Help End Veteran Suicides As A Result Of Trauma Experienced During War Time

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The current rate at which military veterans commit suicide is a staggering 22 per day.

On Christmas Day, 2016, Joshua Miller became one of those 22.

Josh was a beloved father, son, brother, partner, uncle, cousin, nephew, and friend. He was a visionary who wanted nothing more than to make the world a better place.

 Josh served in the Marine Corps from 2000-2004. The experience of the things he witnessed and had to do left him with scars that followed him through the remainder of his life. He battled his demons constantly until he could not stand the pain anymore and tragically ended his life on Christmas night.

 Unfortunately, Josh was not alone that day. 21 other veterans felt the same pain and chose the same path to end it all. Their pain so intense, the only option they felt they could do was to leave this world behind. Leaving behind grieving families, mothers, fathers, children, spouses, friends and other relatives.

 22 veterans per day. That is 8,030 per year. This number is testament to the neglect our veterans experience from the very organizations who send them to fight and seemingly forget about them once the fighting is done. While 22 is a number, each represents a human being. A human being who signed up to sacrifice everything to fight for our freedoms. Many give their lives in this service. As the numbers show, many times their lives are taken long after they return home.

 Newly released statistics also show that more service members deployed overseas die by suicide than by terrorists.

 Our service members give their all for us. It is time to give back to them. They need us to be their voice so something can be done to help them through their suffering. They need more than what they receive to assist them in putting their demons to rest so they can have a happy, rewarding life once their service to our country is done. They deserve nothing less, and so much more.

 In light of this information, and the evidence that a change is drastically overdue, we are petitioning the Department of Defense and the Veteran's Administration to take action and implement changes that will save the lives of our nation's heroes.

 We ask that the following procedures be implemented as soon as possible:

 1. As PTSD has been proven to cause physical changes in the brain, we are asking the DoD to preform a brain scan upon enlistment into the Armed Services, and again upon release so that scans can be compared and evaluated for potential damage. If damage is found, then appropriate services preformed to treat the condition.

 2. A MANDATORY 3-4 week intensive program for all military members. This program should have a primary focus on results driven, evidence based therapy and curriculum to help veterans deal with the trauma that occurs while serving in the military. This program should be attended by all active duty service members who have served, prior to their release from active duty.

 3. MANDATORY regular follow up after release from active duty with monthly check-ins for at least two years. Quarterly follow up for the next 3 years, and yearly follow up for the next 5 years. This time frame represents minimums, that can be increased upon recommendations of a psychologist or psychiatrist.

 4. The DoD and the Veteran's Administration should allocate funding specifially for both the research and treatment of mental health issues that arise from serving in the military, and to implement the programs listed in this petition.

 5. The DoD should implement mandatory therapy for all active duty service members to help alleviate the current stigma that exists regarding service members seeking help for mental health issues they may be experiencing. Service members should also be protected from discrimination and discharge as a result of said mental health needs, unless the symptoms clearly show that service member's ability to continue to perform their duties is compromised.

 Many active duty and veterans agree that not enough responsibility is being taken by the DoD and the VA in regards to mental health issues. Not enough help is available to them, and the effect of this is tragic. This leads to the 8,030 veterans taking their own lives each year. This is unacceptable and it is time to take action to change this. They are sent into battle armed and prepared to succeed. However, they fight another battle once they are home without any tools or support to help them win that battle. After all they have given to everyone in this country, let us help them get armed with everything they need to win their personal wars.



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