by David Mcnease
While in the US military we were triaged because of the battlefield. Those with the most important injuries were taken care of first. Those whose wounds were not that bad were sent back to the rear or the states for treatment.
The mental injuries and illnesses were triaged to be treated by the VA. While in the Army in August of 2003 while at Walter Reed Army Medical Center I was told several times while on the inpatient psych. ward that the US Army does not treat for most mental illnesses. Instead it is left up to the VA to treat mental illnesses.
“There has to be a paradigm shift in the way people of all walks of life view mentally ill suicidal people.”
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Edition) commonly referred to as the DVM-5 does not even carry a diagnosis for being suicidal. Suicide is an “Conditions for further study” in the DSM-V. So how are suicidal people treated? They are not.
“The manual that “guides” doctors does not even recognize suicidal as an illness.”
Maybe it is thought that people whom have suicidal thoughts are “cured.” No, people whom have made one suicide attempt are ill and need treatment. A person whom has made a real attempt will probably try it again. It gets easier the second time.
How are suicidal people not treated? Most are taken to the hospital by ambulance or in hand cuffs. I have been in an out of psychiatric wards for the last 24 years. Every time I have gone into the hospital for being suicidal I come out much worse, even more suicidal. The treatment is terrible. My last treatment was especially poor because the VA refused to pass on my medications to the local hospital. Yes, refused. I went cold turkey on many of my medications. People comment about the types and amount of medications that I am on. I agree. All the time I try to either eliminate or reduce my medications. Most often it is the first response for people whom are suicidal is to drug them so much they nearly stop feeling. I refuse to walk around in a stupor all day along.
Hospitals, clinics, high schools, colleges all need to have a suicide action plan. There are few types of suicidal people. Those people whom have already taken a lethal dose and have changed their mind. These people need to be rushed to the ER. A person whom is having thoughts of hurting themself or ideations can still kill themself and need to be taken serious. Someone whom is having suicidal thoughts “now” or has a plan and is ready to execute the plan. The later category might need extra people in case the person actually makes an attempt before the police arrive. Just the thought of going to jail, the authority figure, or just plain do not like police could spark an incident that needs to be put down.
At a minimum, stay with the person whom is suicidal. If they feel they are being taken serious they have less of a chance of hurting themself. Call 9-11 and clear the people away in case your suicidal person becomes homicidal. Try to stay calm and keep people calm. If possible have the suicidal person move to a room by themself and wait for the professionals to take-over. Whatever happens, do not leave the person alone at anytime for any reason, even to go to the bathroom.
Recently, it was standard practice to strap a suicidal person down to the bed until they admitted they were not going to hurt themself. A suicidal person does not change their mind after being locked up on a psych. ward. I come from a background whereby I was strapped down to a table at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2003. My wrists and ankles were strapped right down to the table giving me no ability or do any other body activity. I had repeated times in the three days where I had cycling suicidal thoughts of how to kill myself. I would lay there writhing in pain hoping God would take me. It was not until years later that I have understood what cycling thoughts of suicide are.
I have been suicidal several dozen times in my life. I keep a current will and my daughter knows what to do if I do commit suicide. There is no way to stop the suicide thoughts or ideations. They come sometimes within 15 seconds of me waking up in the morning. It is an illness, and it needs to be studied and treated.
Even mentioning suicide people are turned off and walk the other way. It has to be talked about. Most people seem to know someone or know of someone that has killed themself. It may not seem important but suicidal people can become homicidal. Many people whom are suicidal can easily become agitated and become homicidal.
In the past twelve years I have become homicidal three times. The first was while I was at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington D.C. in August – September 2003. I had just had my psych. ward privileges increased so I could roam the hospital. I went down to the office of the Commander of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and asked when I was going to be treated. I told the commander that I had been on the psych. ward for over a month and I was not being treated. Instead I was being sent back to my unit without any treatment for suicide thoughts and being suicidal. My doctor burst into the room and commanded I leave. I became homicidal. I was knocked down, knocked out and dragged back to the psych. ward. I was never treated for being suicidal or homicidal. Not even one counseling session about the event other than my doctor chewing me out.
The second time I became homicidal was in 2004 at the Bell Memorial Hospital in Ishpeming, MI. I went into the hospital ER because I was suicidal. After over an hour I became homicidal and went after my doctor because he was not treating me. I broke out two the large glass windows that had metal wires running through the glass. I ended up in jail, had to pay for all the damaged etc… A month later I was back in the hospital, “to get my medications adjusted.” No treatment for either becoming suicidal, or homicidal. Later, I noted the cause was because I had not got any medications from the VA after being out of the military for eight months. The VA was still deciding if I was disabled.
My third is important because I still have not been treated or seen a psychiatrist since the incident with Art Van Furniture in Marquette MI in July 2014. I called 9-11 at home because I was suicidal. Police from two different police departments showed up at my home and the county sheriff went to Art Van Furniture in Marquette. I was served a no trespassing order. A great reason to work on treating people whom are suicidal is to prevent another highschool shooting or letting one more veteran commit suicide because they were not being taken serious. It is also important for the US Government to help stem suicides from veterans. Too many great people are killing themself. We can not keep putting it off to treat later. Later is now.