Finally — Free Care for All Suicidal Vets!

February 5th, 2023 - by Buzz Davis / Veterans for Peace & Leo Shane III / Military Times

Nearly 7 out of every 10 Veteran suicides
are the result of firearm injuries.”
Department of Veterans Affairs (2021)

Breaking News: Free Mental Health Care is now available for all veterans, not just those enrolled in CA Care. Costs are covered by US taxpayers. Veterans experiencing a mental health emergency can contact the Veteran Crisis Line through 988 or at 1-800-273-8255. Callers should select option 1 for a VA staffer. Veterans, troops or their family members can also text 838255 or visit for assistance.
Learn about the warning signs of suicide, including those that require immediate action at:

Free Mental Health Care for All Vets
Buzz Davis / Veterans for Peace & Leo Shane III / Military Times

TUCSON (February 3, 2023) — Hello All! Buzz Davis, member of Veterans for Peace in Tucson here.

All veterans can now receive FREE care at the VA for suicidal thoughts/health care issues. The veteran does not have to be enrolled in VA care to get help!

All family members or friends of veterans and vets should know where to call for immediate care. Call the VA emergency mental health number (1-800-273-8255) to get help for a veteran in distress.

If you have weapons in your home, please get gunlocks and install them!

Lethal Means Safety & Suicide Prevention
“Lethal means are objects that may be used by individuals experiencing a suicidal crisis. They include things like guns, medications, alcohol, opioids, other substances, ropes, cords, or sharp objects. If a Veteran is in crisis or is having suicidal thoughts, these items can become deadly if easily accessible.

Increasing the time and distance between a person in suicidal crisis and their access to lethal means can reduce suicide risk and save lives. The VA Keep It Secure program promotes awareness about the simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

Pentagon and Congress: VA to Pay for All Emergency Mental Health Care
Leo Shane III / Military Times

(January 13, 2023) — Starting January 17, all veterans will be able to access emergency mental health care free of charge at any Veterans Affairs medical facility or outside clinic, regardless of whether they are already enrolled in department health care services.

Department officials announced the new policy on Friday as part of nationwide efforts to prevent suicide among veterans. According to the latest department data, about 17 veterans a day die by suicide.

“Veterans in suicidal crisis can now receive the free, world-class emergency health care they deserve, no matter where they need it, when they need it, or whether they’re enrolled in VA care,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a statement. “This expansion of care will save veterans’ lives, and there’s nothing more important than that.”

The new policy applies to all veterans with any separation status except a dishonorable discharge, regardless of whether they qualify for other VA medical services.

About 18 million veterans are living in America today, but only about half are currently enrolled in veterans health care through the department.

Since 2019, all VA medical facilities have been required to provide same-day access to emergency mental health care to veterans.

Under the new policy, VA will either waive costs for care or — in cases of visits outside the VA system — provide reimbursements for emergency mental health care. Those costs can include appointment fees, transportation costs and other related follow-up expenses.

The new plan also calls for VA to cover the costs of up to 30 days of inpatient or residential care for treatment of those mental health issues and up to 90 days of outpatient care if veterans are experiencing an acute suicidal crisis.

The move is based on legislation adopted by Congress nearly two years ago. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee ranking member Mark Takano, D-Calif., who authored the measure, praised the department on Friday for its implementation.

Veteran Suicide Rates May Be Double Federal Estimates
Leo Shane III / Military Times

The VA findings come just two days after officials from America’s Warrior Partnership, in a joint study with University of Alabama and Duke University, released their own study suggesting that the official suicide numbers from state census data may be dramatically undercounting veterans deaths.

If the numbers were to include additional deaths from accidental drug overdoses and deceased individuals whose veteran status was reported inaccurately, the figure could be as high as 44 veteran deaths by suicide a day, AWP officials said.

As part of the VA report release Monday, department officials also announced $52 million in community-based suicide prevention grants to 80 organizations in 43 states, and another $8.5 million in awards as part of their Mission Daybreak suicide prevention challenge.

Veterans in need of emergency counseling can reach the Veterans Crisis line by dialing 988 or 1-800-273-8255 and selecting option 1 after connecting to reach a VA staffer. In addition, veterans, troops or their family members can also text 838255 or visit for assistance.

The last item in this message is an op-ed I wrote 10 years ago about an Army friend who most likely suffered from PTSD, having fought in WWII in the Pacific Islands campaign.

Sergeant Evans:
A Good Man In a Bad Situation

Buzz Davis / War Is a Crime

(2013) — Sergeant Evans was a good man with a horrible secret who fought through the Pacific islands during WWII. One island after another, beach landing, attack, fight across and clear island of Japanese troops, and repeat at next island.

I never asked him about what it was like to fight in the islands in the infantry even though I was trained as an infantry officer. I had a feeling he had been through a lot. The Vietnam War was “hot” and there were news reports of lots of people dying there.

It was 1968, he was “old” (48 or so) and I was young (25). I was his lieutenant; he was my sergeant. For 9 months, we worked extremely well together leading the communications program of a 500 person battalion at Fort Bragg, NC.

When walking to a meeting at day break, we were discussing the training we were going to have the men do that day.

On our walk, he suddenly looked up toward the sky and started talking loudly “What else could we do, what else could we do?” I could not figure out what he was talking about. I said, “What sergeant?” He says, “They were coming over the hill, what could we do? People on the road with white flags. We couldn’t let them get behind us, we couldn’t let them get behind us….. what else could we do?”

I was stunned. It hit me. He was having a flashback to the Pacific 25 years ago. They had killed all the civilians on that island. In the infantry it is very dangerous to let people get behind you. Sometimes they had no way of taking prisoners.

Evans was in misery. I said, “I don’t think you could have done anything else.” He says softly, “Yea, your right. We couldn’t have done anything else; we couldn’t have done anything else.”

We walk a few more steps and he says in his normal voice, “Lieutenant, today we should have them do…….” He was his old self. We never discussed the incident again.

But my guess has always been — he woke up in the dark of night in terror yelling, “What else could we do?” over and over. And each time his beautiful wife from Germany probably worked for hours to try to calm him down and get him back to sleep. For all I know he may have been helping her with her own similar terrors at night for she lived through WWII in Germany.

Today we call it Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) and Moral Injury because the deeds they did, things they saw, things they didn’t do slice deeply into their sense of morality and sense of self. Many men and women try to deeply bury the thoughts and feelings in their mind. Many, on most days, can control their memories and deep six the bad thoughts. But when they flood back, the person has not much control. That is what happened to Sergeant Evans that early morning.

I think he was a very good man and leader from my 9 months as “his lieutenant.”

US war crimes in Iraq claimed many civilian lives.

Over 1 million people have died in Iraq since Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney tried to “save” them from Saddam Hussein. Hundreds of thousands have probably been slaughtered in Afghanistan since the 10 year Russian war on those people (with the US funding the Taliban who fought the Russians). And then the illegal US attack on Afghanistan in 2001 and another 12 year war.

Besides the death, physical injuries and broken families, war causes mental and moral injuries that are almost irreparable in many cultures. South Africa had a successful Peace and Reconciliation program after its war for independence where people could come forward and explain the horrible deeds they saw or did. And so long as they spoke the truth as to what they did, who the leaders were, who gave the orders, etc. they were pardoned unless they were being investigated.

For all our veterans and present soldiers from all the wars, we need to create Peace and Reconciliation Commissions in Iraq, Afghanistan, the USA and other nations that have participated in these fiascos. Such Commissions lead by the United Nations can hopefully promote admission of deeds done, why, and healing of both the military members who did the deeds and the family members of the victims.

We in Veterans for Peace say we must fight harder for peace than we do for war.

And we say that President Obama must be impeached, removed from office and Mr. Obama, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney should all be prosecuted as war criminals for leading illegal wars, illegal torture and illegal spying.

War criminals: Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney.

Only when the most powerful nation on earth, submits to the Rule of Law rather than political whim, will the USA have a revolution that will enable us to create a new start for ourselves and our children and enable the United Nations to do what it is designed to do: stop wars and promote peoples living together in peace.

Buzz Davis, of Stoughton, is a member of Veterans for Peace and a former VISTA volunteer, Army officer, elected official, union organizer and state government planner.