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Archive for the ‘Suicide’ Category

The US-ual disregard for human life

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on April 23, 2008


USVeteran

(CBS) The Department of Veterans Affairs came under fire again Monday, this time in California federal court where its facing a national lawsuit by veterans rights groups accusing the agency of not doing enough to stem a looming mental health crisis among veterans. As part of the lawsuit, internal emails raise questions as to whether top officials deliberately deceived the American public about the number of veterans attempting and committing suicide.

CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports.

In San Francisco federal court Monday, attorneys for veterans’ rights groups accused the VA of nothing less than a cover-up – deliberately concealing the real risk of suicide among veterans. “The system is in crisis and unfortunately the VA is in denial,” said Veterans Rights Attorney Gordon Erspamer. The charges were backed by internal e-mails written by Dr. Ira Katz, the VA’s head of Mental Health.

In the past, Katz has repeatedly insisted while the risk of suicide among veterans is serious, it’s not outside the norm. “There is no epidemic in suicide in VA,” Katz told Keteyian in November. But in this e-mail to his top media advisor, written two months ago, Katz appears to be saying something very different, stating: “Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among veterans we see in our metical facilities.” Katz’s e-mail was written shortly after the VA provided CBS News data showing there were only 790 attempted suicides in all 2007 – a fraction of Katz’s estimate.

“This 12,000 attempted suicides per year shows clearly, without a doubt, that there is an epidemic of suicide among veterans,” said Paul Sullivan of Veterans for Common Sense. And it appears that Katz went out of his way to conceal these numbers. First, he titled his e-mail: “Not for the CBS News Interview Request.” He opened it with “Shh!” – as in keep it quiet – before ending with “Is this something we should (carefully) address … before someone stumbles on it?” Today we showed the e-mail to Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., who chairs the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. “This is disgraceful. This is a crime against our nation, our nation’s veterans,” Filner told CBS News. “They do not want to come to grips with the reality, with the truth.” And that’s not all.

Last November when CBS News exposed an epidemic of more than 6,200 suicides in 2005 among those who had served in the military, Katz attacked our report. “Their number is not, in fact, an accurate reflection of the rate,” he said last November. But it turns out they were, as Katz admitted in this e-mail, just three days later. He wrote: there “are about 18 suicides per day among America’s 25 million veterans.” That works out to about 6,570 per year, which Katz admits in the same e-mail, “is supported by the CBS numbers.” In an e-mail late Monday to CBS News, Katz wrote that the reason the numbers were not released was due to questions about the consistency and reliability of the findings – and that there was no public cover-up involved.

This really does not need any comment – it stands on it’s own – as an example of the usual US disregard for human life in general and US lives in particular.

If nothing else it’s a nice way to save money – dead people don’t need pensions and health care…

Follow up: VA Struggles With Vets’ Mental Health.
How we got the numbers behind the story.
VA Doctor on Veteran Suicides.
FYI: Suicide Risk Resources and Warning Signs.

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Posted in Suicide, US, War | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Bullycide

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on September 28, 2007


“Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me!”

I really wish we’d stop saying the above – because it is one of the biggest lies ever told to mankind. Millions and millions of kids and young adult world-wide are bullied every day, by schoolmates, siblings, parents, teachers, team-mates, and so called friends.

As a survivor of bullying, I still suffer the consequences – social anxiety, panic attacks, night-mares, PTSD, physical pain-reactions etc. Only compassion with those who would have to clean up after my bullycide have kept me from actively killing myself as a child, a young adult and later.

How ever macabre it seems – I like the word “bullycide” – because it puts the responsibility for the deaths of many, many kids and young adults squarely where it belongs – with the bullies.

Bullying is nothing but delayed murder, regardless of whether the victim kill themselves or not.

The most horrifying thing about all of this is that as a Society, we encourage bullying, we endorse it. By teaching our kids that being the best, the smartest, the most beautiful, slimmest, strongest etc, we set them up to point at others as “second-rate” human beings, objects of ridicule, disrespect, violence and bullying or we set them up to be victims of those who consider them second-rate human beings. Either way, the responsibility is ours.

Posted in Bullying, Suicide, Violence | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Chris Benoit – another victim of a gender role?

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on June 28, 2007


Chris BenoitFAYETTEVILLE, Georgia (CNN) — The discovery of anabolic steroids in pro-wrestler Chris Benoit’s home has raised speculation that the performance-enhancing drugs may be linked to his death and the killings of his wife and young son.The 40-year-old champion strangled his wife, Nancy Benoit, and suffocated his 7-year-old son Daniel, authorities said, before he hanged himself on a portable weight machine inside his lavish home outside Atlanta. Police have said no motive has been determined. More…


Men are rewarded for being cool, calm and collected, strong, silent and superior. We build our image of what it means to be a man on those attributes. We cheer athletes for their successes and berate them for their failures, and when they no longer appeal to us with their IMAGE we leave them crushed beneath our feet.So is it any surprise if those same athletes will do just about anything to stay on top?I am not joining the choir singing the roid-rage song about Chris Benoit. I didn’t know him, so I couldn’t say. But IF, then who is at least partially responsible for his and half his family’s death? We are. For accepting a male gender role that put Chris and so many other male athletes in a catch 22 position. For demanding that male athletes be more than they are to satisfy our needs for spectacles.When the breaking point is reached – will we be there to support and encourage? No. That is one reason men so often loose the battle with their inner demons – they are taught to be the supporters not the supported – and somehow I doubt Chris Benoit was any different from other men. To me Chris Benoit is another tragic victim of an oppressive male gender role, that in the end didn’t just take Chris’ Life, but that of his wife and son.

Where will it stop?

Posted in Men, Suicide | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

 
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