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Why We Need to Prioritize Our Veteran’s Mental Health: Reason #1

Posted on Friday, August 4, 2023
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by Outside Contributor
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6 Comments

By: Greg Boucher

Veteran Mental Health

The Veterans Administration (VA) 2022 annual report cited 6,146 Veteran suicide deaths in 2020. So, it should be evident to everyone that this is a problem here! You got that right if you are doing the math at home. We lost on average 17 of our nation’s finest human beings every day. Let that sink in for a minute.

That means a Veteran kills themselves every 52 minutes!

And, this stat does not even account for the Veterans who have attempted suicide.

So, what is being done about this? Well, there are many good folks at the VA who work hard and truly care about Veteran mental health, however, more needs to be done. The VA recently launched a national initiative to educate the medical community and others about suicide prevention strategies.

The problem with the VA that has always hurt Veterans is the government bureaucracy. Veterans need real, direct, and specific treatment for their mental health struggles, with the best medical professionals available. VA hospitals and medical providers are inundated with cases, and Veterans wait too long to get treated. Resources like telehealth are not suitable for Veterans who are under an imminent threat to themselves or someone else!

So what does prioritizing our Veteran’s health mean?

It starts with realizing that buzzwords and blanket funding to the VA is not the answer. Every man and woman who committed suicide is not just a statistic on a spreadsheet. No, they were a mother, father, son, daughter, and friend who put themselves in harm’s way to ensure our freedom.

We can prioritize these heroes by spending less time on public relations campaigns for things like the “War in Ukraine” or other Public Service Announcements (PSA) about nonsense. In the time I have spent writing this a Veteran committed suicide.

So, I challenge everyone to study the issue and do what they can to spread the message of why we need to prioritize our Veteran’s mental health!

Let us stand together to help Veterans get the mental health, support, and intervention they need and deserve. We can break down the barriers of bureaucracy and use all our resources as citizens to step up and make a difference. Stay tuned for Reason #2 Homelessness and #3 Substance Abuse coming soon. God Bless our Veterans and this great Country!

 

Gregory Boucher Ed.D is a 30 year law enforcement professional. He has spent the last 18 years as a federal agent and is also a Chief Petty Officer in the USCG. Gregory is an Adjunct Professor at Endicott College and a Guest Lecturer at the University of Tampa.

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Bobby
Bobby
7 months ago

incredibly important conversation here. sickening that this is going on. kudos to you Greg for shining some light here.

Sean B
Sean B
8 months ago

Powerful work. We need more people to take this issue seriously. Leadership and peers should be taking note and put “guardrails” in place to keep our community on the right path. This is an issue that can be solved through a collective effort, education and de-stigmatization of getting help.

Jeanette
Jeanette
8 months ago

I agree that all Vets should be taken care of immediately. It is what we owe them for keeping us free. Stop the damn bureaucracy and take care of our heroes.
Cannot wait to read your next article.

Tim Saucier
Tim Saucier
8 months ago

The govt really need to start making this a higher priority. You hit the nail on the head.

John S
John S
8 months ago

Not only prioritizing healthcare at the VA but open up avenues outside the VA that can be used more easily by veterans when their local area can’t support the bandwidth. Bureaucratic hurdles to getting referred to private programs and getting reimbursed should be addressed. Too often, I have seen veterans call for help from the VA only to be told they need to wait 4-6 months before they can get a spot in a VA program.

Nancy
Nancy
8 months ago

Yes agreed! Amazing article, we need work to be done ASAP!!!

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