Veterans Are Killing Themselves In VA Parking Lots As A Desperate Protest Against A System That They Believed Failed Them
There were 19 suicides on VA campuses from October 2017 to November 2018, including a Marine Colonel who -- dressed in his uniform blues and medals -- sat on top of his military and VA records and killed himself with a rifle outside the Bay Pines Department of Veterans Affairs. “It’s very important for the VA to recognize that the place of a suicide can have great meaning. There is a real moral imperative and invitation here to take a close inspection of the quality of services at the facility level," said Eric Caine, director of the Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention at the University of Rochester.
The Washington Post:
Parking Lot Suicides At Veterans Hospitals Prompt Calls For Better Staff Training, Prevention Efforts
[Justin Miller's] death is among 19 suicides that occurred on VA campuses from October 2017 to November 2018, seven of them in parking lots, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. While studies show that every suicide is highly complex — influenced by genetics, financial uncertainty, relationship loss and other factors — mental-health experts worry that veterans taking their lives on VA property has become a desperate form of protest against a system that some veterans feel hasn’t helped them. The most recent parking lot suicide occurred weeks before Christmas in St. Petersburg, Fla. Marine Col. Jim Turner, 55, dressed in his uniform blues and medals, sat on top of his military and VA records and killed himself with a rifle outside the Bay Pines Department of Veterans Affairs. (Wax-Thibodeaux, 2/7)