How many more? Veteran suicide and the 1, 2, Many Project Podcast

ColoredMore than 8,000 Veterans per year take their own lives. On average, that’s 667 per month, 154 per week, 22 per day, or one Veteran every 65 minutes. A lesser-known statistic is that more than half of these Veterans are 50 years or older.

In the past two years, much ado has been made about Veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries—and rightfully so. For an increasing number of Veterans, the sense of urgency for wellness is steadily increasing and beginning to trump their fears or perceived shame of asking for help.

Why are so many Veterans in crisis?

For many of these heroes, there were no ticker tape parades, pomp and circumstance, or welcome home celebrations. While their reasoning is varied, many Veterans and family members continue to struggle with behavioral health challenges, a dissociative sense of belonging, and untimely or unavailable medical care.

As a retired U.S. Air Force member and former Air Force special agent, I investigated numerous Veteran suicides. Though many Veterans authored suicide notes and wills, some did not. Others replaced the notes with final telephone calls or goodbye emails. Common responses from family members included:  “I just thought he/she was going through a rough spot,” or “Why didn’t his/her friends or supervisors intervene to help?”

So, how do we battle this epidemic?

TimLawsonMarine Veteran Timothy Lawson created the “1, 2, Many Project” and corresponding podcast to provide a powerful, in-depth focus on why Veterans consider, attempt and succeed in ending their own lives. Veterans participating in the project convey greater visibility and understanding of the issue, as they “walk” Tim through their decision-making processes, suicidal ideations and attempts. Furthermore, friends and loved ones relay their innermost feelings, daily struggles, and coping strategies in processing the sudden and seemingly unexplained deaths of Veterans closest to them. Most importantly, listeners learn how they and others can recognize, engage and act to assist Veterans in need.

To learn more about the 1, 2, Many Project, please visit us on the Web at http://one2manyproject.com, on Facebook at 1, 2, Many Project, or via Twitter.

Corey ChristmanCorey Christman retired from active duty United States Air Force service in 2012.  Since retiring, he’s served in various veteran advocacy capacities to include crafting veteran employee retention strategies, veteran to veteran peer coaching methodologies and collaborating with colleges and universities to improve student veteran persistence and retention rates. 

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20 Comments to “How many more? Veteran suicide and the 1, 2, Many Project Podcast”

  1. JimSFret says:

    EXCELLENT !! You hit the nail on the head. A suicide victim could print this article for their note.

    Good luck. For us who can’t find cures, much less diagnosis, maybe articles like this will encourage the V.A. and Washington D.C. to double the effort. We need cures. We don’t need “end of the road”, quitting and medicating.

    Thanks

    Jim
    Special Forces Ret.

    PS. My first thoughts when Robin Williams suicide was announced was ‘Now, it’s more reasonable to…’.

    • Victoria Anderson says:

      JimSFret, My first thoughts when Robin Williams’ suicide was announced were: what?!…No…that can’t be…he appeared fine. Then…hmmmm, yah well, I often appear fine, because I’m acting…I of all people should understand how that works. If he couldn’t take his pain anymore, maybe this is a good time for me to check out as well. Kind of a permission.

      That was my thinking process, and it continued. Okay, now I won’t be the only one doing this right now…it’s okay now for me to do it, because a famous comedian (& countless others) has shown the world his breaking point and I’m past mine, so…

      No cures here either no matter how well the VA has served me and continues to…it’s not working. Then I thought about how whenever I hear about someone ending their life here on earth at the time of their own choosing, because that person and that person only can determine when they’ve had enough, I contemplate it. Nothing new. I’m still waiting for another breaking point to come, however, for me it won’t be genuine to bow out at someone else’s breaking point…but it does make me seriously consider it again and again.

      And I don’t foresee that thinking process changing for me until: 1. I reach another breaking point & decide that’s it; or 2. Something works–be it physical exercise, an Rx cocktail that actually helps, psychothereapy, alternative medicine (anything non-
      Western), a combo of things, or drug companies decide that maybe figuring out some of these diseases and disorders and maladies and syndromes are worth their R&D dollars because finding solutions will be profitable. Until then, each time I hear about suicides, I just think a bit harder and longer and determine for myself if I’m actually done now or do I have a bit left?

  2. U know when u va clinic u tell u have a problem and the nurse call u back u miss it tell u if u have some wrong call back after u have explain 30 min to someone already I fee my doc and nurse Dont give a damn for the veterans . I still paper work. To Ccc if someone burn nerve problem its been approve but no paper work. Then the veteran get Paid for it! Cover own ass. I thinking to cut ankle if this pain doesn’t stop. It all started after my doctor retired cut my pain meds that work. Feb 2014. Antidepressant do not work burn nerve problems.

    • that’s not true! i don’t know where you guys live. but in south Carolina VA hospital in Charleston. and sav Georgia. the docs and nurses go out of there way to make you feel like they care…. i have no complains about the care i get from the VA. im glad i have them…

      • Victoria Anderson says:

        Patrick Jahnke is telling about his experience, and he apparently is in a LOT of pain that isn’t being helped. There is nothing that puts a bigger damper on a life than living with unbearable pain, and particularly painful is living with unbearable pain and no one able to help you…or unwilling to help you. Keep fighting for help, Patrick Jahnke, keep fighting.

      • Tracy Presley says:

        They don’t in Oklahoma!

  3. we need to find out what the root cause is and go from their , we all have stress in our live and some vets just can not seem to filter it and want the pain to stop,i think they see no way out, it should be #1, to help lower this number. Dennis Satterfield USNAVY,RETIRED,

    • Sheridan Peterson says:

      It’s the medications the VA doctors ply us with. I had the foresight to stop in time.

      • Danny says:

        The best medicine I have found is a 13 pound ShihTzu service dog named Gypsy Girl! Even better than medical marijuana! As always God bless our troops, God bless our veterans, and God bless America!

  4. Paul Tenenbaum says:

    It might be of interest to know the breakdown by wars. Let us 5 years past. If 8000 Vets take their own lives, we are talking of 40,000 humans. Were they WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq (2) Afghanistan. How long did the V.A. take to conclude a claim?

  5. d says:

    A perfect example of our sorrow from a place no man wants to ever go.
    “yey we walk through the shadow of death and fear no evil”.
    Know that your life in civilization is a construct, not a law of nature. 
    Our lives and the way we live them are human constructs of what we think is the best way to live.
    It is littered with over 6000 years of myth, superstition, and dogma.
    Don’t confuse the truth with the things you do to survive.
    Society doesn’t, and very often won’t make sense.
    Continue our prayers for all our brothers and sisters that think their life should end. We love you all!

  6. Rennae says:

    Thank you both for all that you are doing to raise awareness not only for our military folks but there are so many others who may read your articles, listen to your video or visit your page. You never know from just looking at people what is truly going on in their world. My guess is your efforts will help more people than you realize.

    When you are able to share with others, help someone in need, and openly discuss suicide in a way that people can better relate, the mountains aren’t so high to climb and the depths of sadness and hopelessness aren’t so overwhelming.

  7. true says:

    VBA corruption.

  8. To hear these numbers breaks my heart. We need more reach out programs to try and reach these guys and gals that get caught in the terrible stress of life. We must not blame the dedicated wonderful people that staff our VA hospitals and clinics. They come in every day with wonderful love and energy and give it all to try and help us. I have never had the wonderful care that my clinic provides for me. I normally only see them two times a year but call and email with them anytime I have serious problems and the attention they pay to helping me through the problem could not be better. I used to belong to a church family but have quit. The support I was looking for was not there. Oh they smile and even pat you on the back but don’t get in front of them when heading to the parking lot, They will run over you. I pray for our guys and gals to find peace and that each night bring rest.
    Thank You
    Larry

  9. Clarence Bopp says:

    When a twenty-something maybe thirty-something with no military experience is the Dr. and says to the Viet Nam vet, “I understand,” the vet stops listening, much less hearing.

    • Danny says:

      how right you are my brother!we have all been through hell and there are very very many people that understand what we have been through.the only onesthat can help us and the only ones that truly understand what we have been through are our brothers and now our sisters that have been through the same hell that we have been through!please my brother don’t give up you have been through so much and whether you know it or not whether you want to hear it or not there are many brothers and sisters that love you we have never met you but we love you as a brother.PLEASE DON’T ANY OF YOU GIVE UP!

  10. Michael Rebeck says:

    First I am a Marine Corps Veteran. Interesting time for this blast as I was just with a Army Veteran suffering from PTSD and some other issues. In about an hour I was able to relieve the stress in both cases from a 10 on a 0 to 10 stress scale to a 1 and 2. No drugs but using a therapy that has been around since 1982. It was discovered by Dr. Roger Callahan, Phd. The therapy is called “Thought Field Therapy” (TFT). Now, I am going to really make some one p—- off. There have been several test cases completed working with Veterans in VA hospitals. The success rate achieved was better than 80%. This has been well documented but the clinicians were never asked to return. Why you say, well the white coats would lose their political power and all the perks they receive from the big pharmaceutical companies. They would rather sacrifice the Veterans for a lot of greed.
    Now I am really getting mad as I read on another VA blog that the VA is going to do a study using hyperbaric chambers to treat TBI. Why am I mad because Dr. Paul Harch, MD has been treating TBI with the chamber for a very long time and with excellent results. The DOD pulled his funding because the treatment did meet AMA standards and his peers were getting annoyed of his successes. Hyperbaric oxygen has been used in the treating of diabetic sores, strokes and other health issues. Vet’s we need to do something with the system to get other protocols into the VA hospitals and put the AMA in the Brig.
    Be Well, Semper Fi, Michael

  11. I HAVE A CLAIM THAT IS 5 YEARS OLD EVERY TIME I CALL BY PHONE THEY SAY THEY WILL CALL ME. THEY NEVER CALL ME BACK I AM ALMOST CONFINED TO A WHEELCHAIR EVERY THING IN MY CLAIM IS TRUE I HAVE BEEN GOING THROUGH DISABLED VETERANS THEY HAVE NOT BEEN VERY HELPFUL. PLEASE HELP ME

  12. william L says:

    I have been burnt by the last VSO. In the mist of changing vso. claim was denied. Really!
    going back to the head quarters again.
    nothing to lose.