Female Veteran Fights For Suicidal Ex-Marine Husband

Female Veteran Fights For Suicidal Ex-Marine Husband

Her Struggle To Save Him Is Frustrating Yet Hopeful 

With 17 active duty and Veteran suicides every day, there is plenty of blame to go around. What is actually going on? Where’s the help?
Where’s the compassion? Why are these people feeling like this is the best decision? Answers are hard to find, but here’s one. Found on a Reddit sub-Reddit called r/Veterans, this female Veteran details her struggles that, if not resolved, will lead to what amounts to just another statistic.

urn for ashes

Medications Management Is Part Of The Problem and Solution

I know this title isn’t a news flash. And I try not to post vents and rants. There’s already enough negative energy, in this world. But I’m so angry and scared and I don’t know what to do.

My husband is a Former Marine and served in Iraq. He’s struggling. A lot. He’s been suicidal for a week now. I’ve called the Crisis line 5 times in the last 6 days. I’ve called the suicide prevention coordinators. I’ve called the Seattle VA Mental Health Clinic. I’ve call the local Vet’s Center. We’ve been trying to get him a PTSD counselor for 3 YEARS. 3 YEARS of emails begging for help. 3 years of phone calls, sitting for hours on hold only to be hung up on or transferred to a voicemail that is full. 3 of the longest most painful years of our lives – of flashbacks, night terrors, insomnia, suicide ideation, outbursts of anger, sobbing until throwing up, struggling to get meds then receiving the wrong prescriptions, of mental health “professionals” suggesting my husband breathe into a paper bag when he’s anxious. 3 years of poverty because my husband can’t hold down a job due to PTSD.

Each time my husband’s thoughts of suicide resurface (they never completely go away) they get more intense and more serious with more intent. After 5 days without sleeping, calling every resource number I can find, going above my husband’s psych’s head to his boss, my husband finally had an appointment with his psychiatrist this morning.

My husband asked his psych for assisted suicide to end the pain. I was called into the appointment in the last 5 minutes. The psych proceeded to mansplain to me how my husband needed to take a walk and “get outside.” (I can’t even get him to shower or eat). He mansplained to me that my husband needed to take his meds regularly and so this predicament was his fault. He mansplained to me that my expectations were unrealistic – that things didn’t happen overnight in VA. 3 f-king years we’ve been calling the VA for help, for counseling, and proper med management, and the psych kept speaking over me to tell me it was my husband’s fault and my expectations are unrealistic.

I started to ask specific questions regarding meds that my husband needs. The psych told me he’d planned on talking about that, today, but we couldn’t now because we were out of time. He told me it was my husband’s fault we could not talk about meds because my husband had chosen to use that time to talk about suicide instead. He’s suicidal in part because he’s not getting the med management he needs.

He told me my husband might get to see a psychologist for PTSD but could not tell me when or if that was actually possible. Then the psych told me he would “try” to schedule the next available appointment to see my husband. I told him I expected him to do it, not just “try.” The man then had the audacity to tell me he was “trying” to be respectful towards me and he expected me to do the same.

I feel so helpless and so angry. I want to burn down the world and I don’t know what to do. I’m not stupid. I am a strong intelligent woman who’s survived my own trauma. I am resourceful, well educated, well spoken, and love my husband more than life itself. I also have a professional background in healthcare. And I was just treated like an overly emotional and irrational toddler with a learning disability.

NOBODY regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, educational background, military status, or age – no living life form should have to be treated like this ever – especially when they are in pain.

Edit: I just called a private pay counselor my husband has seen twice over the last 6 months to ask if she had any points of contact for me and to let her know he’s not doing well. I had to ask her to stop yelling at me for being a terrible irresponsible spouse in order to tell her what was going on. What the hell is wrong with people?

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Why Veterans Are Reluctant to Get Mental Help

Why Veterans Are Reluctant to Get Mental Help

A Special Mental Health Resource for Once A Soldier

Mental health continues to be one of the biggest issues facing veterans today. Statistics have shown that a full third of U.S. veterans return from active duty reporting problems with mental health. And the suicide statics for veterans are sobering: 17 U.S. military veterans per day commit suicide, making it the second leading cause of death among post-911 veterans.

There’s another grim statistic, too: despite this, less than 50% of veterans receive mental health support of any kind. One cause of this is mental health services for veterans being severely underfunded and understaffed; although 1 in 10 veterans will return from active duty with some kind of long-term mental health issue like PTSD, there aren’t enough resources or staff to help everyone.

But there’s another reason why veterans aren’t getting all the mental health support they need: many of them don’t seek it out in the first place. In particular, many veterans without close friends or family are unlikely to pursue receiving treatment for mental health issues. Many others aren’t aware they’re eligible for help, or aren’t even aware such help is available.

Reasons Veterans Resist Help with Mental Health

There’s another grim statistic, too: despite this, less than 50% of veterans receive mental health support of any kind. One cause of this is mental health services for veterans being severely underfunded and understaffed; although 1 in 10 veterans will return from active duty with some kind of long-term mental health issue like PTSD, there aren’t enough resources or staff to help everyone.

But there’s another reason why veterans aren’t getting all the mental health support they need: many of them don’t seek it out in the first place. In particular, many veterans without close friends or family are unlikely to pursue receiving treatment for mental health issues. Many others aren’t aware they’re eligible for help, or aren’t even aware such help is available.

So why don’t veterans get the mental health help they need? Let’s look at some of the more common reasons.

They’re trained to “suck it up.” Acknowledging and accepting the presence of mental health problems is already a major obstacle for anyone suffering from mental illness. But the problem can be exacerbated by military training and culture, which encourages soldiers to “bite the bullet” and forge ahead despite hindrances or obstacles. While this attitude can be critical in military situations, it isn’t helpful when dealing with mental health, and may lead to self-medication through drugs or alcohol.

They view it as weakness or fear being minimized. One very common fear among sufferers of mental illness is the thought of confessing their issues to someone (already a stressful and anxiety-inducing experience in itself) and being told that it’s “all in their head” or they just need to “cheer up” or otherwise endure the problem. This can further alienate and isolate the person, possibly exacerbating the mental issues. In particular, veterans may be wary of being open with their problems out of fear for their careers, or, if they’re a single parent, worrying their children might be taken away.

While a certain amount of hesitation is understandable, the armed services are adamant about mental health being just as important as physical health to mission success. The real dangers to one’s military career actually stems from not disclosing their illness or seeking treatment for it. Despite funding and staffing issues, the military still considers it important for soldiers and veterans to take care of their mental health.

They’re unaware of changes in the behavior Denial is an extremely common issue for those suffering from mental illness, no matter what their background. A person may not be aware their outlook or behavior has changed following a trauma or incident. Even once they do realize something is different, they might still deny that it’s an issue. This can lead back to the problems of self-medication, hiding the problem, or going on denying it exists.

They don’t believe therapy is worthwhile. Therapy still has a negative stigma in our popular culture. It’s common for many to feel that therapy is a scam, not useful, or wouldn’t be useful to them in particular due to their personality or circumstances. Resistance to therapy is extremely common, but knowledge of the usefulness of therapy is slowly growing.

They can’t afford mental health services. Even when veterans know where to turn to find resources to help them, those resources may be beyond their financial reach. Insurance will sometimes cover some mental health costs, but rarely all, and some veterans may find themselves feeling they can’t afford it, and don’t know where to turn to get assistance.

Where Veterans Can Turn for Help

Fortunately, while there are ongoing issues with mental health services for veterans getting enough staff and funding, there are still options available for those seeking assistance, including:

  • The local veteran’s affairs department. The VA not only provides instant help in the form of hotlines and online chat, but can also point veterans to resources in their area.
  • Community social services (if they have a nurse or social worker trained in mental health).
  • Non-profit organizations that assist veterans.
  • Private psychologists and therapists. Many insurance companies offer a certain amount of paid sessions for people seeking help from a private practice.
  • Look into joining a veteran’s support group.
  • Groups such as the National Suicide Lifeline offer instant support for people in need.
  • Your religious organization may also be of help to those not wanting to seek out a secular solution. Many pastors, rabbis and imams are trained in social work helping people with mental health issues and can provide aid and guidance.
  • There are even mental health apps available for those who want or need some immediate help.

There are also a variety of other mental health services for veterans seeking help. If you or someone you know is a veteran struggling with mental health issues, consider helping them get in touch with one or more of these resources.

This is a contributed post written by MVU.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Once A Soldier Advocacy for Veteran Funeral Loan Bill

Once A Soldier Advocacy for Veteran Funeral Loan Bill

Our Bill Outline For New Funeral Services Loan

Foot soldiers fightng for Veteran suicide postvention know that the strength of a Veteran family knows no bounds. Despite their sacrifice and paid-in-full status, paying the funeral expenses for an unexpected suicide is one challenge many can not meet. This bill outline is a critical step to fill this gap between the too-little, too-late Veterans’ Administration benefits and all or nothing standards of some funeral homes. Our local US Congressman John Rutherford, and his staff, continue to champion support needed for all American heroes. Their guidance will be critical to how far this bill can go.

magic mental health mushroom

Matt and Kristen Mahramus

You can see real love between these two. Matt left behind Kristen and their two children.

Veteran Funeral Loan Bill

Fueled by PTSD, TBI, MST and more, Veteran suicides continue to rise. However, increased postvention support for the families has not. VA death benefits arrive too late and too many Veteran families can’t bury their Veterans with dignity. This modest guaranteed loan will meet that need and close this gap.

Veteran Family Postvention Issue

  • VA death benefits offer no specialized support for suicide’s aftermath
  • Suicide victims typically leave behind no life insurance or savings
  • VA benefits end and leave the families without breadwinners

Key Solutions

  • Congress must enact legislation to create program
  • Would provide up to $2,000 – $8,000 for post 9/11 Veteran suicide families
  • Would be paid directly to the funeral services providers

Reasons to Believe

  • Recent COVID-19 funeral relief via FEMA proves it is possible
  • This solves our most immediate Veteran suicide postvention failure
  • The program would be limited in reach and scope  
  • VA death benefits, if any, would be directly applied to the loan balance

For more information, contact

Dave Barbush dave@onceasolider.org

904477999

# # #

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Links for More Information:

 

What Will Returning Afghanistan Veterans Mean to Families?

What Will Returning Afghanistan Veterans Mean to Families?

More Veteran Suicides And More Families Traumatized

With President Biden finishing off what three previous administrations couldn’t, the end of the war in Afghanistan means many soldiers will coming stateside. While most of them will not be discharged, some will turn into Afghanistan Veterans. It is those returning Afghanistan warriors that we worry about. If they are like a percentage of their predecessors, they will have PTSD. Here’s what we know: PTSD and families don’t mix. 

Despite the good news coming from the Veterans Administration about soldier suicide being on the decline, the numbers are still painful to accept. In 2019, there were 6,261 Veteran suicides. That’s down from the all time high of 2017. See the newly leased Veteran suicide report by clicking on the cover image.

Overall, civilian suicides are also lower in the past few years, so the Veterans are benefitting from a national trend that is, in turn, either benefitting from greater awareness and acceptability when it comes to asking for help, or it’s just that the reporting is wrong. Prior to this report, other reports have come out saying that the number of Veteran suicides is under-reported due to a variety of factors. Reaching these families is also hard, and now that returning Afghanistan war soldiers are coming home, Congress needs to intensify their support for PTSD treatment and postvention when suicide prevention fails.

Wherever the truth may lie, with Afghanistan Veterans coming home, they will soon face the same challenges all Vets face. Homelessness, the emptiness of civilian life, the housing crisis, the COVID pandemic, extremeism in our political system, and global burning that has temperatures and wild fires raging like never before.

We wish those returning all the best and for those returning to their families, we wish them more than that. We wish that they get connected to the VA. As lacking as it is, being connected to the local one gives you a better chance at not killing youself. And when you don’t do that, we don’t have to take care of your families once you’re gone.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

2021 VA Veteran Suicide Report

2021 VA Veteran Suicide Report

22/Day Down To 17/Day – Lower Suicide Rate From 2017 Spike

The VA recently released the 2021 Veteran Suicide statistics. The good news is that the suicide rate is down from the all-time high in 2017. Civilian suicide rates also fell at that time. From our point of view, this is great news, but we can’t help but shake our heads at the postvention needs of both the Veteran and the family are not more fully addressed. Read the full report here.

Here is the opening excerpt:

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ 2021 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report shows the overall
Veteran suicide count and rate decreased in 2019 from 2018 and from 2017.

The data within the report is notable because:

• It provides information from 2001 through 2019, while recent prior reports included data from 2005 forward.
• This update includes the most current data and applies methodologic enhancements, resulting in the most
comprehensive assessment to date of Veteran suicide mortality, for the years 2001-2019.2

There were 6,261 Veteran suicide deaths in 2019. Down from years before, but overall they are still rising from the 5,989 in 2001 when the VA started collecting data.

The report represents and communicates a “whole of VA” approach to suicide prevention that integrates strategic
planning, program operations, and program evaluation across the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the Veterans
Benefits Administration (VBA), and the National Cemetery Administration. The report represents and communicates
a “whole of government” approach to suicide prevention that integrates strategic planning across federal agencies to
facilitate complementary and collaborative prevention, intervention, and postvention approaches tailored to agencyspecific populations. The report represents and communicates the value of “public/private partnerships” to reinforce and
magnify collective and unified engagement of suicide prevention.

Given this background, this report includes the following updated information and data:

• There were 399 fewer Veteran suicides in 2019 than in 2018.
• There was a 7.2% overall decrease in the age- and sex-adjusted Veteran suicide mortality rate in 2019, as compared
to 2018.
• The unadjusted suicide rate for male Veterans decreased 3.6% in 2019 from 2018 while the unadjusted suicide rate
for female Veterans decreased 12.8% in 2019 from 2018.

Decreases in Veteran suicide across multiple fronts and methods of measurement in 2019 were unprecedented across the
last 20 years.

End of excerpt.

 

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.