Author: Susanne Posel
February 4, 2013
According to a new study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), an estimated 2/3rds of veterans 50 and older commit suicide. Robert Bossarte, author of the study and epidemiologist for the VA stated: “There is a perception that we have a veterans’ suicide epidemic on our hands. I don’t think that is true. The rate is going up in the country, and veterans are a part of it.”
In 2012, suicide numbers were recorded at 177 potential active-duty military and 126 veterans.
Eric Shinseki, secretary for the VA would like to see prevention efforts increased. “The mental health and well-being of our courageous men and women who have served the nation is the highest priority for VA, and even one suicide is one too many.”
The VA estimates that 18 veterans commit suicide a day; however they admit that this number was conceived from old and unreliable date.
The US Army figures that 32 service men and women across all the divisions of armed forces committed suicide which translates to 24 of out 100,000 troops annually.
The Pentagon acknowledges that death on the battlefield is not the number one cause of death among soldiers.
One returning solider developed a MacBeth complex, washing his hands obsessively and exclaiming: “The blood. It won’t come off.”
William Nash, retired psychiatrist for the US Navy, states that the concept of “moral injury” which is defined as “damage to your deeply held beliefs about right and wrong. It might be caused by something that you do or fail to do, or by something that is done to you – but either way it breaks that sense of moral certainty” explain the increase in suicides.
Nash says that he has “heard it over and over again from marines – the most common source of anguish for them was failing to protect their ‘brothers’. The significance of that is unfathomable, it’s comparable to the feelings I’ve heard from parents who have lost a child.”
In an effort to prevent suicides, the US Army has sponsored research into a nasal spray that would eliminate suicidal thoughts. However, scientific research has not been successful in preventing suicides because of the purveyance of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, alcohol and drug abuse as well as financial difficulties.
Dr. Michael Kubek of Indiana University was granted $3 million to develop the nasal spray that would manipulate soldier’s minds to prevent suicide. Kubek was given 3 years to complete the project by 2015.
The hypothesis is to block the naturally occurring thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) to induce calming and euphoric sensations combined with an anti-depressant to reduce suicide, depression and bipolar disorders.
Kubek explains: “We’ve known since the 1970s that TRH has antidepressant effects, and it works quite rapidly. The bottom-line problem has been figuring out how to get it into the brain.”
The nasal spray would cross the blood-brain barrier and create “an entirely new type of pharmacology.”
Targeted Medical Pharma, Inc ., a biotechnology corporations, develops and distributes drugs to the US Military provide the schedule healthcare for the VA and medications for patients and clinics. They have been contracted by federal agencies to provide “safer, more effective pharmacologic options for disease management and prevention” for the US Armed Forces.
The Federal Supply Schedule has charged TMP with this task as they have worked extensively in neuropathy, hypertension, sleep obesity and cognitive disorders. Packages kits allow for prescription-based food and medications to be distributed in pharmacies throughout the US and Middle East.
TMP claims that their therapies manage disease states without “the deleterious side effects of traditional, high dose prescription drugs.”
Obama signed executive order (EO) entitled, “Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families” with the supposed focus on strengthening “support for the emotional and mental health needs of our service members and their families.”
Keeping in line with touting all veterans as mentally defective, substance abusers and suicidal, Obama demands that the VA and the Department of Defense (DoD) collaborate to provide proactive measures and a psychiatric pre-screen of returning service men and women to prevent erratic behavior. The DoD will “review all existing mental health and substance abuse prevention, education and outreach programs” within the military services and access their effectiveness.
In the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2013 is an amendment to curb the rights of US veterans to access guns. Senator Tom Coburn would like for the veterans deemed “mentally incompetent” to have the Department of Veterans Affairs decide that they would have their 2nd Amendment rights revoked and not be able to purchase or possess firearms.
Coburn said to the Senate: “We’re not asking for anything big. We’re just saying that if you’re going to take away the Second Amendment rights … they ought to have it adjudicated, rather than mandated by someone who’s unqualified to state that they should lose their rights.”
This amendment is part of a package of additions to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Senator Charles Schumer retorted: “I love our veterans; I vote for them all the time, they defend us. But if you are mentally ill, whether you’re a veteran or not, just like if you’re a felon, if you’re a veteran or not, and you have been judged to be mentally infirm, you should not have a gun.”Add This to Technorati Faves