Veteran Suicide Statistics Indicate Collective Effort Is Critical

on Wednesday, 17 July 2019.

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VA Suicide Prevention Efforts
2019 Reporting

Suicide prevention is VA’s top clinical priority, and VA has adopted a public health approach to suicide prevention.
The goal of VA’s suicide prevention efforts is not to get every Veteran enrolled in VA care, but rather to equip communities to help Veterans get the right care, whenever and wherever they need it. This means using prevention approaches that cut across all sectors in which Veterans may interact, and collaborating with Veterans service organizations, state and local leaders, medical professionals, criminal justice officials, private employers and many other stakeholders.  Put simply, VA must ensure suicide prevention is a part of every aspect of Veterans’ lives, not just their interactions with VA.

Reaching Veterans Where They Live, Work, and Thrive
VA’s suicide prevention efforts are guided by the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide, a long-term plan published in 2018 that provides a framework for identifying priorities, organizing efforts, and focusing national attention and community resources to prevent suicide among Veterans while adopting a broad public health approach with an emphasis on comprehensive, community-based engagement.

 

Free Bikes for Jobs and Job Interviews

on Monday, 11 March 2019.

Lake County veterans have learned about the chance to receive free bicycles from Mitch Siegel, who works as a job developer for Catholic Charities.

Siegel has delivered about bikes to veterans in Lake County, with 19 more to go. One by one, his intern Matt Lindemeier is polishing them, greasing the chains and making repairs.

The veterans are using them to get to work or a job interview and for recreation, Siegel said.

Siegel recalled lamenting to Lake County Bike Project board member David Motley about the transportation situation in Lake County. "It's hard for anyone without their own transportation to get to jobs or to interviews for potential jobs. There's a big gap in the bus service," Siegel said.

Coming September 7, 2019

on Monday, 29 April 2019.

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Why We March

Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation presents The Ruck March of Lake County annually to raise awareness about the Veteran suicide epidemic that claims approximately 20 Veteran lives every day.

The Ruck March of Lake County is back for its third year with a new route (see map above). Our passion remains the same: to raise awareness about military suicides and to reduce the number of needless losses.

In 2018 there were 20 suicides per day of active duty military and Veterans, male and female. Alarmingly, the highest number of suicides is among active-duty personnel, the worst in at least six years. Moreover, the overall military suicide rate is much higher than that of civilians. 

The military, VA and advocacy groups are developing new ways to improve mental health care during and after service. Initiatives such as immediate support through the Veterans Crisis Line available 24/7/365 to provide support for Veterans who are at acute risk for suicide, and for those calling on the behalf of a Veteran. We need to get this message out and help reduce this staggering epidemic.

How? It is easy and rewarding.  Just march with us on September 7th and raise awareness.

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A New Way to Help Veterans: Donate Your Vehicle

on Wednesday, 05 December 2018.

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Supporters of LCVFSF have been generous with donations of time and money. Now there’s another way. If you own a car, motorcycle, ATV or other motorized vehicle, you can donate it to our Foundation. We get the funds. You get whatever tax deduction your donation earns.  In partnership with Auto Parts City of Gurnee, we are happy to offer a new and easy way to make a donation to LCVFSF to help the Veterans of Lake, McHenry and Southern Kenosha counties.

Your Benefits: Active Guard Reserve

on Monday, 25 March 2019.

National Guard and Reserve members with active service may qualify for a variety of VA benefits. Active service includes:

Active duty (Title 10) - full-time duty, such as, but not limited to, a unit deployment during war, including travel to and from such duty, OR

Full-time National Guard duty (Title 32) - full-time duty, such as responding to a national emergency or duties as an Active Guard Reserve, where you receive pay from the Federal government

Post Traumatic Winning hits the 2nd Marine Division; the response is beyond overwhelming

on Wednesday, 31 July 2019.

Major General David J. Furness, USMC, took command of the 2nd Marine Division (2nd MarDiv), headquartered in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, during the first week of August 2018. In his first two months as the CG, the 2nd MarDiv recorded five suicides and 20 to 30 incidents of suicidal ideations/attempts. Gen. Furness asked about causal factors, he asked what was being doing about the problem, and he wasn’t happy with the answers. Historically, military suicide rates have been lower than those rates found in the general population. That started changing about ten years ago. By 2015, suicide was the second leading cause of death in the U.S. military. The Marine Corps has dedicated more resources and senior level attention to suicide prevention than at anytime in its history and yet the problem is increasing.

Gen. Furness didn’t know why all the programs and training the Marine Corps had developed over the years weren’t working; he just knew they weren’t working. He had three choices: continue with the existing programs but work at them harder, continue with present programs and hope they would start to show some return on investment, or try a dramatically different approach.

VA Mission Act Update

on Thursday, 11 April 2019.

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The new eligibility criteria will be a major improvement over existing criteria in terms of making things simpler: currently, eligibility criteria vary between VA’s community care programs. When the new criteria go into effect, Veterans can expect better access and greater choice in their health care, whether at VA or through a community provider.

The eligibility criteria are projected to go into effect in June 2019 after final regulations are published and effective, so the criteria are not yet final. In addition, key aspects of community care eligibility include the following:

  • Veterans must receive approval from VA prior to obtaining care from a community provider in most circumstances.
  • Veterans must either be enrolled in VA health care or be eligible for VA care without needing to enroll to be eligible for community care.
  • Eligibility for community care will continue to be dependent upon a Veteran’s individual health care needs or circumstances.
  • VA staff members generally make all eligibility determinations.
  • Veterans will usually have the option to receive care at a VA medical facility regardless of their eligibility for community care.
  • Meeting any one of six eligibility criteria listed below is sufficient to be referred to a community provider—a Veteran does not have to meet all of them to be eligible. (Real-world examples of when a Veteran would be eligible for community care are included in the eligibility fact sheet linked at the end of the article).

After the Marines and Lioness, Ashton Kroner’s Service Continues

on Wednesday, 29 May 2019.

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Marine Lioness Ashton Kroner in Afghanistan

Not many women can list “Marine” on their resumes. Even fewer can list “Lioness”, a title reserved for women who have served in combat roles. Ashton Kroner is proud to list them both. Currently serving as Outreach Coordinator for Road Home, a program of The Center for Veterans and Their Families in Chicago, Ashton is one of many Veterans who continue to serve their country and community once the active duty uniform comes off.

Ashton knew in high school that she wanted to join the Marines, so she went to Boot Camp at age 18, completing Basic Training at Paris Island, SC. She learned quickly to follow orders, including the Drill Instructors’ absolute rule of never referring yourself as “I’, “me”, and “mine”. “Like everyone else, I referred to myself as ‘this recruit’,” Ashton said. “Right away you learn that it’s about ‘us’, not ‘me’. Otherwise, there’s hell to pay.”

Need to File a Secondary Claim? File as a DRC

on Sunday, 24 March 2019.

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Do you have a condition that was directly caused by or has gotten worse because of your service-connected condition? If so, you can file a secondary claim for disability compensation for that condition. If you’re planning to file a secondary claim, make sure you file it as a Decision Ready Claim (DRC). Filing as a DRC means you can get a decision on your claim in 30 days or less.

Work with the Veterans Assistance Commission in Waukegan or with another accredited Veterans Service Organization (VSO) to determine if the DRC Program is right for you and your secondary claim. They can then help you gather and submit all relevant and required evidence so your claim is ready for us to make a decision when you submit it.

Don’t have a secondary condition? You can also file these other types of compensation claims through the DRC Program:

  • Direct Service Connection Claims
  • Presumptive Service Connection Claims
  • Increased Disability Claims
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (for surviving spouses)

Learn more about the DRC Program, including eligibility requirements and what medical evidence you need to submit.  Go to: https://www.lakecountyil.gov/725/Veterans-Assistance-Commission or to find an accredited VSO and get more information before going to the VAC, go to:  https://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/drc.asp

VA’s Center for Women Veterans Social Media Highlights, Connects and Informs Women Veterans

on Monday, 25 March 2019.

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Posted in Women Veterans by Danielle Corazza

The women Veteran population is growing and VA is stepping up to meet the need through innovative programming and services specifically designed to serve women. But, once the programs are deployed, how do we get the word out? How do we ensure that women Veterans self-identify and take advantage of the benefits they’ve earned and deserve? And, how do we capture the sentiment and reality of what women Veterans are experiencing so we can raise those voices to drive effective policy?