Two Georgia Veterans Commit Suicide at Two VA Facilities in Two Days
Two Georgia veterans took their own lives at two different VA facilities over the weekend. One on April 6, at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, and one on April 5th at the Dublin VA Medical Center. Their names were not released.
Senator Johnny Isaakson released this statement:
I was saddened to learn of the suicide deaths of two veterans at two VA medical centers in our state. My prayers are with the families and loved ones of these two veterans. I am in touch with the VA as investigations into each incident are ongoing, but these are tragedies that we hear about far too often. While we have taken a number of steps to address and prevent veteran suicide, this weekend’s tragic deaths clearly indicate that we must do better.
“We will redouble our efforts on behalf of our veterans and their loved ones, including our efforts to reduce the stigma of seeking treatment for mental health issues. The loss of even one veteran to suicide is unacceptable and devastating. Preventing veteran suicide remains a top priority for our committee, and I will continue working with VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to ensure the VA has the resources it needs and the accountability in place to make sure we are doing everything we can to prevent veteran suicide.”
The first incident occurred Friday in the parking lot at the
Carl Vinson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dublin. No details on this were released. The second incident was a 68 year old veteran who shot himself outside the Atlanta VA Medical Center. Both incidents are under investigation.
How many of these incidents are related to the same kind of malpractice we wrote about yesterday? How many of these were protests against the VA- there were 19 men who killed themselves on the grounds of a VA between October 2017 and November 2018. How many of these precious souls have lost all hope from being so ill or so in pain that they feel the need to give up?
Military Times reported,
Despite the proclaimed prioritization, the VA came under intense scrutiny in December when a Government Accountability Office study revealed that of its $6.2 million budget to use on suicide prevention media outreach, only $57,000 was spent.
Additionally, sharing information about suicide prevention on social media reportedly dropped significantly between FY17 and FY19.
During that same span, not one VA-produced suicide prevention message or advertisement was aired on national television or radio.
Our veterans are often in severe pain from cancers or other maladies caused by exposure to different carcinogens or toxins such as burn pits. It often takes years for the VA to grant benefits for such things, as with Camp LeJeune water contamination and Agent Orange exposure. There are malpractice issues that need to be addressed – remember the study that mentioned many VA medical centers had illegally hired doctors with malpractice claims against them? And yes, sometimes it is PTSD, but not always. There are many facets to this issue, and our veterans deserve to have an answer.
Veterans lives matter – every single one of them!
To contact the Veteran Crisis Line, callers can dial 1-800-273-8255 and select option 1 for a VA staffer. Veterans, troops or their families members can also text 838255 or visit VeteransCrisisLine.net for assistance.