In response to the epidemic of suicides among our nation’s and our city’s military veterans and active service members, the Chicago City Council will hold a hearing of the Human Relations Committee on Wednesday, February 19th to hear testimony and strategies for fixing this tragic problem.
Mother Goose salutes the Council for opening up this discussion and for building awareness of this crisis and for hearing the good ideas of those who are working with the vets in our communities. Mother Goose will be in attendance as a comrade of the Blue Star Family Platoon.
Here is a copy of the resolution submitted to the Council by Alderman James A. Balcer on the fifteenth of January requesting Wednesday’s hearing:
The Blue Star Family Platoon would also invite you to read our statement which will be read at the hearing by member, Kevin Lewis. And here is a link to that very important document. Simply click on STATEMENT and you’ll find the document in its entirety.
The crisis of veteran (and active service member) suicides is frightening in its scope — most recent numbers indicate that twenty veterans commit suicide each day. That number was from a report in 2012 by the Veterans Health Administration.
Last month, new numbers were released by the VHA as part of a follow-up study. This study indicates that suicides have actually increased in the last two years among female vets as well as male vets under the age of 30 and especially between the ages of 18 and 24.
This is absolutely unacceptable.
The Blue Star Family Platoon has made several viable recommendations in our statement to the City Council including an expanded utilization of our city’s library system to create a city-sponsored virtual network connecting our veterans to each other and to all resources available to them within Chicago’s city limits.
We also would recommend mobile devices be given to each and every veteran in order to allow them contact to the online resources they could access from the safety and security of their own homes. Many of our returning vets are experiencing post-traumatic stress which gives them fear of being in open spaces and public areas.
We realize that having a sense of purpose and personal meaning is essential to combating depression and hopelessness. Our city could indeed lead the way by sponsoring and implementing a full-scale Veteran Olympic project. Let the current Warrior Games and Wounded Warrior Games go on steroids and let the participants realize their vital role as leaders and positive role models in our country.
I hope that you’ll stay tuned as we learn more about what Chicago can and will do to help solve the tragic crisis of veteran suicides. In the meantime, here’s what you can do!
Find a veteran in your community. Yes, shake his or her hand and thank them for their service regardless of the war or conflict in which they served. And then find a way to stay connected to them. Make them feel your pride in their service by being their friend. Yes, it’s as simple as that for most of us. Be a friend.
Just a friendly request and reminder from Mother Goose.