A 13-part series to illuminate the way forward in the grip of suicide, drug overdose, diabetic amputations, and mental health epidemics.
Readers in this space are all familiar with the headlines: Football leads to brain damage and CTE. Suicides continue to increase no matter how much more money DoD and the VA spend on Suicide Prevention strategies. Veterans are being subjected to BLAST injuries from their own weapons. Parents should avoid letting their children bang their heads in sports until they’re 14 years old. Society is experiencing increasing numbers of neurogenerative diseases at younger ages. More and more money is being spent on research to use psychoactive and hallucinogenic drugs to cope with mental health problems. 988 Suicide Crisis Line counselors are burned out, quitting, undertrained and understaffed.
From football fields to battlefields to America’s classrooms and assisted living facilities, citizens and policymakers and the medical profession are wondering what can be done about suicides, “mental health” and the growing sense that daily life is causing damage to our brains. Whether it’s sports, or legal and illegal drugs, or violence, or online abuse and bullying and shaming, or mass casualty events, or the suicide and opioid epidemics, increasing numbers of young and old have “mental health problems.” We seem to be losing our minds.
To a certain extent, what may seem like increased mental health challenges may be due to increased diagnoses stemming from better awareness and understanding. Increased media attention, social media, economic pressures, and isolation may contribute to higher awareness. Increased longevity and improved diagnoses may be behind seemingly larger numbers of age-related dementias.
But doesn’t it just seem that there’s an abnormal number of people suffering from diminished capacity? And that no matter how much we spend, we keep getting more pleas from victims, survivors, care givers, politicians, medical staff and social media for solutions? Congressional hearings, Foundation Annual reports, investigative reporting, government fact-finding, and personal experience make it obvious that we’re falling behind while the suicide and drug overdose and mental health epidemics worsen.
You’ve heard the adage: “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” The TreatNOW Coalition has been taking steps for over 15 years to light candles, to educate, to end Veteran suicides, and to change medicine. Thus, the start of this 13-part series to light several candles. Not only to point out problems, but much more importantly to offer solutions that already exist. The choice is between politics and progress, between cursing “wicked complex problems” and applying proven solutions. This series will bring you some central truths and, importantly, lay out solutions to the challenges posed by a perhaps misnamed “mental health crisis” in our military and across the country. Ensuing chapters will discuss the estimated $600 Billion per year mental health costs that are only projected to consume more of our national wealth. And the World Economic Forum projects that the cost of mental health conditions and their related consequences will rise to $6 trillion globally by 2030.
Together with the GruntStyle Foundation, TreatNOW and multiple other organizations aim to arrest and reverse the suicide and prescribed drug overdose death epidemics afflicting our Veterans, Armed Forces, and society. Both the VA and DoD have declared that suicide prevention is their #1 clinical priority. Based on budget choices, it would seem we’re serious about finding and applying, quickly, some methods that will work against suicidal ideation almost the way penicillin works against bacterial infections like pneumonia, meningitis, and syphilis.
Part 1. Just how big is the “problem?” This series intends to tackle a range of subjects that afflict Veterans, especially suicide and drug overdoses which, along with diabetic lower limb amputations, are at epidemic levels. Across military medicine and traditional approaches to “mental health,” there is a wide gap between the palliative care model – control symptoms – and root cause analysis that gets at the physical damage and whole body wellness called for. This includes proper diagnoses and a shift to an appreciation of polytrauma and brain wound healing.
Part 2. Modern War is just so damned dangerous: BLAST Injury, Burn Pits, and the nature of whole body damage/polytrauma. Includes a primer on brain wounding.
Part 3. The VA/DoD Approach: Intrepid Center, DVBIC, Intrepid Spirit Centers, WRIICs, PREP, Care Coalitions, and Independent Wellness Centers.
Part 4. VSOs and the Growth of 66,000 Veteran Help Organizations since 9/11
Part 5. The insidious Service Member Epidemics: Suicide, Drug Overdosing, and diabetic foot ulcers, lower limb amputations, and the hundreds of thousands of deaths directly attributable to lack of informed consent.
Part 6. The Sports Industry: Making contact sports and life in general safer while engaging in a real scientific dialogue about brain wounding, the concussion cascade, “The Concussion Protocol,” and “the new normal” after brain wounding.
Part 7. Eisenhower didn’t even get it half right: The Military, Industrial, Contractor, Research, Academic, Lobbyist, Insurance, and Pharmaceutical Complex. Lessons in Bureaucratic Politics and how to sort out a path to success.
Part 8. Integrative/Functional/Wholistic/Complementary and Alternative Medicine. You don’t have to throw away institutions or current practices to make them better.
Part 9. Alternative Therapies: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) and a new paradigm in whole body healing.
Part 10. Alternative Therapies: Devices, Processes, Computers, and Artificial Intelligence.
Part 11. Alternative Therapies: Non-Prescription Drugs/ Psychedelics/Supplementation/Nutrition/Diet/Lifestyle.
Part 12. How to hold the Congress, White House, VA and DoD, and sports industry accountable for the Epidemics and lack of brain wound healing protocols.
Part 13. SUMMARY: The Shortest Paths to Success. How to change the language around “mental health,” arrest and reverse upward trends in deaths through suicides, prescription drug overdoses, lower limb amputations, and restore Quality of Life to brain wounded Veterans and citizens.
The TreatNOW Mission is ending service member suicides. Along the way, we have learned that we can end suicidal ideation, help end symptoms of PTSD, and heal brain wounds to end the effects of BLAST injury, mild TBI Persistent Post Concussive Syndrome, and polytrauma. www.treatnow.org
Heal Brains. Stop Suicides. Restore Lives. TreatNOW
Information provided by TreatNOW.org does not constitute a medical recommendation. It is intended for informational purposes only, and no claims, either real or implied, are being made.