In Iraq, they call the behavioral health center ‘the pink house.’

“Leaders. In Iraq, they call the behavioral health center ‘the pink house.’ Commanders tell soldiers to get on down to the pink house.”

Quoted from a report by Penny Coleman, wife of a veteran who committed suicide two years ago, about the Department of Defense’s sixth annual Suicide Prevention Conference. Finally in January 2008 the creation of the Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury provided official recognition of the seriousness of the issue.

That’s 12,000 veterans a year — VA patients — trying to kill themselves. On top of that, of the 6,570 who on average succeed each year, 1,825 of them are also patients at the VA. How is possible not to mention that kind of news at a conference on military suicides?

This must have been a challenging week for the conference organizers. How to deal with the Katz e-mails and the new RAND Corporation report, which is devastating in its description of DoD and VA failures. And the RAND report can’t be blown off as the ravings of a bunch of leftists with an anti war agenda; RAND conducts research and analysis for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Commands, the defense agencies, the Department of the Navy, and the U.S. intelligence community.

The Rand report is worth reading. When I find more ‘neutral’ reports I will post. So much of the material is redacted there is no public way of addressing the issue ‘neutrally’ to the best of my knowledge. Perhaps others have found some. National Guardsmen have even a worse time of it…anybody hear anything in the presidential goings on?

Posted in acknowledgement that many readers are veterans.