September is National Suicide Prevention Month. During this month, mental health professionals and advocates work to prevent suicide. Efforts are not only dedicated to preventing the rate of suicide, but also to help communities who are at a greater risk for committing suicide.
Veterans, for example, are at a much higher risk for developing mental health conditions that often go untreated and lead to this tragic result. Now more than ever it’s important to give emotional support to veterans. We need to keep our veterans safe.
Studies show that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. The typical state suicide rate for veterans is typically much higher than the general population. This means that, on average, the proportion of casualties for suicidal veterans is greater than non-service members who commit suicide in our country.
These statistics are shocking, considering that suicide can be prevented with enough awareness and the right resources for those struggling. There are countless factors that contribute to suicidal thoughts and acts for veterans. Things like combat exposure, substance abuse, injury, struggle to return to civilian life, and military sexual drama all add to the risk of self-harm and committing suicide.
The truth of the matter is that a large majority of veterans experience all these factors and more because of the nature of their jobs. By serving the country, veterans often put others’ safety above their own. This is exactly why having resources in place for veterans to seek preventative and active mental health care is so essential in preventing suicide.
Knowing the signs of mental health issues like PTSD, substance abuse, and the risk of suicide can be challenging. Keep an eye out for the following mood or behavioral changes:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Making risky, impulsive decisions
- New or worsening mental illness symptoms
- Misuse of drugs (illicit or prescribed) and alcohol
Always seek help right away if you or someone you know is currently unsafe. Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 to reach caring and qualified responders.
Whether Veterans are looking for clinical care, counseling, assistance with benefits, or something else, local and national tools and resources are available at the Veterans Crisis Line website.
Toxic Burn Pit in Southwest Asia
The Department of Veterans Affairs recently created a fast-track to disability compensation for certain veterans who developed asthma, rhinitis or sinusitis because of their exposure to burn pits during overseas deployments.
The VA announced it will now process disability claims for those conditions on a presumptive basis, which lowers the amount of evidence that veterans must provide to receive benefits.
For more information visit:
Three conditions will be added to the list of those presumptively associated with exposure to Agent Orange. Those conditions are bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism.
Vietnam War era Veterans and their survivors, who previously filed and were denied benefits for one of these three new presumptive conditions, will have their cases automatically reviewed without the need to refile a claim. To learn more, go to https://blogs.va.gov/VAntage/89496/breaking-news-va-plans-expansion-benefits-disability-claims-conditions-related-certain-toxic-exposures/
There are currently about 8 million people in the United States with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Even though PTSD treatments work, most people who have PTSD do not get the help they need. Help spread the word that effective PTSD treatments are available. Everyone with PTSD—whether they are Veterans or civilian survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events—needs to know that treatments really do work and can lead to a better quality of life.
PTSD is a mental health disorder that results from experiencing a traumatic event. This includes any event that is experienced personally, witnessed, or learned about that causes feelings of extreme fear, helplessness, or horror. Examples include experiencing a natural disaster, a serious accident, war, rape, or other violent personal assaults. It is not uncommon for one to experience trauma.
According to the National Center for PTSD, about 60% of men and 50% of women experience at least one incidence of trauma in their lives. Nearly everyone who experiences a traumatic event will have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping and may experience PTSD symptoms for a period. However, over time, a process of recovery occurs naturally, and PTSD symptoms resolve on their own. For others, however, the symptoms persist and become interfering and distressing. PTSD is diagnosed when the symptoms last for at least one month.
During PTSD Awareness Month, and throughout the entire year, help raise awareness about the many different PTSD treatment options. You can make a difference in the lives of Veterans and others who have experienced trauma.
Frisco American Legion distributes over 700 masks to Frisco area residents, physical therapy clinic patients, and two Non-Profits
This past week the Frisco American Legion, Peter J, Courcy, Post 178 partnered with local businesses Classique Jewelers, Big Frog Custom T-Shirts and More, and EventHaus and distributed over 700 reusable cloth masks to local residents, local physical therapy clinics (to distribute to their patients in need), and two local Non-Profits, Frisco Family Services, and Frisco Fastpacs. The Legion 2nd Vice Commander, Rob Altman II, stated, “This particular service project was quite fun —we are truly blessed to live in a community, like Frisco, where the passion for service to others is so strong.”
Members of the American Legion, Peter J. Courcy, Post 178, distribute masks outside of Classique Jewelers.
2nd Vice Commander, Thor Anderson, delivers masks to Frisco Family Services.
2nd Vice Commander, Thor Anderson, delivers masks to Frisco Fastpacks
President Donald Trump on March 21 signed a bill into law that will ensure GI Bill benefits aren’t suspended for college programs forced to switch to distance learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Without the bill, tuition, housing, and subsistence allowances might have had to be suspended when schools switch from classroom to distance learning formats.
The Air Force Association joined a coalition of organizations that signed a March 17 letter to the leaders House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees urging quick action. With well over 100 educational institutions shuttered and transitioning to online coursework due to the virus, a rapid fix was necessary, they wrote.
“While all students are affected by these course changes, many military-connected students face urgent and unique impacts regarding receipt of GI Bill benefits that are tied to specific types of course approval,” the letter said.
Read the whole article here.