Thursday, September 26, 2013

New Suicide Prevention Tool - Vet-Tested - Coming Soon!

We must talk.  We must reach out.  We must care.  And, we must trust that we can make a difference together.

Twenty-two Veterans take their own lives every day.  That’s one every 65 minutes.  Every day. Many have sought care, and many refuse to seek care.  All need new options.  Service members, veterans, and their families are suffering in relative silence when so many in our communities and nation are willing to help.  

A new suicide prevention tool is launching very soon.  With a single touch, a smartphone app, CallApp, becomes a virtual crisis center that provides choices to a vet and reduces confusion at times of great stress.  Users can select direct connections to crisis lines, battle buddies, trusted friends, clinicians, organizations, and faith and community-based support.  CallApp will be free to our service members, veterans, and their families, and each can personalize their contacts to readily reach trusted friends and support. 

All features are Vet requested and Vet-tested.  Safe locations, peer support, and options in 36 languages will help encourage rapid adoption.  Additionally, continually updated information on PTSD, TBI, anxiety, depression, MST, chronic pain, and local resources will provide further support.  CallApp provides a unique bridge of communication between the extremes of a crisis intervention or waiting and faltering for help, often alone.   

Ninety-seven percent (97%) of all military families receive information from the Internet or their smartphones according to a recent study, making smartphones the optimal choice for outreach.  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), financial strain, relationship fractures, substance abuse, homelessness, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation may be precursors for suicidal ideation.  With an average of 25 suicide attempts before a completion, there's enormous opportunity to save lives and guide our service members, veterans, and their families to clinical services they trust, and to compassionate people who care. 

Technology doesn’t save lives; people do, but it’s essential to first connect with and support our service members, veterans and their families. 

Together, we can and will stem the tragedy of military suicides.  

Linda Kreter & the VeteranCaregiver Team 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Post-Disaster Care for a Rabbit, but not a Veteran? Consider this during Suicide Prevention Month...


One of the most difficult things for a caregiver to deal with after a suicide attempt is obtaining postvention or aftercare.  VA protocol says you should receive contact within 24 hours, but this happens more in theory than in practice.  We know of cases where an SPC has not returned a call after six weeks, even with intervening advocacy calls.  We cannot know the full statistics, but we sincerely hope this is an exception rather than the rule for most at-risk veterans.

If you view a suicide attempt as a “disaster”, then perhaps you’ll relate to the paragraph below requiring contingency planning at the USDA for a rabbit.  Don’t our veterans deserve to have an operational after-care plan from the VA after a suicide attempt “disaster”?  Or even a combined caregiver/VA care-team plan?  Here’s the link to the article from the Washington Post

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working hard to ensure that Americans have safe food to eat. The latest case is that of a children's magician in Missouri, who received a letter from the USDA requiring him to develop an emergency evacuation plan. For his rabbit. "I just received an 8 page letter from the USDA," he said, "telling me that by July 29 I need to have in place a written disaster plan, detailing all the steps I would take to help get my rabbit through a disaster, such as a tornado, fire, flood, etc.," and "what I will do after the disaster, to make sure my rabbit gets cared for properly." (italics added).

Let's show better postvention care of our veterans who are taking their own lives every 65 minutes - every day.  Let's support and care for the family members who bear heavy loads and are also at-risk.  Each life is so complex, with no one solution, but with an average of 25 suicide attempts before a completion - that's a LOT of room for help, support, and a new perspective on living.

Linda Kreter & the VeteranCaregiver Team