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2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report

Key results include the following: • The number of Veteran suicides exceeded 6,000 each year from 2008 to 2017. • Among U.S. adults, the average number of suicides per day rose from 86.6 in 2005 to 124.4 in 2017. These numbers included 15.9 Veteran suicides per day in 2005 and 16.8 in 2017. • In 2017, the suicide rate for Veterans was 1.5 times the rate for non-Veteran adults, after adjusting for population differences in age and sex • Firearms were the method of suicide in 70.7% of male Veteran suicide deaths and 43.2% of female Veteran suicide deaths in 2017. • In addition to the aforementioned Veteran suicides, there were 919 suicides among never federally activated former National Guard and Reserve members in 2017, an average 2.5 suicides per…
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The Inevitable Trauma

Trauma happens in everyone’s life somewhere on their lifeline. The significance and impact is uniquely different. The brain remembers the trauma. It gets revisited until the emotions and beliefs associated with the trauma are connected and weaved together. This process is EMDR. Your Brain should and needs to remember to warn you in the event something similar is about to happen. When you are safe and in a state of calmness, you could call it healed, or growth or enlightenment. I need my PTSD. But in a way that keeps me safe. Not ignored. Not renamed. Not medicated. Accepted.
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Why I do what I do….

I remember being in Washington, DC, in 2016. I was walking to an appointment and had to walk under an overpass. There, curled up against the cement sides were several individuals covered in blankets, newspapers and cardboard trying to sleep; to be invisible. I passed them, trying not to stare; trying to be invisible. It made me ashamed and profoundly sad. My affiliation with the military dates back to my childhood. All the men in my family served in one branch or another since the civil war. My grandfather took me to a Christmas party at the VFW. My uncles served in Korea. One of them was diagnosed with “shell shock”. He received his medication through the mail. He stayed to himself. When he wasn’t “feeling well”, the children were…
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Be the knot at the end of their rope.

It was just a matter of money and paperwork to get my idea legalized. The next step was figuring out how to raise money. Much like Noah in the desert trying to convince people that a flood was coming, I set out to share my idea. It was as big as an elephant. But the way you eat one, is one bite at a time. Some of my buddies chipped in and we created a logo and a catch phrase, “Never Alone, Always Together”. That was the message we hoped to convey. Again my buddies put together some random art and created a powerful visual effect representative of all branches of the military and implying that there is strength in numbers. My buddies approached a T-Shirt company called “Nine Lines”…
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The Birth of BuddyWatch, Inc.

I know someone who that has spent much of the past 15 years as a wanderer. He doesn’t have an address. He makes friends easily so he frequently can get a shower and a sofa to sleep on. He was in combat in 2003 during the invasion of Baghdad. He came back a changed young man. He describes his time there as one very long day. The trip across the desert and the fighting in Baghdad is recorded as being 21 days. That was just the most intense part. He came back angry and bitter. He no longer slept at night. He would have to exhaust himself and drink to pass out. That is how he rested. Many times, he contemplated suicide and attempted without success How do you encourage…
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