May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Truthfully, every day ought to be Mental Health Awareness Day. In our nationwide FTCA medical malpractice operation, we are contacted by veterans or their families every day about mental health treatment at VA hospitals. The news is full of reports of increased rates of suicides among veterans and, more recently, veterans killing themselves on VA campuses. The news is sad and disturbing. Tragically, it is not particularly surprising.
While the VA’s issue with the provision of mental health services is a well-known problem, it is not an isolated one. It is not hyperbole to say that nationally we have a mental health crisis. Not enough people are getting the help they need. They suffer and, frankly, society is placed at genuine risk.
The mental health system in our country will not change overnight – and the amount that any one person can do is, of course, limited. What all of us can do is look out for our families, colleagues and neighbors. This piece from CBS news provides some good information with regard to suicide prevention, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/veteran-suicide-warning-signs-how-to-get-help/ It’s a bit like the security slogan we see so often: See something, say something. Doing so could very well save a life.