End Military Mental Health Crises and Suicides: Create Behavioral Health Corps.
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- Since WWII, the number and cost of psychiatric casualties has far exceeded the combined total of soldiers both wounded and killed in action.
- For every soldier killed on the battlefield, 25 die by their own hands.
- Twenty-two veterans take their own lives every day. Of those, only about five are in the VA Health Care System.
This is a problem that is grossly neglected.
These deaths and mental health crises are highly preventable, however not much is being done to ensure that. While reports have long since exposed gaping holes in military policy & procedure, there has yet to be action in changing simple yet impactful policies.
In an effort to instill impactful change and save lives, The Institute of War Stress Injuries, Recovery & Social Justice is launching this petition to put pressure on Congress to create a Behavioral Health Corps. In every branch of the U.S. military there are the following Corps: medical; nursing; chaplain; legal; and supply. There is no mental health or behavioral health Corps.
Furthermore, mental health professionals are siloed. Psychiatry is assigned to the Medical Corps; psychiatric nursing is assigned to the Nursing Corps; psychology, occupational therapy and social work report to what’s called the Medical Services Corps. And there are thousands of qualified mental health professionals at community health centers on base who are forbidden to administer care to our soldiers.
All of this results in no coordinated policy on training or standardization of treatment and care, as well as tremendous waste, redundancies and huge financial cost.
Bottom line: no one is accountable for mental health.
- Because of this, one mental health professional can end up being responsible for 6,000 active duty, deployed soldiers. Classified army studies revealed that a typical infantry soldier can withstand 180 days on the battlefield before becoming a psychiatric casualty.
- Because of this, there can be up to a three-month waiting period for a deployed solider who is suicidal.
- Because of this, there are more than 360 PTSD programs in the Department of Defense, each operating in silos with different staffing and processes.
Creating a Behavioral Health Corps is merely the first step in ending this devastating cycle, as there are many other issues such as the military’s 100 year-old mental health policy (that is proven ineffective!), the 203 policies that re-enforce stigma and other policies responsible for chronic mental health staffing shortages.
Our soldiers and veterans deserve the highest quality of care during and post-service. Join us in taking steps to end preventable military mental health crises and suicides.
- Sign this petition.
- Join in the conversation with #BHCnow - sample Tweets below.
Our soldiers & vets deserve the highest quality of care. Make military mental health a priority, establish a Behavioral Health Corps. #BHCnow
@SenJohnMcCain Make military mental health a priority, establish a Behavioral Health Corps. #BHCnow http://bit.ly/2tKkzaD
End military mental health crises & suicide, sign this petition to create a Behavioral Health Corps: http://bit.ly/2tKkzaD #BHCnow #SaveOurVets
This organization is striving to end #military mental health crises & #suicide. Read how you can help make a difference. http://bit.ly/2tKkzaD #BHCnow
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About the Institute of War Stress Injuries, Recovery & Social Justice
The Institute of War Stress Injuries, Recovery & Social Justice is the only known organization dedicated to the transformation of military mental health care services, support and policy. Its mission is to investigate, identify and eliminate root causes for repetitive, self-inflicted crises in military mental health care to ultimately influence public policy and practice. The Institute believes all military members and their families should have access to the highest quality mental health care services available during active duty and following service. It is located at Antioch University in Seattle, Wash., and was founded by Mark Russell, a retired veteran of the U.S. Navy, CDR, Ph.D. ABPP, who has seen firsthand the devastation our troops and veterans are experiencing as a result of our outdated and outrageous military policies
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