Sadly, Florida remains a leader in veterans suicides. The recent study revealed that 533 of our bravest took their own lives in the latest numbers (story HERE).
And it looks like our plan to prevent veterans suicides next year will be.. a website. Along with existing prevention help lines. The budget? Pennies compared to what we spend on other things. Not even half a million.
These strategies haven’t been working. So, why are we doing the same thing?
It’s because we still have people in the echelons of veterans care that are afraid of talking about suicide. It makes them look bad. They want to use the pandemic as a reason. That may be true to a degree. But we were leaders way before the pandemic.
The truth is that being proactive and not reactive will be the key to preventing veterans suicides.
If we’re doing our jobs correctly, do you know how many phone calls a veterans suicide hot line should get? Zero. We have a long way to go, but if we accomplish this important mission, we’ll know why.
It will be because we’re improving our military to civilian transition services, and allowing our brothers and sisters to get a real chance at success at finding a good paying job. One that can navigate the harsh Orlando housing market.
We have to make sure these veterans can get a college degree before they get out of the military that will allow them to compete with the civilian competition.
And we’ve got to make sure their getting the benefits they’ve earned when they do get out, in the realms of health care and education.
A website and a phone number does work. It will save lives. But we’ve done it before. We have to move forward.
We haven’t been doing that. And we won’t if we’re afraid to talk about it.