Atlanta VA Veteran Suicides

Two Veteran Suicides At Separate Georgia VA Facilities Over Weekend

Tragedy struck at two separate Veterans Affairs hospitals over the weekend as two veteran suicides occurred.

VA will not disclose the identities or circumstances of the suicides, which is standard protocol at the agency out of concern of copycat suicides. The agency (and some academics) believes reporting on suicide puts the public at risk.

Many veterans, on the other hand, want to know about the suicides because they are an indication of the state of affairs of the agency’s veteran suicide prevention tactics.

Located in Dublin, GA, the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center was the site of the first veteran suicide Friday. US Senator Johnny Isakson confirmed the suicide occurred in a parking garage at the facility. Few details have emerged about the suicide at the VA medical center located in Dublin.

The second veteran suicide occurred Saturday outside the entrance of the Atlanta VA Medical Center. A person familiar with the suicide said a 68-year-old victim shot himself just outside the facility.

An email circulating from the agency about the Atlanta VA Medical Center suicide said agency clinical staff attempted to save the veteran but were unsuccessful.

“This incident remains under investigation and we are working with the local investigating authorities,” the email continued. “The family has been contacted and offered support.”

“Highest Clinical Priority”

“Suicide prevention is VA’s highest clinical priority,” the VA said in a prepared statement. “We are working alongside dozens of partners, including [the Department of Defense], to deploy suicide prevention programming that supports all current and former service members — even those who do not come to VA for care.”

On Monday, VA said it is reviewing policies and procedures to see what the agency could do better. The agency wants all its facilities to provide “same-day urgent primary and mental health care services.” VA also highlighted its Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and

It is important to point out the agency has spent millions in taxpayer dollars on the Veterans Crisis Line and its accompanying web properties used to promote the services. Years after initiating those projects, the suicide numbers appear static.

Veteran Suicide Reporting Trend

For the past three years, VA public affairs professionals were able to keep a lid on many of the onsite suicides of both veterans and employees. However, the past year has shown renewed interest in the suicide numbers.

Public Affairs Cuts

Part of the push for more reporting occurred after the Government Accounting Office revealed the Trump Administration severely cut back on the agency’s suicide prevention public affairs campaigns.

While the cuts seemed ill-timed, the data available suggests that despite spending tens of millions on anti-suicide public affairs campaigns, the number of veteran suicides has not only failed to go down, but, certain at-risk populations have actually gotten worse.

Jim Turner Suicide

Shortly after the GAO published its report, a highly decorated Marine veteran killed himself outside a VA medical center located in Florida.

Retired Marine Col Jim Turner sat atop his VA records when he ended his life attached to a suicide note, “I bet if you look at the 22 suicides a day you will see VA screwed up in 90%.” The outcry following the Jim Turner suicide ramped up public interest in veteran suicides, again.

Parking Lot Suicides

Washington Post then published a report, as well as a few other reporters, about the parking lot suicide trend.

And, as recently as a couple of weeks ago, another veteran ended his life inside the West Palm Beach VA after mental health personnel refused to let him go home.

The Role Of VA Health Care In Suicides?

One consistent thread between the suicides not only suggests these veterans are sending a message but that VA health care seems to have a role. Why else would so many veterans commit suicide at or outside their respective health care facility?

For my readers, here, must of us prefer knowing the data and then making our own conclusion. And I plan to continue to provide as much information as we can.

Ultimately, something is missing from this dialogue, and I hope we figure it out soon.

Sen. Johnny Isakson On Veteran Suicides

“I was saddened to learn of the suicide deaths of two veterans at two VA medical centers in our state. My prayers are with the families and loved ones of these two veterans. I am in touch with the VA as investigations into each incident are ongoing, but these are tragedies that we hear about far too often. While we have taken a number of steps to address and prevent veteran suicide, this weekend’s tragic deaths clearly indicate that we must do better,” Sen. Isakson said.

“We will redouble our efforts on behalf of our veterans and their loved ones, including our efforts to reduce the stigma of seeking treatment for mental health issues. The loss of even one veteran to suicide is unacceptable and devastating. Preventing veteran suicide remains a top priority for our committee, and I will continue working with VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to ensure the VA has the resources it needs and the accountability in place to make sure we are doing everything we can to prevent veteran suicide,” added Isakson.

So, what can be done?

VA suggests the solution should be to pull in all veterans into the VA medical system to prevent suicide. But, it would seem a lot of the veterans are committing suicide right on the agency’s doorsteps.

How can more access to VA health care solve the problem?

Call Help If In Crisis

Veterans in crisis can use online chat at You can text 838255 to exchange texts with someone who can help. You can also call 1-800-273-8255. Veterans who are deaf or hard of hearing can also call 1-800-799-4889.

There are lots of options to get help. If you are reading this and in crisis, I strongly encourage you to use the resources available.

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  1. Pissedoffvet: Why march? Just piss on Washington! Easy on the horses asses and the circus monkeys – they don’t deserve any reference or comparison to VA health care – is that what you called it? VA’s problems are rooted in their culture – there is no incentive to extinguish their problems – they just move them around. Did that bear just poo in our tent?!

  2. Threat of violance is against the law, but killing people with stroke of a pen on deliberate denials is ok

  3. Facebook at bottom of sign in page you can add a new page name it March on Washington.

  4. Same crap, same excuses, same covering-up, same lies, same propaganda about saving the public or communities from something over VA or veterans issues. “Copy cat?” Like people don’t know the many ways to off themselves? The scum up there have been watching too many shows from scum-sucking lying Hollyweird and their bags of filth and activist/communist. Yeah, suck up all that Kool-Aid sheep and zombies.

    With my stories and complaints alone I’ve shared out here and still can’t find health care, get any kind of help or attention at all. Got sick of the gaming and actors or activist having fun especially the man hating Marx-fems out there in power or office positions where they can pass along the hate and retaliation cause of some stinking movement or club. While the VA did nothing but create more chaos from some of us and acted more insane than Dahmer or the Cuckoo Nest movies which I hate using ignorant TV crap to reality but some times it fits well together. Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Marx, etc., has nothin over the damned VA and many others today playing murderers and fascist, tyrants or oligarchs… plain old bullies and intimidation. Can break every law in the book and get by with it.

    Investigating? What kind of reaching out to families for “support?” Ahh the no investigating investigating game. No call backs, no questions or proof wanted for any of it… just deny deny deny and “found nothing wrong or no forms of mis-conduct or lack of ethics.” Play the ‘chain of command game.’ Get told by state veteran officials they are not hearing of any negatives or suicides concerning our health care or the VA? BS. All of them claim ‘high priority status’ on many issues but nothing changes, just gets worse and worse.

    Now they want to red flag us all. Have you heard about”loud talk” or claimed “yelling” at a spouse or in a argument today is becoming like Class 3 or so domestic abuse charges, or when using “professionals” or in private meets? Use the wrong pro-nouns or language, easily offend some creep? Oh oh jail time and fines. We gotta act like kiddies on a filthy college campus for indoctrination and social engineering. Oh, can’t record those sessions either to protect yourself. Gotcha you filthy veterans/patients. Like they don’t lie and manipulate file info already or omit what they desire. Oh, and we aren’t supposed “to be negative cause it creates stress and being negative increases depression and pain issues.” “No-one wants to treat or be around negative patients.” (???) Let’s censor a lot of that stuff too to keep the public stupid and liking it.

    Not about politics? Manure, everything today is about control, politics, “identity politics” etc. Unions, clubs, associations, cliques, Greek kiddy societies and much more is all about politics and protecting their own. VA to civilian care no different and same goes for all those social justice warriors, special interest, activist out there too and that has infiltrated all areas of health care too.

    Sen. Johnny Isakson? Same BS from them all as things remain the same… and getting worse. Just like with pain med crap now being called “Opioid Disorders” if one is in chronic pain, not about addictions now, not need, we have disorders, mental disorders by the way. Pull us all in by lay like good little tyrants to “order” us to sign some papers, forced on head meds for pain or told like “never us civilian care for anything including accidents or heart attacks?” While the local and state med schools and colleges seem to be taking over our lives and health care matters treating us older folks like dirt and expecting us to be totally PC, act like HIP Hopping twerking college kiddies and love lies and all that activism that they learn well and how to destroy us and lie to protect their own from the top down. Not to forget all that grant money flowing out all over the place or for “beat the dead horse” college studies or trying to reinvent the wheel or how to shut us up faster.

    A good start would be a march on DC but herding vets is akin to herding cats. Clear to see all the VSOs and others with huge numbers don’t really give a damn just like Congress or the SES clubbers. The ending of activist in health care would help too along with ending MSM censoring and lies. Then force all politicians and some unions to use VA for health care or them to be treated and spoke to or threatened like some of us have been out here. Or black-balled, black-listed union thuggery style, or Freemasonry style due to troubles in health care and all the various associations playing their games to protect their own and the country clubbers and pros. Like they used to say… the whole damn sheebang has “way too many chiefs and not enough Indians.” They all want to control the world, our health care, lives to the very end, suffering or not. I hate this country and all its “establishments” and those who promote and support the corrupt crap.

  5. True story: I asked the crisis line to refer me to the SPC at my VA back in February. He called at a bad time and I asked him to call me back. A month-and-a-half later, no call yet. Is this the “enhanced care” they’re bragging about?

    The MH clinic has dropped me half a dozen times since July. I’ve been begging for help. It was exactly 6 months before I got an appointment, then fell out of the system again. Not much assistance, but I’m glad I recorded everything. I guarantee my records are wrong.

  6. Hey BEN. Please check the facts of the suicide you mention that happened at West Palm Beach Fl. V.A. You state that he was refused release to go home. I was told by a friend, familiar with the situation, that they were kicking him out and he felt he wasn’t ready. I don’t know. But you have resources bigger than I. So maybe you could double check and clarify. I have been getting my care at the Dublin, Ga. facility for more than 20 years. I will say, I am one of the FEW Lucky ones that have been treated pretty good OVERALL. There have been issues, believe me. But I have the BEST VA DOCTOR I have ever known. They do have a pretty good Mental Health dept. Not sure of the issue this Vet. was having. But I will bet, it had something to do with them discontinuing pain medications. There are a few docs. there that are cold turkey cut offs and or Rapid tapering. Which, by the way, the FDA issued a STERN warning to doctors and patients DO NOT STOP OPIOIDS FROM patients with long term use history. FINALLY! Thank you sir. Just though the issue in WBB should be clarified.

    1. The Veteran that took his life at CVVAMC Dublin, Ga. was Gary Pressley from Barnesville, Ga. His mom was on local news last night. The poor lady was devastated. Said her son entered military right out of high school. He was having some issues getting proper medical care as well as treatment for Chronic pain from a traffic accident. I knew pain control was involved. It is just plain Torture to allow people to suffer pain due to some Made Up Opioid Crisis and some street junkies. This PHONY OPIOID CRISIS has caused the death of thousands as well as terrible pain and destroyed lives of MILLIONS. Every human is different in how we tolerate pain as well as how treatment works. This “one size fits all” policy is STUPID and Scientifically Proven Wrong. Anyway, just thought I would provide a little update on our fallen brother. I disagree with his choice, BUT I, as a chronic pain patient, understand how he may have come to his decision. RIP BROTHER!

      1. THIS.

        The idea that there is an opioid “crisis” or “epidemic” is a real example of what Ben likes to cite as propaganda. The federal Government, through the FDA and enforced by the DEA, sets absolute limits on the RX of Pain Medications.

        The policy is that no person needs more than 100mg of “Morphine Equivalent Dose” per day. Moreover, the FDA and DEA “audit” Drs. who Rx Pain Medications, to ensure that they are driving down the dose. Not that they are treating paid. That they are driving down the dose.

        Thus a Dr. is faced with the classical ethics choice—keep their business (practice) alive, or adhere to their ethical duties. Either loose their license—and livilhood—or agree to practice bad medicine.

        Be clear—reducing a patient’s dosage is NOT a treatment goal. The treatment goal is reducing a patient’s chronic pain to the point that they can enjoy a reasonable quality of life; the standard is to compare what they did before, what others do, and the overall standard of living by age group. The main factors are the sustainability of the treatment protocol and the patient’s reactions to then therapy.

        Arbitrary reduction is not a medical procedure, nor is it a solution to any sort of actual issue in abuse of opioid drugs. Afflicting political grandstanding on actual pain patients to make up for lousy oversight in the past is poor medicine.

        At the Austin OPC, they do not even have a Pain Management Specialist. The one guy available works at the Temple Clinic, but he does not “believe in” opioids. The Patient Advocate at the VA informed me that I could not see my civilian-side Pain Management Drs because he was “too expensive”; but my Drs. asserts he sees other pain patients on CHAMPS and CHOICE. You can guess which Patient Advocate this was.

        Instead, they are creating one among actual chronic pain patients and Pain Management

  7. The Veterans Administration. “I CARE” program is back firing in their face. As a veteran working for the VA, I proudly put that pin on my veteran hat after my new hire orientation, I wear everyday I go to work. I want the other VA workers to see a Veteran really does care more than the average civilian employee does. I would like to challenge other veteran VA workers to do the same. Let’s stand together for one another.

  8. Most of the WWII Vets are gone. The same thing is happening to the Korean and Vietnam Vets. The VA is just waiting us out and hoping for a high body count for their problems to go away.

  9. The VA needs to go away. Its been fuck up after fuck up. 3000 mis diagnoses. Dentist that likes spread aids all we do is throw bonuses of millions of dollars to there fuckups! If the VA would just go to a administration only. I thought I was getting great health care and trusted my dr. I didnt know any better they destroyed my life with all there fuck ups. there no accountability. If you drop out of med school I can probably get you a referral to your nearest va! We have so many suicides because these vets are being left to wait years and left to die!

    The only people the VA gets rid of are whistle blowers veterans and the disabled

  10. Federal goverment announced in march 2019 they are lowering the percentage of numbers to meet by hiring vets. They dont want you working for them and they dont want to give you disability. Kick to the nutts!

  11. Price of freedom is complete garbage when you have a government that kills off its own people. There is no privacy in this country. Retaliation is live and well ask any whistle blower that works in the federal government. Its all a delusion illusion. The greatest country in the world that leaves its veterans, homless and disabled to die. This is genocide. We have invaded other countries for the same shit our government does. Didn’t even know the cia caused the cocaine epidemic watch killing the messenger. Opioid crisis is government infused. By there drugs its illegal by the government drugs that’s ok!. Still cant figure out how a jet puts a huge hole in the pentagon that has a wing spand and its perfect circle no wings hit the pentagon can someone explain this to me?

  12. There’s a shortage of doctors for mental health, so they hire anyone with gold star on their head. Mental health is extremely private and it doesn’t work as should, my shrink specializes in geriatrics and I’m 50. Since need to feel comfortable and a lot of times people need to find someone they trust, with personalities that don’t clash and that means you might have to change doctors until you find that match. The VA doesn’t care as long as veterans are getting appointments and notes in records. They once told me that I had a difficult case since multiple problems and set up an appointment. Wasn’t a psychiatrist, psychologist or a counselor, was assigned to a student and I was her first patient. Difficult case wtf so I asked to speak to the Doctor over her because I had concerns, they said no, they read her notes and agreed with her treatment plan. She wasn’t experienced to write a treatment plan, so you are supposed to be given a choice of seeing a student or a doctor. So when asked they said no, I said what about being a difficult case? No reply

  13. Remember freedom of speech is only free till they want to use it against you in court

  14. Dems demand Mueller report must be released in toto, even though that would be against the law… . They could gaf about details of the many veteran suicides hidden by VA to cover-up the useless mental health care at VA and the real reason for all these veteran suicides: a warren of red tape and bureaucracy, indifferent and hostile VA emploee’s, a could care-less congress and populace. Worried about copy cat suicides my arse.

    1. Im lost the muller report is complete garbage What does it have to do with veterans. You cant take bad dossier in front of a judge use bad evidence and get convictions it criminal justice 101 fruit of the poisoness tree. all these convictions will have to be thrown out . no matter if your republican,Democrat or I dont give a shit party

    2. I’m lost on the Muller report what does it have to due with veterans. You can’t use bad evidence to get convictions this will all be thrown out its criminal justice 101. It dosn’t matter if your democrat, republican or I don’t give a shit party

  15. listen to fox radio or cnn what ever your preferance and call in live, Call the news station. This is a holocaust on our own people!

  16. God rest their tortured yet beloved souls-Amen

    I have an article I read the other day that I think will explain everything, not only about the VAHCS but also the business of medicine in general:

    The demise of medicine: A neurologist advocates for patients and is silenced

    Physicians are overwhelmed by patient loads, 10-minute visits, the wealth of documentation dictated by health insurance requirements and the overwhelming overtaking of medicine by non-physician personnel. Wellness programs abound, which addresses the symptoms of a problem.

    As medicine changed from patient to profit-centered, it marked the beginning of the end. We see articles on physicians fired or coerced into resignation for speaking up about non-physicians overstepping boundaries putting patients at risk. Physicians are “disruptors.” We see non-physicians calling themselves doctors when they are not doctors of medicine managing the most complex cases in the hospital setting. Appointments are reduced to staring at a computer rather than looking at the patient to construct their stories. This is health care. Medicine evolves into big business.

    The bond between physician and patient is sacred. When it’s broken, the system collapses.

    Sound familiar?

    Peace Out

  17. Facebook Page

    March on Washington for Veterans and the disabled left to die by this Goverment

  18. We tortured, disabled veterans need to march on Washington d.c. if a fight is necessary to save our lives and our brothers lives then so be it! The veterans administration is The AMERICAN VETERANS HOLOCOST! The only thing left for the v.a. is to ratio our see. No. on the inside if our arms.

    1. I totally agree Im down for a march on washington! I think we should also get the disabled left to die by the social security administration too which are alot of veterans also. that help fill the streets!

    2. No one seems to know how to set up a March on Washington. I have a traumatic brain injury and I agree.

      If someone knows anyone who can help set this up. I am willing to help . Many veterans on this site, for years, have been speaking about a march on Washington.

      No one seems to not know how to go about doing this.

      Some of you may not know, that VA employees come and post on this site and will spread their lies.

    3. Just pisses me off that the media says nothing about us Desert Storm 91 veterans and how there are 275,000 of us SICK. When people ask me I tell them…at least 2 everyday if I go out and NO civilian has heard of our sicknesses. We need to get the word OUT through the media; but, they are too busy creating bullshit for investigations and costing taxpayers out the ass. Congress is a bunch of losers and whiners…..instead of denying our health packages, etc, they should be passing immigration laws and veteran legislation; but, the TRUTH is that would REQUIRE thinking and they are all knuckleheads regardless of party. They don’t under legislate. We need term limits and get the old fucks OUT.

  19. I respect your opinion but have seen a lot of progress under Trump I’m on team veteran!

    1. Please, let us all know the progress ?. What have they made progress in. Where do we find the laws and the, confirming your statement.

      Where is the proof.

  20. Time for a “Root Cause Analysis” add to that a study on wealth disparities. We can approach the problem carefully, epidemiologically. Institute of Medicine get involved here with the National Academies of Science and stop the foot dragging. Forget the 1-800#, that’s more foot dragging and hasty spending.

    Write a book: “Crossing the Suicide Chasm” ( Crossing the Quality Chasm, 2001).

  21. Attrition, it’s an entirely new concept in mental health treatment. I’s a bit slower than outright injecting the vet with medication, but it leaves no perceived guilty part on the VA. I’m surprised it’s only 20-22 vets a day

  22. God rest their beloved soul…

    …and meanwhile this vile administration & secretive VA ‘advisors’ are focused on how to rob & steal VA resources which can help Veterans … I blame trump and his criminal enterprise…!!!

  23. thought about ending life asked for help told I was selfish will never ask for help again next time its over!

    1. justpissonthem…..That’s crazy. Suicide should never be on the agenda. Fuck the VA but not ur family.

  24. I thought the va was bad the social security system worse you have almost 2 million people pissed off at this government. Our brother that in federal court for making threats but the government has left millions to die and none seems to care about there genocide.

  25. I just received a letter from, “the committee” at the Rosenberg ore can v.a. notifying me that I have been judged by the same yo to be
    “a disruptive” person. They based there decision on an incident that happened last week. During this incident I started to question my new “primary care provider; the 9th primary care provider in 12 months. A recently discharged navy nurse. I asked him;
    How long have you worked at the v.a.? What was his academic background? He informed me that it was not important and none of my business. I then asked him how I was going to deal with my pain (s), I.e.; congestive heart failure, 5 types of chronic arthritis, duprytrends disease, paralysis from c5 down, massive problems from 40 types of medications. He informed me that it was not his problem and that I should tell my doctor about it. In quickly informed him, he was my doctor. He then told me if I continued this line of questioning the appointment would be terminated. At this point I terminated the appointment, informing him that he was “fuc king useless! An understatement to say the least! I then informed him that “he” was the epitmy of why veterans commit suicide. He informed me that it was the veterans choice to commit suicide. That if unwanted to commit suicide, that would be my choice.
    I then called him a fucking killer!

    1. WOW Chris!

      You gotta chill for a while , maybe toke on some good stuff if you get it. My guitar song for you this afternoon .

      I know you’re fed up, stay cool brother…

  26. The issue with getting help is it puts a stigmas on you than noone wants to hire you including the federal goverment as emails came down to get rid of there disabled employees

  27. Every Veteran’s experience with VHA is different. It may be because I started with the VHA last fall but I’ve only received care at the same level as my civilian HC prior to getting authorized. The day I received my final approval at the Atlanta VHA was the day last June that John Watts (Air Force Veteran) killed himself at the State Capitol building in Atlanta. It was a tough day at the hospital that day with employees asking, what could we have done better? I wondered, what did I just get myself into? It hasn’t been a bad experience. I use the Atlanta hospital and Blairsville, GA clinic. Every doctor, nurse, technician, admin person I’ve engaged with has been on par with the civilians I interfaced with when I had a PPO plan through my employer. I’m not saying that sub-par employees aren’t out there, they may well be, I haven’t run into any in my care at the VHA. It is easy to blame the government for the troubles but it is a real stretch to blame President Trump like I read in a previous comment. I tried to get VHA services after my discharge in the 80s and it was a terrible experience to the point that even the DAV gave up trying to help. My injuries that I now get care for happened on active duty in the 70s & early 80s. The difference in process from 1982-85 compared to last year was eye opening, I’d estimate it was a 1,000 times easier under this administration. I recently read an article based on a study that Veteran suicide rate has dropped and indicated it was equal to civilians in the same stress related conditions. Any Veteran suicide, as with a civilian suicide, is horrible and we should continue to investigate the causes and eliminate them when found. It seems to me, in what I have read on the subject, that it is frustration with the VHA process that is the driver in veteran suicide. Finding a way to react quickly to each and every Veteran showing these frustrations is where the investment needs to be. In my opinion.

  28. Veterans believe or not some Veteran Medical Centers Don’t have a PTSD MEETING any suggestions how that we can have to get a meeting have a PTSD at every Veteran Medical Centers?

  29. CORRECT # 1-800-273-8255, PRESS 1 IF YOU ARE A VETERAN!!!
    You HAVE can also call 1-800-273-8255.

    1. take that number and shove it where the sun down shine because that number is useless and doesn’t shine a shit of hope in your shitty comment. need that Weihrich boot right in your mouth fuck head!!!

    2. Anyone that thinks the veterans crisis line is useful, tell it to the 657 veterans who committed suicide in march! The veterans administration are killers, the enemy of American veterans!

      1. Christopher, can u tell me where u found that 657 number cause I have been looking for a site where I can find the truth on suicides?

    3. Another useless phone number and just another way for them to mark your record as someone screwed up. It’s ridiculous how bad veterans are treated. Veterans are never believed and healthcare sucks because all they want you to do is get hooked on pills and then 20 years later take them away from you. They rush you in & out. Their notes reveal the opposite of what you say. That even mix up your gender. They give fake diagnosis and then steal the money from your insurance companies. I recently had a charge of over $16,000 to my insurance and the device only cost $2015. I was service-connected for that device. I’m tired of the fight with VBA & VHA. If I wasn’t sick, I wouldn’t be going to the VA and I’m only sick due to the government’s mishandling of everything! Politicians cannot negotiate and they create wars. They want us to protect them overseas and then come home to be cast out. They can’t even admit that we were exposed to sarin gas. My question is how could 275,000 GW Veterans be sick with the same symptoms and we don’t even know one another to conspire all of this? There’s only one common denominator and that is the government’s lies to cover up the truth and how much longer must we suffer?

  30. As I’ve stated many times before, “SHUT DOWN THE VA!” Then give ALL veterans a card to use for our healthcare.

    Have y’all noticed almost all of these suicides occur on VA property. That tells me right off it was the VA which caused the vet to off themselves!
    Therefore, How can the VA fix what they have broken!

  31. I’m sure a reasonable amount of the suicides could easily be prevented, simply by the VA stop treating disabled Vets like they are the problem. Start treating us like clients, as a business, like they actually want to help us be healthier. Beyond that, the VA could perhaps stop denying so many mental health claims, and stop lowballing them too. They told me that I don’t rate the 70% PTSD rating due to suicidal thoughts being the only notable symptom in that level, that I have.

    If they don’t think it’s serious enough to warrant the higher rating, how can I possible believe they are serious about wanting to prevent it? Every one of us that dies, is one less they have to pay disability to.

  32. As said before,we cannot solve veterans sucide until we address all suicide. There is no university that offers a degree in mental health. This is a flawed program sponsored by the money machine that believes that throwing money at a problem solves it. A toll free number is not the answer!

    1. @Lgs—> I do not ENTIRELY agree. I do feel you are correct in seeing the fundamentals as being the same. But I feel as though Veterans often have stressors that are not even remotely relatable to the broader swath of society.

      On the other hand….I could be biased. One of the great things about writing a thought out, is that sometimes one sees a weakness one didn’t realise! How do the numbers look for suicides generally, versus Veteran suicides? Ben Krause often states that veteran suicides are higher? If so, then asking why is a valid treatment question.

      Let’s certainly agree that more mental health professionals, supporting staff, and infrastructure, are all better uses of money than FaceBook ads?

  33. “VA will not disclose the identities or circumstances of the suicides, which is standard protocol at the agency out of concern of copycat suicides. The agency (and some academics) believes reporting on suicide puts the public at risk.”
    Let reporters instead opine wall-to-wall coverage to non-copycat stories like mass-murder (excepting of course, those committed by VA personnel onto a military veterans).

    ““Suicide prevention is VA’s highest clinical priority,” the VA said in a prepared statement. “We are working alongside dozens of partners, including [the Department of Defense], to deploy suicide prevention programming that supports all current and former service members — even those who do not come to VA for care.””
    Yea right! Some nimrod thinks forcing veterans to read and hear the word ‘suicide’ at every VA encounter will keep doing it out of the thought process. Put it on billboards and flood the airwaves and make sure every VA phone extension blasts the message before anyone can (maybe) speak with a human. Much saner than reporting on any actual event likely caused from lack of genuine medical care never provided by VHA. Another prime example of stellar VHA common NON-sense!

    You asked, “So, what can be done?
    VA suggests the solution should be to pull in all veterans into the VA medical system to prevent suicide. But, it would seem a lot of the veterans are committing suicide right on the agency’s doorsteps.
    How can more access to VA health care solve the problem?”
    It’s very simple! The reality of it is, that we want all VHA providers to actually provide us with the genuine medical care that all hunans deserve to expect from every provider we encounter, at every visit for ANY need we may have. PERIOD! If the facilities are going to borrow physicians and specialists from private medicine to provide diagnoses and care to sc veterans, then ALLOW them to give that same measure of care they provide to their private practice patients! This Kiss-A-Boo-Boo, Pat-On-The-Head, “We’ll see ya next year, okay!” VHA crap does not help anyone, EVER!

    In charge of it all, we have a Dufus in Chief, intent on playing Political Apprentice while designing an “anti-climbing wall” and proclaiming “We need to get rid of the Judges!” Hmm, no signs of dictatorial rule there, eh? No need to follow The Constitution of The United States of America that he (and we, along with every member of Congress, and etc.) swore to defend against all enemies.
    Is logical thinking being bred out of the human psyche? Are our decision makers chosen because they lack critical thinking skills? Don’t even get me started on ethics!

    1. How does EVERY problem in this country end up being Trump’s fault??? I was totally tracking with you and nodding my head until you got to the Trump-the-whipping-boy part. Practically everything he touches has improved in this country. Maybe a more productive tack would be to get him to shift his attention from some of the other dozens of important issues in this country, get the democrats to quit their stupid “Russia Collusion and Everything Else” distractions, and turn his considerable firepower on this problem.

    2. With respect…to Rosie and Chris…

      who is President, which Party some one supports or believes in, or anything else to do with Party Politics…

      …has nothing to do with Veteran Suicides. They are flat. They have been flat for a LONG, LONG TIME.

      Neither Party has a political solution to the problem, because it is NOT a political problem. No one person or Person caused it, nor will one person or Person solve it. Arguing about Trump or Obama or Warren G. Harding does not advance our discourse about Veterans killing themselves.

      My nickel.

      1. I disagree Chris that it is not a political problem. As long as the VA is funded and overseen by politicians, there will be political problems with every aspect of the VA.

        Why is Isakson only noticing and speaking out on suicide by veterans now? Is it simply because as VA chairman he looks bad having it happen in his state?

        A huge part of the problem with the VA is that far too many politicians are more interested in making sure their friends/donors in contracting or in other areas are getting a part of the VA pie, and veterans care is an afterthought.

    3. Trump has no more to do with suicides than Obama or Bush did. The VA is responsible for everything. We veterans are tired of being called liars when we are in chronic pain especially us 1991 Desert Storm veterans who have been shifted and shafted from Day#1. As I open this article, I was sitting here crying which is totally abnormal because I just received a health e vet secure msg from my audiologist saying that she could no longer be my doctor because she’s only taking new hearing aid patients. This makes me so sad because I am deaf & she has been my doctor for a few years and understands the grief that I go through on a daily basis. Her heart is big as gold & I don’t know if I can cope with all of this without her. I do NOT want a new doctor. I’ve had to go to this site today with my PCP. I had a wonderful female PCP Doctor who beat cancer and then actually committed suicide. For almost 4 years I’ve had to deal with a male PCP & although he is nice, I just haven’t felt it with him. We veterans are TIRED. The chronic pain never stops. My tinnitus never stops. I was the mailman and had to quit my job that I love so much because I have neuropathy and I couldn’t get my foot up in the mail truck anymore. I couldn’t hear the sirens & I was getting lost on the roads I had delivered mail on for over 20 years due to my inability to to sleep at night, lack of concentration and overall my brain bleeping out. VBA reduced my bilateral hearing loss from 50 to 0% as if I could hear again. We fight and fight and fight for our benefits and are compensation and then in 10 seconds, VBA wipes it away. All of these health problems have caused many divorces and then we have to deal with our children’s health issues —All due to Gulf War Illnesses & YET the gov’t turns a guilty eye— still 28 years later & will NOT admit the TRUTH.
      We are tired. I have chronic inflammation and chronic pain. VBA drags everything out & this is so WRONG. We need answers & we are stressed out. Claim responses yearSSSS later is ridiculous and the Homeless Veteran situation is even more ridiculous. To say that millions of taxpayer dollars are spent on something Veteran related is utterly shameful when none of this money would have to be spent if politicians could negotiate instead of sending us to war. This is never to be blamed on the taxpayers when it is definitely a politician decision & failure.
      Suicide can be blamed on VHA & VBA. Veterans NEED more stability and the VA does not offer this. VBA raters who procrastinate and do not respond to the claims should be fired immediately. There should be no backlog of claims and no claim should take more than six months. It took over five months just to transcribe my DRO recording to paper. Why is this step even necessary and why can’t the DRO make a decision at the meeting ? It is just another procrastination step & then the claim is thrown back into the queue for someone else to read and comprehend to make a decision when the regional DRO already knows what’s happening. Veterans are stressed at EVERY level & we are SICK. Stress only makes inflammation worse and everything else worse. There’s no consideration for the veteran for we have to learn everything medically and legally to fight our own cases ALONE because for the most part, DAV, VFW and the American Legion leave us behind as well . I am TIRED of the fight. We NEED HELP & for many, unfortunately, the only help is Death. Sometimes I even think, it would’ve been simpler just to have come home in a pine box.

      1. Hi Karen, I sorry you could no longer do your job at the Post Office, Your Conditions from Desert Storm are well understood by me,. The Chronic Inflammation is the underline culprit, of Desert Storm Veterans, stated by Dr Bach. Minneapolis ,Mn V.A. Clinical Trials, The Government does need to take the Alfred plea on Gulf War ILlness, been to long to have our bodies breaking down from the Chemical War fare, and the Anthrax Vaccination, and many other friendly fire recipes we we’re subject to, the y reduce me also, sanctions for telling the truth and asking questions. If they really want to help Veterans. Offer us a I time buyout.

      2. Thanks, John & sorry to hear about ur conditions as well. I just paid out the pocket BUCKS for umbilical cord stem cell therapy for 4 shots…one in each knee and each shoulder then an IV drip. Been doing physical therapy 3X a week and just starting to be able to walk & raise my arms. Too bad the VA cannot help us instead of making accusations and doping us up with a bunch of pills making for more sicknesses! Good Luck, Brother. Hope we all get better!

    4. Good point on the suicide comments blasted out before speaking with a human.

      And WTF is suicide prevention programming? Do I need my operating system software updated? Do I need an updated driver installed?

      As long as they look at the issue bureacratically, the suicide rate will never change.

    5. I am not going to foster a political debate over the absolute facts about how our government is being dismantled crumb by crumb every single day by some person commanding total loyalty to perpetuating that same spoon-fed destruction, or get fired! I will not rejoice over a handful of positive outcomes either. There will always a smidgen of goodies passed around before the hammer falls. Fish rots from the head.

      Cabinet and Administrative officials have been led by the bull ring into ‘Acting ___’ positions in many of our government departments. BTW it isn’t lost on me that some of those persons will do the boss’ bidding with hopes of securing that Secretary/Director of ____ title, while acting just like crabs in a bucket! A few of the many are Defense, SBA, Customs, FEMA, ICE, IG, and FAA, they are all run under an acting head. There are no less than 15 vacancies being filled by ‘acting ___’ and there’s plenty more on the horizon.

      Do not forget about all of the moving department heads within the DVA during this administration. This constant of moving parts filters down even to VHA patient care! How many sc veterans here have stated having more than two primary providers within a year or two and without asking for the change? I have to wonder if the high turnover of VHA practitioners has just a bit to do with people actually activating their individual conscience and feeling a wee bit guilty for stomping on their oath while providing NON-care, because some head said do it that way or leave.

      They also need to make more room for those coming home, I get it. But I think, if given the choice, many veterans, sc or not yet, might prefer to get their routine care from their family physician, paid for by VHA. Uncle has been deliberately churning the ‘war machine’ since Korea and every war, conflict and skirmish has produced veterans needing genuine medical care. Every sc veteran has earned their VHA hc and they have been promised that it would be provided by Uncle through VHA coffers. The war profiteers should be heavily taxed, THAT alone would pay for all veterans healthcare and additional services needed.

      Healthcare has become very expensive for all of us in one form or another, in lack of services or too costly services, veteran and/or civilian alike. There are hundreds of thousands of workers in the hc insurance industry, and VHA is one of the largest employers. Anything related to hc is ripe fruit for investing just like real estate was a couple of decades ago. Does anyone think they’re going to rush into making it go the way of whale-bone corsets any time soon? NO! They will to keep stringing people along until we need ice skates in Hades. Death by a thousand cuts kind of thing.

      Removing or whittling down of services, departments or providers for sc veterans contributes greatly to the emotional state of any individual thinking on any given day. Hiring fresh out of book-learning counselors that wouldn’t know an ‘about-hace’ from an ‘attench-hut’ won’t be of real help to any combat vet I’ve known. Department heads just keep cranking the heat under the pressure cooker while taking bets on when it’s gonna blow.

      1. Rosie,

        We veterans often go for the throat, verbally speaking! Hold on a second, and re-read my post.

        ALL I’m talking about is Suicide. Period. Not about governance, not about corruption, not about misogyny, racism, xenophobia, or the fact that the President of the United States is a psychotic narcissist. OK?

        I just don’t believe the facts support blaming this issue on Trumpet. Or Obama. Or GW.

        I do see you core point, and agree with it—the Boss sets the tone. And maybe things are going to turn out to be way worse when the numbers catch up to now.

        But at the moment, veterans kill themselves at a terrifyingly constant rate. That should tell us all that the problem is deeper and more complex than Party Politics. It is a core problem with service, war, and peace.

        I do not know your service. But certainly you will appreciate that it is difficult to “come home”. Partly, I believe, it is because we create a “Home” that isn’t real—it is the place we yearn to go back to, but can’t. Party it is because we do not belong there, anymore, and that hurts.

        Somewhere in there, between the joys and terrors of war, the haven-is-home, and the brutality and suddenness of the “transition” from war to civilian life, are the core issues which we must find a way to reach, if we are to cut down on Veteran Suicides.

        I am very careful in my arguments. Please don’t read into them assertions I have not made. You’ll find the Party R guys like to do the same—I’m often accused of being a “lefty liberal millennial” &c…

        I’m what used to be pretty common in a Democratic Republic—a Centrist. I like compromise. I like freedom balanced with the greater good. I like protecting minority rights against the tyranny of the majority, but also fostering assimilation. I like the Constitution. A lot. And to me, the Constitution is all about compromise.

        So, please, take me at my words…but no more, and no less.

        Thanks sister.

    6. In reading comments from this and the next article, and stumbling upon this 20 minute interview, “”, I did some further reflection.

      In some previous posts I have made mention of the segregation of care offered to veterans by VHA and the fact that VHA would be your primary hc insurance company if you are using VHA facilities and get an annual letter telling you that same information. A month or so ago, a veteran wrote that on her intake form for a mammogram at a civilian facility, it was asked if she is a veteran. I found out that this is a common question now on civilian intake forms. Why? I am sure it has everything to do with VHA insurance and access to your (many times) fouled information in your VHA medical records done by the rotating (sometimes student) providers. I would garner that VHA insurance as your primary, will demand that civilian facilities provide the same level of NON-care the patient would get at a VHA facility, or the civilian facility/provider gets no payment and the patient is stuck with the bill for services rendered, …just like civilian hc insurers have done all along.

      Civilian insurance companies segregate care among their insureds by offering differing plans at different co-pay, deductible, covered services and etc., at varying levels in their business format. VHA insurance does exactly the same by segregating of services for veterans. The difference is in the staff that Uncle has given reign to perform however they want, toward any sc veteran they deem deserving, in any manner they so choose and because they are under the Federal umbrella, they can freely act out and remain viable in continuing the same in perpetuity. TRI-CARE patients get a totally different scenario of care from their insurance in that those veteran patients pay premiums, and they are among the loudest to proclaim how wonderful VHA facilities are at providing services to them and their dependents. Some other veterans using VHA facilities have their own privately provided insurance that VHA taps to provide better and more timely services to those patients. This is NOT how a majority of sc veterans are being cared for under VHA/Choice insured care in VHA or civilian facilities accepting or denying VHA insurance and/or its restrictions toward the medical requirements of sc veterans.

      By taking those many differences in very different TRI-CARE/Private/VHA/Choice plans of insurance provided to veterans for use at VHA or civilian facilities, and the care discrepancies incurred into consideration, I feel we can better understand where each of us is coming from in our individual experience and related in posts, whether the VHA care provided is perfect, acceptable, or NON-existent. As mentioned by Ben, now they hope to (in my words) rope-in & hog-tie ALL veterans into VHA’s hc programming, (implying it’s to provide stellar NON-care to prevent suicides). I am not buying it. Rather, I think it’s a step toward forcing all veterans to receive the segregated controlled care that VHA wants to dole out. As in a workplace provided hc plan, everyone employed there has to participate in that chosen plan first. After all VHA is also a hc business, and all of those veterans with private insurance and not using VHA facilities, well, that would be a profitable resource of funding for free-will spending!

      I don’t recall for sure but i think it was ‘CBS Sunday Morning’, recently reporting in depth about well-rated rural (and some urban) hospitals closing down because they can not provide proper care to their patients under the current insurance fiasco. It is my opinion, that in its entirety, the healthcare industry has evolved totally into monkey-see monkey-do and exploited ACA and VHA into a monster that needs to be contained, … and done yesterday! Look for example, at the catastrophe created by the war-mongers and Perdue Pharma in joint forces, and all of those dollar profits being doled out only in cherry-picked areas to maximize zero federal tax payment opportunities, …while we all suffer the repercussions of those decisions.

      @Lauren Price,
      thank you for your summary, spot on! The video link also points that it is much the same throughout civilian hc as well. Family doctors are becoming extinct in favor of every manner of specialty providers.

      I take no issue with your post(s). We’re fine Bro.

  34. VA suggests the solution should be to pull in all veterans into the VA medical system to prevent suicide.

    Let me be perfectly clear. If the government tries to pull me into anything I don’t consent to. It wont be suicide the Government has to worry about.

    1. The VA can’t handle the veterans who want VA care now, so what makes these damn clowns believe mandating every veteran showing up at the VA will fix anything?

      What if a veteran chose not to be a pet monkey in their circus?

      As for funding canceling their public affairs campaigns, you pointed out correctly Ben that it has done nothing to reduce suicide anyway, so why continue wasting the money on some contractor? I suspect their campaign was little more than printing pamphlets to be put in some rack on a wall at the VA next to the travel fraud posters, with the majority of the funding siphoned off for other schemes.

      As for Isakson, his words read like he is still stuck in a time from 15 years ago.
      Stigma on getting treatment for PTSD? If that horses ass reviewed suicides, he would find the examples mentioned by Ben who were either trying to get care, or those who had their care terminated. Fancy PR campaigns and slogans from 15 years ago is not going to reduce suicides.
      Sticking veterans with nurse practioners and physicians assistants who can’t make it in the private sector and don’t give a damn about veterans care might be an area to start looking at.

      1. Accurately stated!
        “Campaigns” do not provide care. Finally, we have a Presidential Administration that comprehends maximum return on investment spending vs “check the box” posters. Granted, communication is pivotal; but shouldn’t it be targeted (in lieu of blanketed) and money saved to utilized toward actual “mental health care”.

      2. Exactly… since we’re pet monkeyed by so intern trying to finish their degree…every 12 weeks a new intern repeating what the last ones did…sad!

      3. That horses ass Isakson doesn’t review anything. He just talks out both sides of his mouth. All talk and NOTHING! ” He is very saddened” I’m sure.

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