PDST and the elephant in the room

Afganistan

It seems the VA is taking seriously the dramatic increase of PSTD in both soldiers/warriors/veteran in the field and at home. Here is an excerpt from the an blog written by Elspeth Cameron Ritchie entitled, “The Importance of Instilling Hope. ”

The 4th Annual Department of Defense-VA suicide-prevention conference was a big deal here in the capital last week, with three days of presentations by top officials from the Pentagon and the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services. I put together the first military suicide-prevention conference, back in 2002. A decade ago, it was done on a shoestring budget (in other words, none), at the Marine Corps’ Henderson Hall near the Pentagon. It had about 100 attendees (some complained there was no coffee!). The keynoter was Kay Redfield Jamison, a great speaker and author of Night Falls Fast,on suicide, and numerous others that delve into the mind.

Since then the military conference has grown, merged with the VA, and routinely draws over 1,000 people to one of downtown Washington, D.C.’s biggest hotels. I have actually grown a little cynical about the conference over the last 10 years.

All this effort and money, but the suicide rate in the military grows every year – despite the Army and DoD task forces.

However I was impressed by this last conference, and want to share a few highlights.

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