Armistice Day: the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918
(def.) The Eleventh Hour: the latest possible time before it is too late
Suicide is like that: in an instant, it’s too late. Daily we’re at the 11th hour for too many veterans. But the sense of urgency on the part of the US Government is woeful. Even Congress has passed laws demanding ACTION to end the suicide epidemic, but one waits in vain for ACTION. Lest we forget: the suicide and opioid overdose rates among service members are at Epidemic proportions.
According to the latest TreatNOW Report, The National Brain-Wounded Veteran Brain Drain: Cost-Benefit Analysis of Changing the DoD and VA Standard of Care for TBI and Suicide Prevention, several facts relevant for suicide prevention stand out:
Estimated Post 9/11 TBI/PTSD Veterans: 877,450
Estimated Post 9/11 Veteran suicides: 109,500
Estimated Veteran opioid deaths: 109,206
Recently, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Denis McDonough, declared that “EXECUTION” and a sense of “personal urgency” were his watchwords. He wanted no “benefit of the doubt.” He was talking about Burn Pit victims, but his own web site declares: “VA’s top clinical priority is preventing suicide among all Veterans — including those who do not, and may never, seek care within the VA health care system.”
The top clinical priority. And a huge budget priority. The fiscal 2022 budget proposal includes a nearly 100% increase in the department’s suicide prevention budget to over one half Billion dollars, and an additional $1.5 billion for mental health services to meet increased demand. And suicides across the VA and DOD have increased for the past 17 years. If the VA were a business, some Board member would be saying “That dog won’t hunt.” And then they’d move some of that cash into fixing the problem, not just talking about it.
There must be a way Congress can force the VA to immediately expand their current traumatic brain injury protocol to include Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to heal brain wounds. HBOT is proven safe and effective, and it virtually ends suicidal ideation through healing the invisible wounds of TBI/PTSD.
Current Bills could help:
- S.2189 — HBOT Access Act of 2021 117th Congress (2021-2022) [Tuberville (R-AL)]
- H.R.1014 — Veterans National Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment Act 117th Congress (2021-2022) [Murphy (R-NC)]
- S. 3013 — Evaluation and standardization of suicide prevention 117th Congress (2021-2022) [Ernst (R-IA)]
Plenty of legislation already gives the VA the power and the responsibility to provide services to Veterans that they cannot get inside the VA. It is long past time that the VA start focusing on healing brain wounds in addition to trying to cope with symptoms of those wounds that may or may not even be diagnosed.
Over a century ago, WWI unleashed carnage almost too terrible to describe. Twenty years later, the governments of Europe thought they could appease Adolph Hitler to buy their way out of another Continental slaughter. When told of Neville Chamberlain’s “peace for our time” deal, Churchill told him: “You were given the choice between war and dishonour.” Churchill foresaw the abyss and the abject cowardice in the face of doing the right thing.
The Suicide and Opioid overdose Epidemics are galloping forward while we wring our hands in conferences and studies and research seeking “proof” that there even ARE such epidemics. Suicides and opioid overdose deaths do not wait on practiced inaction by bureaucracies more interested in “process” than people.
Britannica lends perspective to such inaction and the recent end of US participation in Middle Eastern conflicts. For each family of each suicide, the war was a catastrophe as big as it gets.
WORLD WAR I: ALL COMBATANTS AND CIVILIANS
- PARTICIPANTS 65,038,810
- KILLED AND DIED 8,528,831
- WOUNDED 21,189,154
- PRISONERS AND MISSING 7,750,919
- TOTAL CASUALTIES 37,468,904
WORLD WAR II: ALL COMBATANTS AND CIVILIANS
- PARTICIPANTS Half the world’s population of 140 Million
- KILLED AND DIED 35,303,000
- WOUNDED Twice the number killed
- PRISONERS AND MISSING Unknown
- TOTAL CASUALTIES Estimated at over 100 Million
American Wars and Fatalities since 1775
- American Civil War (1861-1865) 620,000
- World War II (1939-1945) 405,399
- World War I (1917-1918) 116,516
- Vietnam War (1965-1973) 58,209
- Korean War (1950-1953) 36,516
- American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) 25,000
- War of 1812 (1812-1815) 20,000
- Mexican-American War (1846-1848) 13,283
- War on Terror** (2001-present) 7,074
- Spanish American War (1898) 2,446
- Gulf War (1990-1991) 258
- TOTAL 1,304,701
TOTAL DEATHS (US military, contractors, DOD civilians, civilians, NGO workers, national military and police, other allied troops, journalists and media workers, opposition fighters)
- AFGHANISTAN 157,502
- IRAQ 276,363-308,212
- PAKISTAN 66,063
- SYRIA/ISIS 179,424
- YEMEN 90,072
- OTHER 575
- TOTAL 769,549-801,398
The TreatNOW Coalition is a nationwide network of veterans, doctors, clinicians, economists, and activists on a mission to save America’s veterans from the suicide and opioid epidemics. The Coalition promotes brain healing treatments like hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) and connects veterans suffering from concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with life-altering medicine. Its goal is to transition veterans from a lifetime of pain to a fulfilled, healthy, and robust life. Currently, TreatNOW has returned over 8,500 veterans, athletes, first responders, and citizens to work, school, or active duty.
The 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.