Three veterans shot and killed themselves to death at Veterans Affairs facilities within five days of each other earlier this month. On April 5, 2019 an unnamed veteran shot himself inside his car in the parking lot of the Dublin, Georgia VA Medical Center. Then on April 6, 2019 right outside the main entrance of the Decatur, Georgia VA Medical Center another veteran shot and killed himself.
The last veteran shot himself in a crowded waiting room at an Austin, TX VA clinic on April 9, 2019. This veteran was transferred from a hospital in Temple, TX over 65 miles away to the Austin, TX Veterans Affairs clinic to receive care. When the unidentified veteran arrived at the VA clinic he found out he couldn’t get the help he needed there. So this veteran chose to take his own life in front of everybody in the waiting room.
It is estimated that 22 Veterans a day commit suicide. I wonder out of these 22 veterans how many committed suicide because they didn’t receive the care they needed from the Department of Veterans Affairs. I am sure the answer to that question would be surprising. This a big problem!
The government acknowledged this issue in the aftermath of these three suicides. The Department of Veterans Affairs were granted 206 million dollars to implement VA suicide prevention programs. All VA facilities now are supposed to offer same day emergency mental health treatment.
I am an ex-Army Ranger and I suffer from PTSD and a TBI. I am very prideful about my time in service, as most veterans are. I encourage all veterans and active duty soldiers not to be too prideful to seek help. I was too prideful for a long time. I was an alcoholic. I lost everything I had. I ended up homeless and sleeping on the streets. I had contemplated suicide on several different occasions.
There were plenty of resources out there for me to take advantage of I just chose not to. It was only when I decided to seek help that my life started turning around. It was very disheartening to learn of these three veterans that actually sought help from the VA and didn’t receive it, and as a result they committed suicide. What a tragedy! What’s even worse is that this is not an isolated incident. Veterans and active duty soldiers commit suicide every day because they don’t receive the help they need.
Below is a great resource if you or some veteran/soldier you know is contemplating suicide:
The Veterans Crisis Line: 24/7
- You can call them at: (800) 273-8255
- You can text them at: 838255
- You can chat with them live online at: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/chat