Battling the Storm Within

Friday, December 22, 2017

VA Make the Connection Video - Sgt Stephanie Shannon - Video

“If you’re brave enough to serve, you’re brave enough to heal.”
That’s Stephanie’s message to her fellow #Veterans. You can find support and move forward like she did.


VA specialty clinic opens in Ann Arbor

Opened late last month, the 10,000-square-foot Green Road Outpatient Clinic, 2500 Green Road, is managed by the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. The VA Ann Arbor operates several major outpatient community clinics, including ones in Flint, Toledo and Jackson.


Veterans face health care crisis Jan. 2 as key program is set to lose funding

Funding for the Veterans Choice Program could run out as early as Jan. 2, 2018, and as late as Jan. 16, 2018, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) notice.


Program Seeks To Serve Female Veterans Who Feel Uncomfortable At The VA

Clinical psychologist Miatta Snetter (right) speaks to Marine Corps veteran Sherry Pope at the Fullerton College Veterans Resource Center. Snetter says woman sometimes feel uncomfortable around male veterans at the VA.

A new program in Los Angeles is trying to provide female veterans with health care outside the VA, which some consider a male dominated environment.

Libby Denkmann reports on a new effort to provide services to female veterans


VA Rolls Out New Medical Marijuana Policy For Vets

VA Rolls Out New Medical Marijuana Policy For Vets

There has always been some disconnect between veterans and medical marijuana.
Although there has been plenty of evidence to suggest cannabis would be beneficial to veterans for a wide array of ailments, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been reluctant to allow their doctors to formally recommend it as a treatment option. However, as the VA rolls out a new medical marijuana policy tor vets, it appears doctors are now permitted to at least discuss potential use with their patients.


Proposed bill would provide child care for veterans receiving mental health care

Legislation pending in Congress would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide short term child care for veterans receiving mental health care at its medical facilities.

The bill, the Veterans Access to Child Care Act, passed the House but is awaiting action in the Senate Armed Services Committee.


Veterans groups sue the military for sexual assault records

Two veterans groups have filed a lawsuit against the Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security, alleging that the government is illegally denying records requests involving sexual assault and harassment cases.

The two veterans advocate groups — Protect Our Defenders and the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center — filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court Wednesday.

Read more.

Gulf War Syndrome: US Veterans Suffering from Multiple Debilitating Symptoms

After their service in the Gulf War conflict from 1990-1991, hundreds of thousands of our country’s veterans began suffering from multiple and diverse debilitating symptoms including neurological and respiratory disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, psychological problems, skin conditions and gastrointestinal issues


Toxic Command: US Army Ignores Nurse’s Yearlong Pleas for Help; 1LT Survives Attempted Murder by Deranged Civilian

At approximately 5:10 p.m. on September 7, 2016, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (NP) at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, heard screaming from an office adjacent to hers at Munson Army Health Center. The civilian NP ran into the hallway and found 26-year-old 1LT Katie Ann Blanchard, an active duty Registered Nurse (RN) and mother of three, on fire from the waist up. (Details of the attack from the FBI Criminal Complaint, dated 8SEP16 can be found here.)


Why Military Women Are Missing from the #MeToo Moment

For military women, before #MeToo there was #NotInvisible, our attempt to draw attention to the epidemic of sexual assault in the military which continues to be largely ignored by the American public. Now as the #MeToo reckoning sweeps other industries, from Hollywood to politics, America is once again leaving service women behind


False reports outpace sex assaults in the military

False complaints of sexual abuse in the military are rising at a faster rate than overall reports of sexual assault, a trend that could harm combat readiness, analysts say.

Virtually all media attention on a Pentagon report last week focused on an increase in service members’ claims of sexual abuse in an anonymous survey, but unmentioned were statistics showing that a significant percentage of such actually investigated cases were baseless.


VA: More alternative therapy options available to fight PTSD

WASHINGTON — Pressurized oxygen chambers, light-emitting helmets and neck injections are all treatments the Department of Veterans Affairs is using to help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

Following an announcement last week that the VA would offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy to some veterans with PTSD, the agency said Thursday that the move is part of an effort to explore alternatives to the traditional therapies for PTSD and TBI, VA Secretary David Shulkin said in a statement.


3 Ways PTSD Has Made My Life Difficult

man looking away

My post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) requires so much energy and planning to manage on a daily basis. But who am I kidding? It’s often hourly and sometimes minute by minute. For me, it’s basically a full-time job with no benefits, lousy hours and no overtime pay — but plenty of overtime, and an asshole for a boss.


Military toxins are becoming more harmful to our veterans

Military toxins are becoming more harmful to our veterans

Imagine surviving two deployments in Iraq, constantly dodging bombs and enemy gunfire, only to realize that the air you were once thankful to be able to breathe was making you sick. This is what happened to Sergeant Major Rob Bowman, who passed away from cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of bile duct cancer, at the age of 44.

Unfortunately, as many military families know all too well, Sergeant Major Bowman’s situation is not unique. “Of the 30 men in Rob’s platoon who returned home, nearly one-third of them developed uncommon cancers and medical conditions,” said Coleen Bowman, Rob’s surviving spouse, “and the first doctor we saw confirmed immediately that the cause of Rob’s cancer was environmental, not genetic.”


Pentagon prepares to accept transgender recruits beginning in January, as Trump’s ban hangs in the balance

The U.S. military is preparing to accept transgender recruits for the first time beginning in January, the Pentagon said Wednesday, the latest signal that President Trump’s desired ban may not materialize after all.

Officials are “taking steps to be prepared” to bring in the first transgender recruits on Jan. 1, as required by a federal court order issued recently, said Army Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman. He declined to comment further, citing open litigation, but said that the Defense Department and Justice Department are consulting on the issue.


The Navy and Army fail to report violent offenders at rates higher than the Air Force and Marine Corps

From left: Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, and Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, during a Senate Armed Services committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 19, 2017.

WASHINGTON - A Defense Department review released Tuesday found significant failures throughout the military to report violent offenders to federal law enforcement, a breakdown that allowed Air Force veteran Devin Kelley to purchase the firearms he used to commit a massacre in Texas last month.

Yet while the focus in that case has been the Air Force’s failure to submit Kelley’s criminal history to the FBI’s background-check database, the other military services mostly performed far worse.


Trump ends homeless vets program as their numbers rise for first time in 7 years

Donald Trump, from the outset, cast himself as a champion of veterans, and promised that he would improve veterans care as president.
But the toxic right-wing ideology of Trump and his administration has nonetheless seeped into the way they take care of and prioritize veterans.
According to Politico, a popular program to house homeless veterans is on the chopping block — and at the worst possible moment:


Gulf War Compensation

Southwest Asia theatre of military operations: Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, U.A.E., Oman, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea

Gulf War

Veterans discharged under conditions other than dishonorable who served in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations, which includes the areas specified by regulation, but not Afghanistan, may be entitled to disability compensation for certain undiagnosed illnesses, certain diagnosable chronic disability patterns, and certain presumptive diseases ( as described below) even though these disorders did not become manifest during qualifying service. Veterans who served in Afghanistan on or after September 19, 2001, may be entitled to disability compensation for certain presumptive diseases.


VA reverses plan to cut homeless veteran housing program after outrage

The Department of Veterans Affairs has reversed course on a plan to essentially end a $460 million program that helps provide housing to homeless veterans after facing blowback when news of the decision broke.

VA Secretary David Shulkin said in a statement that “there will be absolutely no change in the funding to support our homeless programs,” and the department “will not be shifting any homeless program money to the Choice program,” which allows veterans to seek health care at facilities outside the VA


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Base Rates: U.S. Military Bases by Rates of Sexual Assault Reports Filed

The Friday before Thanksgiving, the Pentagon quietly and for the first time released raw figures on the number of reports of sexual assault across all U.S. military installations at home and abroad, by base. The release of this data generated a certain momentary buzz in headlines across the U.S., but failed to provide context in terms of rates by population.

Large bases with greater numbers of personnel could be expected to generate larger numbers of reports; but without a sense of rate by population size of the base it continues to be impossible to compare bases with one another. But never fear, not-so-gentle Internet. Those missing context-providing rates can be generated from verified population figures, and we’ve done that work.


How Desert Storm Destroyed the US Military

The US military that won Desert Storm or Gulf War I in 1991 was a spectacular military, a gargantuan industrial age military with high tech weaponry and well trained personnel, that when called upon, achieved victory with the speed of Patton and the elan of Teddy Roosevelt.

Overlooking the vast eight mile carnage on the Highway of Death in Kuwait, destruction that was caused by a US Air Force and Navy that bore almost no resemblance to the two services now, a sergeant in the 7th US Cavalry remarked, “America sure got its money’s worth from those Joes.”


USA TODAY Investigation: VA knowingly hires doctors with past malpractice claims, discipline for poor care

Neurosurgeon John Henry Schneider racked up more than a dozen malpractice claims and settlements in two states, including cases alleging he made surgical mistakes that left patients maimed, paralyzed or dead.


US Dept. VA - Make the Connection Video - Sexually assaulted Woman Vet - Healing Story

While serving in the Army, Stephanie was sexually assaulted. She carried her pain home with her and had trouble finding emotional, financial, and familial support. After finding the courage to reach out to VA and open up to treatment, she uncovered the tools to empower herself and her son.

Watch VIDEO more...

VA too 'male-centric,' female vets tell legislators

GARFIELD — Not enough doctors focused on their needs. Poor access to mammograms. A hospital that feels more like a strip club than a medical center.

These were just some of the concerns shared by female veterans Friday, when they spoke at a round table hosted by Rep. Bill Pascrell and Sen. Cory Booker, both Democrats, at Garfield VFW Post 2867.


For suicidal veterans, loneliness is the deadliest enemy

A photo of a soldier's boots in front of the American flag.

About 20 veterans commit suicide every day. The primary enemy most veterans face after service is not war-related trauma but loneliness, according to a new study by researchers at Yale and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The study, scheduled to be published Oct. 1 in the journal World Psychiatry, followed 2,000 veterans over a period of four years to help explain why studies have shown that vets are more than twice as likely to kill themselves as their civilian counterparts.  At enrollment, the participants never had suicidal thoughts and were representative of U.S. military veterans as a whole: They were predominantly older, with an average age of 62, and two-thirds had never seen combat.


Gillibrand Reintroduces Military Justice Improvement Act

There were an estimated 15,000 sexual assaults in the U.S. military last year.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has reintroduced her Military Justice Improvement Act that would put military sex assault prosecutions in the hands of trained prosecutors. She spoke on CBS This Morning.


Over 70,000 military sexual assaults took place last year -- Congress must take action

Congress should act swiftly to approve long overdue legislation introduced Thursday to strengthen the prosecution of sexual assault in the military.

The Defense Department estimates that about 8,600 women and 6,300 men were sexually assaulted in our armed forces last year. Most victims were attacked more than once, resulting in over 70,000 sexual assaults in 2016 alone.