A veteran lights himself on fire in front of his VA hospital in New Jersey. This sort of thing does not happen in America, does it? Sadly it does and even sadder is the fact that it is not particularly surprising. This article in USA Today tells the story.
The veteran couldn’t get an appointment with his VA mental health provider. His referral to outside providers was approved, but never implemented. Confusion reigned and in the end, the veteran killed himself – publicly and horribly. The veteran’s poorly treated mental health issues caused this suicide, medically there is no doubt of that. But if you simply said this veteran died of frustration that description would not be inaccurate.
Depression, PTSD and other mental health conditions are not easy to treat. However, if you simply don’t treat these conditions. If the patients are simply blown off, the ultimate outcome is quite predictable. Our veterans deserve treatment. They deserve good treatment. They are not getting it. The system needs to change and that needs to happen now.