Friday, April 30, 2010

Returning Vets: Loaded w/ Psychotropics & Committing Suicide at 18 / Day: Unheard of Rates Due to Reployment

What is the suicide rate of returning vets in Western NC, specifically, Haywood county?

Glenda Sawyer, a nice woman, last year gave out some brochures at a MAHEC training session(MAHEC is Asheville provider training created by associated medical school, meeting at Mission Hospital periodically). Ms. Sawyer indicated that Haywood Regional Medical Center was opening an arm of its mental health treatment program which would assist veterans and their families specifically.

Yet, I have yet to receive any referrals as associated w/ this center. Maybe they all get better w/ what there is but something tells me that if this is like NC Mental Health Reform, what we have is a break-down in communication between the referral site, as overseen by Ms. Sawyer, and the mental health providers.

This is what she says at the Haywood Regional Medical Center site associated w/ returning vets:

"....Glenda Sawyer, a behavioral health clinician with more than 30 years of experience counseling military personnel and their families, coordinates the center. Haywood County has more combat veterans than any other county in Western North Carolina, Sawyer said, and many of them are members of the National Guard. That is one reason the decision was made to open the center in Haywood County, she said........

The number one problem Sawyer said military men and women deal with is anxiety and sleep disturbance, which can compound over a period of time. Lack of sleep can lead to chronic irritability, heavier drinking and/or drug abuse, aggression, domestic violence, and depression, Sawyer said. Unaddressed problems tend to compound over a period of time, she said, so early intervention is important...."


Hidden toll of US wars: 18 veterans commit suicide daily
By Bill Van Auken 28 April 2010

The connection between the “surge” in military suicides and the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is undeniable. The suicide rate within the military doubled between 2001 and 2006, even as it remained flat among the comparable (adjusted for age and gender) civilian population. And the numbers continue to rise steadily. In 2009, 160 active-duty military personnel killed themselves, compared to 140 in 2008 and 77 in 2003.

Many have blamed the increasing number of suicides on the repeated combat deployments to which members of the all-volunteer US military are subjected, with the so-called “war on terrorism” approaching its 10th year and nearly 200,000 US troops deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

.....According to a report in the Military Times last month, one in six members of the US military is using some form of psychotropic drug, while 15 percent of soldiers admitted to abusing prescription drugs over the previous month....."

Military Times link:

"....A key part of the new data shows the suicide rate is lower for veterans aged 18 to 29 who are using VA health care services than those who are not. That leads VA officials to believe that about 250 lives have been saved each year as a result of VA treatment.

VA’s suicide hotline has been receiving about 10,000 calls a month from current and former service members. The number is 1-800-273-8255. Service members and veterans should push 1 for veterans’ services....."


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