Substance Abuse Help for Veterans

Substance Abuse Help for Veterans

Find Recovery Centers Near You

Once a Soldier is teaming up with Help.org to bring you resources for Veterans who are struggling with substance abuse. It’s a simple trap to fall into: substances that first help turn destructive and potentially fatal. Whether it’s doctor-prescribed meds, street drugs or legal drinking that can spin out of control, Veterans seem to suffer more. So do their families.

We receive many requests to post helpful information aimed at Veterans, and we are picky about who we partner with. Help.org, and their resource guide, both offer something that we feel has your best interests in mind.

With their permission, I am reposting their resource information here, and linking to their full page full of helpful resources here. From Help.org:

 

Updated September, 2019

In 2015, 1 in 15 veterans had a substance use disorder, and they are more likely than civilians to have substance abuse problems with alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs. According to a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), around 3.7% of service members before the Vietnam war reported substance abuse, but recently, 12.7% of members who have served since 2001 reported drug abuse, more than tripling the pre-Vietnam rate.

While other segments of the population might turn to substance abuse for a variety of reasons, veterans often turn to substances like alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs when suffering from difficulties like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and homelessness.

The good news is that if you are a veteran who struggles with substance abuse, you can receive a variety of services for free from the VA including help detoxing, treatment in facilities, individual or group therapy, medications, and other services.

We compiled information to walk you through each step of the process – from learning about substance abuse treatment programs to accessing treatment. We also provide additional resources, hotlines, and funding programs to supplement or help make treatment possible.

Go to the source page for this article with lots more useful information.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Grief Support Resources After a Veteran Suicide

Grief Support Resources After a Veteran Suicide

You Are Not Alone – Find Support from Others Who’ve Lost Children

There’s no getting over the loss of a child, especially under tragic circumstances like suicide. But there are places where you can feel that you’re not alone, that others are dealing with the pain just like you. We just became aware of The Compassionate Friends website.

My next-door neighbors lost their son in a tragic plane crash that also took his biological father. The mom’s world literally crash all around her. It’s been four years and she is just now starting to find a way to remember the good things along with the tragedy. There is hope, but the road is long but you don’t have to go it alone.

Telling the Children

One of the main challenges confronting adults is how to explain death to surviving children. Explaining death to children forces one to come to terms with the finality of death themselves. This is not easy. Children need to have an understanding of physical death. The correct terms, “dead,” “death,” and “died,” should be used when discussing the situation—never suggesting that the child is sleeping. Even though young children don’t know what the words mean, they will eventually develop an understanding. Death as a physical event can best be discussed as part of the cycle of nature. “Dead means not alive anymore. It’s like the leaves on the trees in the winter or flowers that die. Life is over. The body doesn’t work anymore. It doesn’t move or hear or breathe or feel pain or sleep or need to eat. It just stops.” A clear simple explanation should also be given to each child about the cause of death. It should be geared to the developmental level of the child and may need to be repeated several times. It is important to reassure them that they did nothing to cause the death. They also need to be assured about the normality of their body so they are not scared they, too, may die.

About The Compassionate Friends, Inc.

The Compassionate Friends offers friendship, understanding, and hope to families grieving the death of a child at any age from any cause. With more than 600 chapters and more than 25 closed Facebook pages, it remains the largest self-help bereavement support organization in the U.S. Local chapters offer monthly, peer-to-peer support meetings. Often special events for bereaved families such as a Walk to Remember, a butterfly release, or lantern launch are planned to allow the families to celebrate the lives of all the children gone too soon. These local chapters also often publish periodic chapter newsletters, maintain a website, or host a Facebook page. Chapters can be found by going to the chapter locator on the national website and simply inputting your zip code.

Our Amendment Options to HR 3495

Our Amendment Options to HR 3495

New Amendment Would Create a National Conference for Veteran Suicide Families

With the launch of a National Conference for Veteran Suicide Families, Once a Soldier offers our lawmakers and the VA a solid option for an amendment to HR 3495  – the‘‘Improve Well-Being for Veterans Act’’.

In connection with House of Representative John Rutherford (R-FL), Once a Soldier was asked to offer options that fit this bill. With the crisis of PTSD and suicide rising, the Veterans Administration, members of Congress and the White House have been laboring over this bill for more than 4 months now. We are happy to add ideas that we feel will help those forgotten Veteran famlies after a suicide.

Once a Soldier’s Amendment Recommendations regarding HR 3495

Overview: Once a Soldier exists to help families before and after a Veteran suicide. Families serve just like the soldier and additionally they have endured:

The uncertainty of service during wartime
The emotional burden of their veteran’s PTSD
The emotional and financial burden of their loved one’s suicide
The stigma of suicide
The financial impact of Veteran suicide

Amendment Options:
Uplifting these unsung American heroes would involve these options:

Option 1: Launch an annual national conference for families of Veteran suicide

Goals of the conference would include:

  • Education on PTSD Management and Treatments
  • Networking between Non-Profits, VA Providers and Families-in-Need
  • Establish a Nonprofit Task Force Overseeing Support for Veteran Suicide Families
  • Bonding between Veteran Suicide Families
  • Collecting Research to Improve Best Practice

Growing a local network of support groups that would help with:

  • PTSD treatments
  • Financing a funeral
  • Body transportation
  • VA benefit navigation

Option 2:  Funding for nonprofit organizations that focus on Veteran families for when PTSD prevention fails. These nonprofits would have a history of:

  • Empowering Veteran Families to Stop Soldier Suicide
  • Offering PTSD education/therapies before and after a Veteran Suicide
  • Offering Mental Health education/therapies before and after a Veteran Suicide
  • Providing Veteran suicide survivor information and outreach

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Funeral Home Practices Veteran Families Need to Know – Direct Cremation

Funeral Home Practices Veteran Families Need to Know – Direct Cremation

Ashes to Ashes With Dignity and Common Sense

The Funeral Doesn’t Have To Be Financially Painful

After a Veteran suicide, keeping the option of direct cremation in mind is a good idea. Most family members are still reeling from the shock of the suicide. With the effects of trickle-down PTSD on top of the loss, mistakes are easily made when it comes to final wishes that no one ever talked about. If you’re not interested in getting serious sticker shock from a funeral home, consider the direct cremation option. All funeral homes are required by law to tell you about that service. 1-4 won’t, so you need to ask if you want it.

The Veterans Administration supplies the bare minimum after any Veteran passing: a plot in a national cemetery, an in-ground marker and a 30-minute service. That leaves the majority of the costs up to the families. Direct cremation will keep your honor in tact and your financial scars to a minimum.

Direct Cremation – Right Price and Your Right to Know

Costing between $400 – $1,200, this is the most economical and sensible death care option. The process and decisions needed to make are also family-friendly.

  • Loved one’s body is picked up by the funeral home
  • Death certificate and permits are filed by the funeral home
  • Cremation takes place
  • Family picks up the ashes in a simple urn

You don’t need to be financially distressed to have a direct cremation. You just have to decide if you want to spend $14,000 for a funeral or not. If money is no object, then the money you save on direct cremation could be spent during the wake, or a lavish remembrance reception with your loved one as the guest of honor.  And your protected by the Federal Trade Commission. Direct cremations and their ability to provide one, are your right. The Funeral Consumers Alliance and the Consumer Federation of America released a survey of 142 representative funeral homes showing that more than one-fifth (23%) fail to tell consumers about their options for simple cremations, in violation of the Federal Trade Commission’s “Funeral Rule,” which requires specified price disclosures on a list and verbally. Now you know.

Finding the Best Price

Cremation services offer by your local funeral home could be carried out by a third-party vendor miles and miles away. That’s perfectly fine and legal, and may be unavoidable in most small to mid-sized towns across America. You should Google “funeral home” or “cremation” and find 4-5 numbers to call.  They don’t need to be closest to you since you’re going to pick up the remains.

 Get the All-Inclusive Price 

This is an important phrase and includes the funeral home’s basic service fee, cremation fee, filing all the paperwork and transportation and placing the ashes in an urn for you. This phrase gets included when you cal and ask if they do direct cremations. 

 

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

OAS Advocates on H.R. 3495, Improve Well-Being for Veterans Act

OAS Advocates on H.R. 3495, Improve Well-Being for Veterans Act

Bill Amendments Limits Groups Who Could Help the Most

What started out as good news for Veterans at risk and out of contact with the VA turned bad with an amendment to H.R. 3495. An amendment, penned by Mark Takano, United States Representative for California, turned that all on it’s head now. Groups whose missions call for Veteran suicide prevention rallied up and weighed in, Once a Soldier among them.

Today brings a vote on H.R. 3495, Improve Well-Being for Veterans Act. This bill would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide financial assistance to eligible entities to provide and coordinate the provision of suicide prevention services for veterans at risk of suicide and veteran families through the award of grants to such entities, and for other purposes.

Financially speaking, the bill would also grant up to $750,000/year one and $1,000,000 year two and beyond to some nonprofits. While not perfect, it’s not the bill that got us involved, but an Amendment to it by Mark Takano, United States Representative for California’s 41st congressional district since 2013.

Interesting side note: This bill has a 2% chance of being enacted, according to Skopos Labs. Update: pass percentage is now 20.

 

 

Our Advocacy Efforts on H.R. 3495

It is argued by Once a Soldier, and our name is signed to a list of name at the end of a letter to  that Rep. Takano’s Amendment would miss some of the “boots on the front line” of the fight to stop soldier suicide. Specifically, our letter included this language:

“While the regional coordination service grants envisioned in the legislation are important, and as a group we support them, they are not enough to adequately engage on veteran suicide prevention. We also need innovative and non-traditional veteran suicide prevention programs which combat veteran isolation and lack of community connection wherever those “communities” may lie.”

Once a Soldier has always been innovative and non-traditional, so we feel that our approach will be validated by this bill.

Our Partners

We have to give all the credit for our involvement in this bill Bob “Shoebob” Carey.,CAPT, USN (Ret), who is the Chief Advocacy Officer for The Independence Fund. His efforts to build a coalition of Veteran and Behavioral Health organization leaders caught us up. His email four days ago asking for our signature on a letter that was forwarded to the right parties was a great opportunity for us. While we don’t enjoy the luxury of a full-time Advocacy Officer, we could see that his position was one we could support. And we did.

Here is the complete text of the letter sent December 4, 2019.

Others that signed the letter: 

 

  • The Independence Fund
  • TREA – The Enlisted Association
  • National Association of American Veterans, Inc.
  • Veterans Healing Farm
  • Travis Manion Foundation
  • Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
  • National Alliance to End Veteran Suicide
  • AMVETS – American Veterans
  • PsychHub
  • SAW – Save a Warrior
  • Once a Soldier
  • Angel Force
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • Psych Armor

John Rutherford is our district’s Representative in the House. We have advocated successfully with is office in the past, as seen here and here, and they have been greatly supportive of our cause. This latest effort is no different. But, Rep. Rutherford will not involved in today’s vote, we are working with them for the future should it come before him for a vote.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Faces of Veteran Suicide

Jamie Brunette

The face of Veteran suicide can be surprising.
Please consider giving to prevent suicide or to be there after.

Donate here.