Once A Soldier Funds First Ketamine-IV Drip Therapy

Once A Soldier Funds First Ketamine-IV Drip Therapy

 Finally, Effective Treatment for Suicidal Veterans & Their Families 

How long do PTSD Veterans and their families have to wait for psilocybin treatment to get going? While Congress idles with no answers, some Vets are going out of the country for this treatment. We can do better here at home and we are. Our answer to how long is “no longer.” Help is needed now as more and more Veterans are committing suicide at an alarming rate above the civilian average.

Putting our money where our hearts are, Once A Soldier is defraying the costs of a full six sessions of Ketamine IV drip treatments. James Simpson and his wife Jennifer are both combat Veterans. It is our intent for James to defeat his PTSD with this grant. We know he will.

 

ketamin iv drip

Ketamine Clinics Are Already Functional Around the Nation

The initial call from James’ wife Jennifer spurred Once A Soldier to monetize their prevention efforts with this first-ever grant. Treatment will be at the Virginia Beach Ketamine and Wellness starting in February 2022. Private, out-of-pocket clinics like this are all over the country, and we have partnered with two here in Jacksonville during our service time. We wish the Simpson family the best and will update James’ progress in this blog.

Once A Soldier has always been a resource for Veteran suicide prevention and information. Our mission started as – and still is – postvention, but we have grown to offer prevention help for both Veteran and family, pre and postvention. Note our scholarships for Equine-Assisted Therapy for Veterans and their families here in north Florida, as well as our Transcendental Meditation scholarships which has been granted around the country now that COVID-19 has changed. Despite the apparent dichotomy, we have also championed other free and drug-free mental health treatments.

We are first, but we are not alone.

Back in 2021, a collection of the largest Veteran service organizations implored Congress to fast track the journey towards adding psilocybin to prevent Veteran suicide. Across America, renowned institutions such as Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University run psychedelic research centers and medical groups. They see the future. With 20 Veteran suicides a day, and the reason they suicide, something advanced needs to be considered. And they are. Meanwhile, Once A Soldier has grant a modest amount to enable That is a big ask as some psilocybins currently sit in Category 1 with heroin. Ketamine is considered a Schedule 3 because it is so hard to make. However, r

There are US Veterans leaving the country to seek this type of medical treatment. Surely, we can find our way faster for their sake.

Virginia Beach Ketamine and Wellness owners

James Stephen Oleksa, MD Anesthesiology,Medical Director and Sentara Princess Anne Hospital, Virginia Beach, VA.

Virginia Beach Ketamine and Wellness owners

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists Carolanne Garofalo and Tricia Lee are co-owners at Virginia Beach Ketamine and Wellness.

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:

 

Cremation Process and Remains Transportation

Cremation Process and Remains Transportation

 Cremation Information

The cremation process and legal requirements for it vary state by state and city by city. Please check your local legal requirements to ensure the safe processing of your loved one.

There are different parts to the cremation process including transportation, storage, cremation itself, and the return of the remains. You have an opportunity to have a viewing prior to the cremation process, as well. You may also be able to witness the cremation.

To start, the body will be taken to the funeral home or straight to the crematory. Before the cremation occurs, the body will be stored and secured in cold storage.

Next up for the cremation process, you must select a container or casket in which to cremate your loved one.  Their body will be placed in the container and brought to the crematory.

Before the cremation, personal items (jewelry, watches, etc.) are removed from the container/casket and returned to you/the family. For safety reasons, many items are not allowed to be cremated with the body because not everything is combustible. These items could cause damage to the crematory or the operator.

urn for ashes

How Long Does It Take To Cremate a Body?

The cremation process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than two hours depending on the size of the body and how much heat has been stored in the cremator’s chamber. The cremation process occurs at 1600 degrees F. Once the cremation process is complete, the cremated remains are swept out of the cremator into a cooling tray and brought to a processor. The processor breaks down the bone fragments until they are 1/8” or smaller in size. The cremated remains are put into a plastic bag and placed into an urn or temporary container. Throughout this entire process, your loved one’s identification is checked numerous times. The cremated remains are placed with paperwork and stored until the family, comes to retrieve them.

Adult cremated remains weigh between four and six pounds.

Remains Transporting

If you plan to transport cremated remains, you may need different documents (death certificate, certificate of cremation, etc.) and the help of a funeral director to make this process possible.

If shipping cremated remains by United States Postal Service (USPS), you must use Priority Mail Express service and Priority Express Mail International.  USPS’ Label 139 indicating “Cremated Remains” is not required but it is encouraged to help USPS workers know this package should be handled with care.

Most airlines allow the transportation of cremated remains either as a carry-on, checked luggage or air cargo. Check with the airlines to learn their rules about transporting cremated remains; some airlines need notice if something needs to be placed in the air cargo. You must carry the death certificate, certificate of cremation and other documentation with you.

If transporting the cremated remains internationally, you will have to contact the Consulate(s) of the country you are taking the remains to or from. You will find the forms and authorizations required. Your funeral director will likely have to complete many of the forms. This process can take a few weeks.

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 We Will Never Stop Soldier Suicide

Why We Will Never Stop Soldier Suicide

Suicide Will Always Be With Us

If you look at suicide statistics in America, you’ll see that the annual age-adjusted suicide rate is 13.42 per 100,000 individuals. Men die by suicide 3.53x more often than women. On average, there are 132 suicides per day. The daily average for Veteran suicide is 16 per day. That’s over 10% of all suicides in America. Not to understand the problem, but something’s going on with our troops who turn into Veterans.

Three reasons why we won’t stop Veteran suicide:

WE ARE WASTING TIME AND MONEY

First off: stop thinking that dogs, horses, rucks, comraderie will change the rate. They don’t. Veterans do get temporary help with them, but they do nothing to stop the root cause: PTSD

With four years under our belts, the rates are rising, not falling. Why? Vets are coming home with PTSD.

WE SUPPORT THE WRONG CAUSES

Second, stop supporting nonprofit charities that don’t have solid data to show that what they do stops Veteran suicide. Most don’t. America’s donations to Veterans organizations is second only to children’s nonprofits. Our heads need to get in front of our hearts.

CONGRESS AND THE VA ARE TOO LITTLE TOO LATE

Third, stop trying to pass bills that support feel good suicide prevention methods. All this does is promote nonprofits designed to get grant money. Our Congressman, John Rutherford, has reintroduced a bill that sums up all three issues: dogs as PTSD medicine which doesn’t work, nonprofits that don’t have data to show how they save lives and stop Veteran suicide. Dogs make cuddly headlines and they do stop that one suicide attempt. but more are coming.

Finally, until there is peace all over the world and there are no more wars, we will always have soldiers going into battle. They will bring home with them PTSD and they will continue to kill themselves unless we learn to how to defeat PTSD.

 

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.

 

VA Burial Benefits S. 4511, Veteran Benefits Enhancement and Expansion Act of 2020

VA Burial Benefits S. 4511, Veteran Benefits Enhancement and Expansion Act of 2020

Veterans Families Get Modest Increases

Recently passed, the Moran Act holds many Veterans benefits increases. S. 4511 was incorporated and enacted when President Trump signed it into law in October, 2020. “Its past time for the other victims of Veteran suicide to get some more substancial aid from the VA.” says Dave Barbush, CEO of Once A Soldier. “Veteran suicide is reinforced as the VA top priority in S. 4511. We would like to have seen some more creative and valuable support for Veterans suicide families.”

PTSD was also given a priority and help for Veterans suffering from it are now fingered out into more of America’s heartland. Places where the VA can’t reach, or don’t want to be reached, are now in view and hopefully this $174 million infusion will help suicide prevention. There is nothing in S. 4511, Veteran Benefits Enhancement and Expansion Act of 2020 for postvention. Congress needs to create a new loan program ala the GI Bill only for Veterans suicide families to borrow up to $5,000 to bury their Veteran with pride and dignity.

soldier rests

Veteran suicide is on the rise ever since we started tracking it in 2016. Prevention fails approximately 22 times a day.

S. 4511, Veteran Benefits Enhancement and Expansion Act of 2020 for Burial Benefits

Veteran suicide is on the rise ever since we started tracking it in 2016. Prevention fails approximately 22 times a day. What the new burial benefits don’t keep pace with is the dollar amount awarded as benefits. They continue to fall way short. If these increases are any indication of how much our legislators think of postvention support for the families of Veterans suicide, then it is going to be a hard road to travel indeed.

 

Burial Benefits. 

 

Several sections of S. 4511 would increase burial and death benefits for

veterans. The changes in those benefits, which are paid from mandatory appropriations,

would increase direct spending by $444 million over the 2021-2030 period.

 

Death Benefit. 

 

Section 202 would increase VA’s standard death benefit beginning in 2023.

 

Under current law, VA pays the surviving family of eligible veterans a monetary benefit to cover funeral and other expenses. The amount of the payment depends on whether theveteran was hospitalized by VA at the time of death, and whether the veteran died from a service-related condition. The standard VA death benefit is $300 for veterans who were not hospitalized by VA at the time of their death and whose death was not the result of service related conditions. The bill would increase that amount to equal the rate for veterans who were hospitalized by VA at the time of death, currently $796. 

Under section 202, that amount would increase with inflation each year. Using information from VA, CBO estimates that about 39,000 veteran families would receive $855 in 2023, an increase of $555. That gap compared to the current benefit would continue to grow, and CBO estimates that by 2030 an additional 46,000 families would receive an additional $700. In total, CBO estimates section 202 would increase direct spending by $212 million over the 2021-2030 period.

 

Outer Burial Receptacles

Section 203 would allow VA to pay the cost of an outer burial receptacle, such as a crypt or grave liner, for casketed burials that occur in state or tribal cemeteries. VA would begin providing that benefit in 2023. An outer burial receptacle is a container that is designed to protect the casket in the grave. Under current law, VA only provides outer burial receptacles for casketed burials in national veterans’ cemeteries. Using information from VA on the number of burials in state and tribal cemeteries and the cost of outer burial receptacles, CBO estimates that VA would provide an average of 12,400 additional outer burial receptacles per year at an average cost of $850, beginning in 2023. In total, CBO estimates providing outer burial receptacles for casketed burials in state and tribal cemeteries would increase direct spending by $88 million over the 2021-2030 period.

 

Burial Urns and Plaques. 

VA provides headstones or grave markers for veterans who are interred in cemeteries. The department does not provide those benefits for veterans who are not interred in cemeteries. Section 207 would require VA to provide an urn or memorial plaque for those veterans upon the request of their families. Veterans who served on or after April 6, 1917, and who otherwise were eligible for burial would be eligible for the new benefit. That change would be effective beginning in 2023.

 

CBO Cost 

Estimate S. 4511, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

On the basis of information from VA about the number of headstones and markers providedannually, as well as data on burial and cremation trends, CBO estimates that in 2023 about 48,000 eligible families would request an urn or plaque under the bill. Under current law, CBO expects that those families would forgo requesting a headstone or grave marker because they would either retain the remains or scatter them. CBO estimates that 24,000 families would choose an urn and an equal number would choose a plaque. Because the percentage of people choosing cremation is expected to increase, CBO estimates that the number of urns and plaques also would rise—to 28,000 each by 2030.

Under the bill, the families of some veterans who will have died before the bill is enacted could also request urns or plaques. Using information from VA and data on trends in burials and cremations, CBO estimates 86,000 families would request urns, and 203,000 would request plaques over the 2023-2026 period for veterans who die before the date of enactment.

Over the 2021-2030 period, CBO estimates, 294,000 urns would be provided at an average cost of $175 each, and 410,000 plaques would be provided at an average cost of $59 each. In total, those urns and plaques would cost $76 million, CBO estimates.

Implementing section 207 would also affect discretionary spending. 

Transportation to State and Tribal Cemeteries.

Under current law, VA may pay the costs for transporting the remains of deceased veterans to the nearest national cemetery. Section 201 would allow VA to pay for the costs of transporting the remains of deceased veterans to state or tribal cemeteries, up to the amount it would cost to transport those remains to the nearest national cemetery. That change would be effective beginning in 2023.

On the basis of information from VA on the number of remains that receive the transportation benefit fromVA to national cemeteries, and the number of burials in state and tribal cemeteries, CBO  estimates an average of 11,000 additional veteran remains would have transportation costs covered by VA annually beginning in 2023. Using information on the average cost to provide transportation for deceased veterans to national cemeteries, CBO estimates transporting a veteran’s remains to state and tribal cemeteries will cost an averageof $710 beginning in 2023. In total, CBO estimates that the cost of transporting the remains of deceased veterans to state and tribal cemeteries would increase direct spending by $61 million over the 2021-2030 period.

Headstone Inscriptions.

Under current law, VA will inscribe on or replace, upon request, a veteran’s government-provided headstone or gravesite marker that is located in a national cemetery in order to include information about the veteran’s spouse or dependent children following the spouse’s or child’s death. Section 204 would allow VA to replace any headstones or gravesite markers it has provided for veterans, regardless of the type cemetery in which they are located. That new benefit would be available to veterans who die after October 1, 2019.

On the basis of information from VA on the number of headstones provided for veterans buried each year in non-VA cemeteries, as well as other demographic information such as marriage and mortality rates for veterans, CBO estimates that about 3,000 deceased veterans would be eligible for replacement headstones in 2021 as a result of the death of a spouse or dependent child.

Using data from VA, CBO estimates that the families of 25 percent of those veterans—about 750—would request replacement headstones. The number of eligible veterans would increase to about 24,000 by 2030, with about 6,000 families requesting replacement headstones in that year. In total, VA would replace about 31,000 additional headstones over the 2021-2030 period, at an average cost of about $230 per headstone. In total, replacing those headstones would cost $7 million, CBO estimates.

 

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. Together, 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.