, just go on my way to still walk the path to maybe find some healing. Yet, I find that, no, I am not done, wondering if I ever will be done, so much of it is unnecessary and purposeful. I enter their facilities, already hesitant with…who, what, where…just wanting to feel safe, validated, and respected.

    The triggers are everywhere, but I force myself to “keep on keeping on,” until the “here we go again” with some issue. I have to ask myself…are they trying to break me, break me some more? So far, it’s not been successful…keep falling, but keep getting up…a plus for me and my spirit. If I just go away, I will certainly cost them little if anything. Yet, I didn’t fight for my life to just stop fighting now, so many moons later. Instead, I’m still trying to stay on that path, to find a little spot of peace, to save my soul and my life. Yet, at every turn, the VA still surely does not make it any easier, so I’m expected to just take it, just shut up. Except, that I can’t just do that…it does not work for me.

    So, there I found myself, again, trying to reach out to an advocate that may be able to help me make heads or tails about what is going on this time. So many questions, few answered, just another rule in another day, by another administrative staff who has no real clue, who could not have read my file, but can make arbitrary decisions, not communicating with me directly because…? Yeah, just another push from an organization in place to help, instead, it is suggested my cost to them is not worth…me. Surely, that is a lot of what contributes…

    1. Mari,

      I saw this play out in our home when the good doctor came into our home and defame, distorted, lied and vilified me. I always asked why would a doctor who could lose so much want to cause veterans so much stress and grief? I learn after speaking to many people both veterans and others and the answer is what I saw in this person in our home. She knew she could get away with it. She like many others tend to deal with minorities and women veterans differently.

      So you know something coming down the pipeline (Phoenix Scandal) will impact your job, because you have not done your job. You try to make it look like you have been doing your job by sitting up appointments for people who have been waiting for almost a year to get an appointment (on a wait list). But you meet this caregiver that you cannot provoke. Since you cannot, you make up lies about the visit. You know that you are the “DOCTOR” and you will be believed over this black female, who just happens to be married to an older black male veteran. So you as a doctor, decides to use this couple as an escape goat to say they had the problem. Plus because you never evaluated the husband, you can make it look like you were so in fear of your safety, and your life, you had to leave the home. So in essence you are allowed to use two disabled veterans.

      Also, another situation is when I took my husband for a C&P evaluation and I was asked if I married my husband when he was demented by the nurse. Filed complaints and they went right back to the VA and nothing was done. These people know what they can get away with and it never stops.

      I can believe these people will do anything to veterans because I know what they have done to my husband and still denies the claims when they gave him the drugs, that caused him a stroke and other issues that he still have to deal with today. But they keep denying the claims and prolonging because they know what the have done, “will more likely, than not” kill him and he will never get the compensation he is entitled to.

      We really need to start going to Washington in the thousands and sitting, standing or whatever to let the powers that be see what they allowed to happen to the very people they sent into wars, so readily. However, compensating them is not so expeditious.

      Keep the faith and do not give up. Best wishes.


  11. I know how they are clearing the backlog in claims. I filed for PTSD. Month later I filed for my shoulder. I filed for my back. I filed for my hip. I filed for my knees. I filed for my elbow. By my count that is 6 different claims.
    In the VA they see them as 1 claim now as they all came from me.
    If I had waited to file each one as the previous was accepted/denied then it would be 6 different claims. Because I filed them all in the same year they became 1 claim.

    1. What you are stating are 6 different “contentions”. What actually happens is they will consider all contentions under the current open claim. As your claim moves along, your regional office will return your claim to “development” if you add additional contentions. Thus, your claim may take a bit longer.

  12. suicide for a lot of veterans with P.T.S.D. for decades for many veterans with spouses kill them selves because if that is the only disability they have. The only way for their spouse to receive benefits is for the veteran to commit suicide as the only way the V.A. will pay those benefits and many veterans care and worry about their spouse and how they will be cared for after they are gone. So the V.A. has only left them one option Suicide and this is just a disgrace for America for having put those veterans between a rock and a hard place.

    I have written a letter to the President about a year ago and expressed my concerns about this very same matter, asking him if there is anyway some sort of legislation could be introduced to congress to pass a bill, that would change the current policies concerning veterans with P.T.S.D., so they do not have to make that Horrible and disgraceful act of having to kill themselves, just to insure that their spouse will be taken care of after they are gone.

    How much longer are veterans going to have to kill themselves before this country gives a dam enough to change this stupid policy. Veterans that think or try suicide and tell they V.A. that they thought or tried suicide, is noted in their official records and is used against them in other V.A. matters and is used to attack the veteran if they should disagree with their treatment or make a negative comment about the V.A.

    I know this to be true, as it happened to me.

    What gets me is that you see on T.V., how much America cares for the veteran at football games they bring out a very big flag, bring out active duty members on the field and the crowd cheers. Congress Men express how proud they are of the armed forces and when called upon to assist a veteran they pass the buck to a clerk to do their work. The only thing a congress office will do is write an inquiry to the V.A. as an inquiry of what ever matter and what ever the V.A. says to justify their action. The congress mans office Clerk with send you what the V.A. said and that is the end of it. They are unable or unwilling to force the V.A.’s had and call for a complete and fair investigation when the letter from the V.A. shows that they hurt the veteran in writing and yet the congressman’s clerk closes the case. And if you as a veteran do not like the results, you must then try another agency and then another and then another and with out legal respresation your are S.O.L…..

    As many have said there is only one way for us to be heard and that is for as many that can go to Washington in masses and show this country that we do matter and we should be heard and real action be taken by congress to insure we are treated and cared for as required by law.

    We are not throw a ways. We are like anyone else who wants respect and dignity.

    God Bless our Active duty members and our fellow Veterans and may he help us over come tragedy.

  13. Until there is FAIR / UNBIASED exams by REAL Doctors (not Clinical techs), there is really NOTHING that can be done. I have dealt with this HAMSTER WHEEL mentality that the VA uses for 40 + years and believe me it has gotten WORSE.
    As long as the CROOKS are investigating THEMSELVES all that is left for us is PRAYER / PERSERVERENCE. Believe me, it has got to CHANGE for the BETTER. The biggest PROBLEM is too much PERSONAL involvement in OUTSIDE places(WARS). That will always leave a BITTER taste in somebody’s mouth(Victor or Defeated), then we spend more to repair those places than we do on our own. We can no longer POLICE the world ALONE while NEGLECTING our OWN.
    We always say it is for FREEDOM / LIBERTY, WELL AND GOOD, but what about our own ? We have to be an EXAMPLE of the things we GIVE OUR LIVES for in order to really change thins in other places and that just is not the case. The fact of the matter is, WE HIDE OUR INJUSTICES BEHIND LAWS / STATUTES that are as ARCHAIC as the Model T.

  14. Good Morning Ben, Damn you woke me up with these stats. If you could see the research I did on this very same issue regarding Homeless Veterans suffering from PTSD you probably would scotch your head. I wrote you last year regarding some of the same issue that you point out in this article regarding Scott. My situation is 99% the same as Scott, with the exception of not committing Suicide. My heart goes out to all Veterans in our situation and we should stay united to help our fellow brothers who suffer from this debilitating disease that the VA has known for years and refuse to except that we need the help. Everyday I pray that I live to see another day or can help my fellow veteran whom are suffering from PTSD, whether it’s Combat or Non-Combat PTSD.
    Ben, thank you fro speeding the word and I will continue to support your efforts.

    Danny Toliver, Retired USMC

  15. So, what are we going to do? We all know the info. What we don’t have is a plan to fix this. I for 1 am willing to work on a plan and to help implement that plan. What say you, brother and sister veterans and people who care about what happens to veterans. 1 suicide is 1 too many and we average 22 a day? This has to be fixed!

    1. Tom, I would love to see a plan or to see something done and not just with words as the upper VA people have done. Actual, physical, something done. There are so many of us vets that we should be able to do something. Our biggest hurdles are the VA and the govt. Once over them, we could get a change and one for the better. Will it happen, that is yet to be determined. I think most of us would welcome this as we would for once, be treated with the respect and dignity we deserve. I would do what I can to help get this done.

  16. Yes I think that minorities do get less than others do. I also think that all of us get less then we should. You have all of the info here to show that yet I would bet that if you compared the VA’s numbers to this there would be a huge difference in most of them. Why? because the VA thinks it is God and therefore is untouchable. The VA does what it wants to whom it wants and that person has no real recourse to get a wrong corrected. We basically are a pawn in their money game. We are a statistic that helps them gain more money by falsely stating they are dong such a great job. They have to be, it is all on their paperwork they turn in to get their bonuses. Meanwhile we suffer, wrong diagnosis, wrong treatment, wrong meds, words twisted to be used against us not to help us. If we complain, we are threatened, if we do nothing or “suck it up” we die by our own hands.
    We volunteer to go into the military knowing the cost of our volunteering, yet we still do it. Why? Because we love this country and are willing to fight for it and we are willing and know that we could give our lives fighting for the country we love. However, most of the vets coming home today need so much care for the wars they have endured, body parts lost, the mental war still going on inside of their head, and do not get the proper and correct treatment for one reason or another. They go to the VA for their healthcare because they are still in the military mindset and think that the VA will help them as their unit helped them. When it does not, their security collapse and they feel they have no one to turn to, they can talk to other vets from the same wars but that just reinforces the horrors of the wars they have that keep going through their mind. They finally want those horrors to leave and get to the point that they cannot find any other way to get rid of them and take their own lives. The VA has failed them, we fellow vets try to help them; however, we are not trained in this field so we listen and give them what we think will help and all of the support we can but this is not enough. Once again, the VA has to change; however, as long as they know they can do business as usual and do not have to deal with the consequences, they will continue to deny, deny, until we die.

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