"When we are losing more Soldiers (Reserve Component) to suicide than the Afghanistan war, it is an epidemic" -Suicide and the Military © by Amy Menna, Ph.D., LMHC, CAP & Gift From Within
WASHINGTON, Feb 1 (Reuters) - The most extensive study yet by the U.S. government on suicide among military veterans shows more veterans are killing themselves than previously thought, with 22 deaths a day - or one every 65 minutes, on average http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/01/military-suicides-us-veterans_n_2602602
In July 2012, the Veterans Administration (VA) reported that 18 VETERANS a day will commit suicide and 950 per month will attempt suicide. "Suicide No. 2 cause of death (those still serving) in the US Military" http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/story/2012-06-13/military-suicides/55585182/1
What are the mortality rates for the untreated/under-treated National Guardsmen and Reservists waiting to access VA Care that were eligible for care through Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) and Tri-Service Medical Care (TRICARE)?
National Guardsmen and Reservist are systematically DENIED access to the Health Care Benefits that they EARN. Despite the fact that the DOD created Medical Treatment Programs to ensure EQUAL access and standardization of treatment;National Guardsmen and Reservist are routinely Released From Active Duty (REFRAD) WITHOUT any of these criteria being met. www.armyg1.army.mil/wtu/docs/WTUConsolidatedGuidanceAdministrative.pdf
Medical diagnoses, access to care and treatment at these Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) is often based on the Service Member's Service Component Affiliation (Active/Guard/Reserve) and NOT the current DOD policy for assessing and treating the injury/illness.http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/story/2012-08-09/army-suicides/57096238/1
When every physician in these Soldier Centered Programs begins an appointment with, "Are you (Active/Guard/Reserve) ?" Disparities between treatment are difficult to ignore and easy to explain. National Guardsmen and Reservist, remain misdiagnosed and untreated/under-treated" for what may potentially be life altering/threatening illnesses.
Given the current argument by DOD for keeping the "Feres Doctrine", when obligatory moral and professional Medical responsibility fails there is little regulatory incentive to bolster those shortcoming. http://www.stripes.com/news/the-argument-for-keeping-the-feres-doctrine-1.173370
A Service Member, that knows the regulations and has a supportive Senator or Representative, may wait several months to years before their Medical records are corrected and they gain access to the Health Care and Benefits that they EARNED.
It has taken me MORE than 1 year 5 months 13 days from my redeployment from Afghanistan to correct parts of my Medical records; I am one of the "success stories".Most Service Members WILL NOT gain access to THEIR benefits.
Army National Guardsmen and United States Army Reservist wear the SAME uniforms, support the SAME missions, EARN the SAME Health Care."Demand EQUAL Access to Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) and TRICARE in accordance with current DOD Policy.
22 Service Members EVERYDAY, that's one American life EVERY 65 minutes EVERYDAY since Veterans' Day 2012, the day that we as a Nation pledged unilateral unconditional support for American Heroes no matter which branch or component of the Armed Services they served in, we pledged our support for ALL Service Members.
The Soldier that inspired this petition, a decorated Veteran of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a father, husband, son and civilian Police Officer, was diagnosed with combat related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTS D) in 2008, but has waited more than 2,000 days for access to the standard Military Medical Treatment that he EARNED. This Soldier's Medical Treatment records were "altered" to support the initial denial of access to care. After the Soldier's records were corrected and Mental Health Care Practitioners (civilian and military) discovered that the Soldier has been under-treated since 2008, the Soldier requested treatment under the auspices of the Warrior Transition Program. Six months later, the Soldier was denied access to care again based on his service as a Reservist.
National Guardsmen and Reservists are systematically denied access the Health Care and Benefits that they earned. During the redeployment and demobilization processes, little to no consideration is given to the type or severity of the illness/injury that was incurred during the Service Member's Active-Duty Service; including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Even in the wake of record high mortality rates among Reserve Component Soldiers, access to Health Care, Benefits and Standardized Treatment Plans through Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) and Warrior Transition Units is often based on Reserve Component affiliation and rarely the injury.
Despite current regulatory policy for the standardized management of the health, and readiness of ALL Service Members, Reserve Component Soldiers are systematically Released From Active-Duty (REFRAD) before their injury/illness is treated and documented in accordance with current DOD Policy. Sen Gillibrand, Rep Wilson, Asst Secy Lamont, and SGM Byrd stop the epidemic of systematic denial of access to Medical Treatment Facilities (MTF) and standard care and treatment at Warrior Transition Units (WTU) of Guardsmen and Reservists, demand equal access to care In Accordance With (IAW) the current Warrior Transition Consolidated Guidance (Administrative) and AR 600-8-4. Ensure seamless access to transitional care and follow on care and benefits IAW Warrior Transition Consolidated Guidance, AR 600-8-4 and Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP) for ALL Service Members.
ALL Guardsmen and Reservists have Military Service Obligations that continue beyond periods of Active-Duty deployments. Guardsmen and Reservists are a vital to the Nations Emergency Management Plan and National Security. 22 Service Members die by suicide every day - that's one every 65 minutes. These aren't statistics, these are Americans. Please Save Our Service Members before Memorial Day 2013.