Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Veterans Suicide Rate

It was estimated by the Department of Veterans Affairs that as many as 22 veterans take their own lives every day. 

In Feb. 2015, President Obama signed a law aimed at trying to reduce the suicide rate among vets.  The legislation was named after Clay Hunt, a Marine Corps veteran who killed himself in 2011 after serving tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  The law is designed to make it easier for veterans to access mental health services and to get more psychiatrists into the VA to provide that care. 

Robert McDonald, who is the secretary of Veterans Affairs was asked if the VA has a better understanding about common traits or experiences of service members who take their own lives.

He explained: “Well, I think some of the things that are common are those who may take their own lives are disconnected.  They're disconnected from family.  They're disconnected from friends.  So outreach becomes very important.  Of those roughly 22 veterans that we say on average create - do take their lives each day, 17 of them, we estimate, are not connected to the VA.  And what we need to do is get those 17 connected because we know how to treat this.  It's an illness, and we can solve it.

The new law is designed to create a centralized website with mental health information for veterans, but also defer student loan payments for psychiatry students to entice them into careers at the VA.  That pilot program would only amount to 10 students a year over a three-year period, but it’s been an important first step.  The next step is referred to as the Choice Act.  It would be able to increase the amount of medical school student loans that could be paid off from $60,000 to $120,000.


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