Self-harm is underrecognized in Gulf War veterans
As the VA continues to explore new methods of suicide prevention, VA researchers believe one important indicator has gone understudied, and they are looking to change that in order to save lives.
Self-injury is woefully common among veterans and involves behaviors ranging from intentionally burning or cutting oneself to punching walls—anything with the goal of transforming intense emotions or psychological distress into physical pain.
On its own, nonsuicidal self-injury is not an action intended to end one's life, but Dr. Tate Halverson and her team found it was often linked to a greater risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior.
"The high prevalence of nonsuicidal self-injury among veterans is alarming, because it is one of the strongest predictors of a suicide attempt identified to date, and veterans are much more likely to die by suicide compared to non-veterans," Halverson said.
Read the full story in VA Research Currents.
If you're a veteran in crisis or concerned about one, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention 24/7/365. Call 988 and press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net.
State of Michigan partners with VA to provide voter registration assistance to veterans
On Tuesday -- National Voter Registration Day -- the VA and Michigan Secretary of State announced an agreement to designate the Saginaw VA Medical Center, the Detroit VA Medical Center and the Detroit Regional Office as voter registration sites.
This agreement will empower VA to provide voter registration information and assistance to veterans and eligible dependents at these three facilities.
Read the full story at VA News.
Veterans and survivors have filed more than 1 million PACT Act claims
Veterans and their survivors have filed more than one million claims for toxic exposure-related benefits under the PACT Act since President Biden signed it into law Aug. 10, 2022.
The VA has processed more than 551,000 of these claims, granting 77.9% of them and awarding more than $2.2 billion in earned benefits to veterans and survivors.
Thanks to the largest outreach campaign in VA history, veterans and survivors are applying for their earned benefits at record rates. In this fiscal year alone, veterans and survivors have submitted 2.29 million total claims (PACT and non-PACT) — 40.4% more year-to-date than last fiscal year, which was the previous all-time record.
Veterans have also submitted more than 2.1 million "intents to file" during this fiscal year — 53.1% more than all of last fiscal year and also an all-time record.
Read more at VA News.
Applications open for Michigan Veteran Homelessness Prevention Grant
The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) is now accepting applications from nonprofit organizations for the first-ever Michigan Veteran Homelessness Prevention Grant.
The MVAA will distribute up to 13 grants of $150,000 each in fiscal year 2024 to Michigan-based nonprofits that assist service members, veterans and their families who are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing homelessness.
The grant funding comes from a one-time, $2 million allocation from the FY24 State Budget.
For more information, visit michigan.gov/MVAA.
Protect your G.I. Bill benefits from scams
Some educational institutions and programs use misleading practices and overpromise their degrees' value and earning power. Without knowing the warning signs to protect yourself, this could lead to a depletion of your education benefits.
The VA is encouraging veterans and their beneficiaries to know these education fraud warning signs and the best practices to avoid falling victim to a scam.
The types of scams targeting your education benefits include:
- Job scams. Job Boards or Advertisements targeting specific demographics may be misleading or fake and require you to give personal information or money to get a job.
- Student loan scams. Educational institutions may promise immediate student loan forgiveness or debt cancellation to entice veterans to enroll in classes. For most borrowers, loan forgiveness is only available through programs requiring many years of qualifying payments or other qualifying criteria. Here is a list of Student Debt Relief "Do's and Don'ts" to help borrowers avoid scams.
- Scholarship scams. Educational institutions may "guarantee" veterans a scholarship in exchange for a redemption/processing fee …
For more, visit VA News.
VA urging veterans, staff to get latest COVID-19 vaccine booster
VA officials are again urging medical center patients and staff to get the latest COVID-19 vaccine booster, this time in response to the latest wave of the illness spreading across America.
The department will be among the first federal agencies to get doses of the vaccine, according to VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Shereef Elnahal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month approved the new vaccine booster and are recommending it for anyone six months or older who has not gotten a coronavirus vaccine in recent weeks.
"The vaccine that has proven over and over again to be safe and effective," Elnahal told reporters at a press event Monday.
"It protects against severe outcomes and death significantly. As we are seeing hospitalizations go up across the country connected to the virus, we're concerned that if folks don't get this latest booster, they will not benefit from the extra protection."
Read the full story in Military Times.
America's veterans are the prime target for domestic terrorists — as recruits
Of the more than 1,000 people who were charged with a crime for their participation in the January 6 attack on the Capitol, nearly 1 in 5 was a US military veteran.
While leaders of extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers were ultimately convicted for seditious conspiracy for their deliberate attempts to breach the Capitol, critics argue their influence on military veterans — and the subsequent impact on society — has not yet been fully realized due to the adoption of their radical ideology by mainstream politicians.
"Against All Enemies," a documentary that explores the risk of veterans being radicalized by extremist groups, was featured at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, earning glowing reviews from critics. Variety called the documentary "a grim diagnosis of a fast-spreading cancer," that "may provide much less reassurance than cause for alarm, but its wakeup call is certainly worth heeding."
Ken Harbaugh, a former Navy pilot, cofounder of Team Rubicon, and producer of the new documentary, spoke with Insider about why being aware of the problem is only the first step toward a solution. "Against All Enemies" will have its theatrical release in early 2024.
Read the Q&A in the Insider.
U.S. veteran who died in Ukraine believed in freedom
Jericho Skye Magallon was passionate about the military while growing up in Las Vegas, recalled his father Ralph, who provided parental consent so that Jericho could join the Army at 17 years old.
Jericho became a Military Police Officer stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and he eventually served with the Nevada Army National Guard. He processed out in 2016.
Years after leaving the Army, Jericho became one of the many veterans who went to Ukraine to fight against the invading Russians. It was only four days into the war that Jericho told his father he was leaving for Ukraine. Ralph Magallon said his son had been thinking about going back into the U.S. military, but Jericho ultimately decided to go to Ukraine after the Russian invasion.
"He told me: 'Dad, I have to go back. I can't just watch these people being slaughtered,'" Ralph Magallon said.
Ralph Magallon recently learned that Jericho, 28, was likely killed by a Russian drone strike earlier this month near Bakhmut, the site of fierce fighting. Although the Russians took some members of his unit prisoner, the American government has advised Jericho's family not to get their hopes raised that he might still be alive.
The American consulate has told Ralph Magallon that many Ukrainian soldiers were killed while trying to retrieve the bodies of Jericho and his comrades. As a result, they don't know if Jericho's body will ever be able to return home.
At least 18 American veterans have been killed in Ukraine since Russia launched its latest invasion of the country in February 2022.
Read the full story in Task & Purpose.
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE
ARE IN CRISIS:
The Veterans Crisis Line is staffed by caring, qualified crisis responders who are there to help. Many of these responders are veterans themselves.
LEAN ON US:
Website Hot Links
- 4 Heroes Military Keepsakes
- AM Leather
- American Motorcyclist Association
- Charity Watch
- District 4 Calendar of Events
- District 4 Website
- Homeless Veterans Support
- MI Freedom Center
- Michigan Bikers Helping Veterans
- Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency
- Michigan War Dog Memorial
- MOV Newsletters
- Patriot Guard Riders Michigan
- Posts Roster
- Riders Email
- Riders Facebook Group Page
- U.S. Interagency Council on Homeless
- VA eBenefits
- VA Hospital Ann Arbor
- VA Hospital Canton
- VA Hospital Detroit
- VA Records
- Veterans Crisis Line
- VFW at a Glance
- VFW Camp Trotter
- VFW Magazine
- VFW Michigan Dept Website
- VFW National Home
- VFW National Website
- VFW Store
- VFW Store - Riders