“We can overthrow governments. We can take over countries. And somehow we are failing to take care of those who serve and protect our own country.”  ~Salvatore DeFranco, Former Navy S.E.A.L and Founder of Battle Grounds Coffee

More than 6,000 veterans have killed themselves each year since 2008, according to the Veterans Administration (VA) data. 

Veteran suicide rates increased 25.9% between 2005 and 2016. 

As of August 2018, there were 5,273 U.S. Military deaths since 1999, but there were at least 128,480 veteran suicides since 1999.

That’s an average of 20 lives lost per day.  Only about 6 of them are in the VA system, leaving 14 not associated with VA care. 

An estimated 150,000 to 200,000 Vietnam veterans have committed suicide since returning home from the war … while 58,315 died in the Vietnam War.

Read: On This Super Bowl Sunday, Remember The Police Dying By Suicide

The suicide rate was 1.5 times greater for veterans than for adults who never served in the military.

Over 1 million veterans suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and are at risk of suicide.

Now to LEOs. 

Law enforcement officers face a 69 percent higher risk of suicide than the general population.

Suicides leave more emergency responders dead than all line-of-duty deaths combined. As a matter of fact, it’s estimated that 30% of emergency responders develop behavioral health conditions protecting/ serving citizens, including, but not limited to, depression and PTSD.

In a survey of 500 Law Enforcement Officers conducted by the National P.O.L.I.C.E. Suicide Foundation, 98% of the officers said they would consider suicide.

For each individual that dies by suicide, there are about 135 that are exposed to the death. About 30 percent of those (48 individuals) may be significantly impacted by the death to the point of also needing help. These would include family members, teammates, best friends, etc. These impacted people are at higher risk of depression, anxiety and suicide ideation because they knew and were impacted by another persons suicide. 

 

(Save A Warrior Founder Jake Clark is the 2018 Eagle Rare Life Award Grand Prize Winner and the recipient of a $50,000 donation to Save a Warrior)

Save A Warrior (SAW)is committed to treating Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and ending the staggering suicide rate plaguing our Active Duty, National Guard, Reservists, and Veterans of the military as well as Law Enforcement Officers and other First Responders. We conceived, originated and invented the Integrated Intensive Experience (IIE) to transform the way this community and their families live their lives.

Save A Warrior™ (SAW) has demonstrated an unparalleled success rate in suicide prevention and is unlike any other program available. Using an archetypal approach to healing – known as The Hero’s Journey – we have innovated a process that combines and synthesizes a variety of proven methods from across the spectrum of studies regarding human wellbeing. 

During our week-long Integrated Intensive Retreat (IIR), no costresidential experience, we shepherd Warriors through a number of different processes that have been scientifically proven to heal the brain, heart and body, while increasing resilience. We refer to this collective experience as “relief”. 

Save A Warrior™ has changed countless lives through our “war detox” program, which supports those suffering from post traumatic stress.

(Award winning CNN reporter Soledad O’Brien independently researched Save a Warrior and produced a Documentary “The War Comes Home”.)

Because many of our participants also report comorbid challenges with substances and life’s processes, our Shepherds/alumni provide thoughtful, peer-to-peer, empathetic and compassionate testimonials on addiction and relevant recovery programs known as “community resiliency models” (AA – Alcoholics Anonymous, NA – Narcotics Anonymous, Al Anon – friends and families of alcoholics, ACA – Adult Children of Alcoholics/ Dysfunctional Families, etc). We refer to these proven, time-tested, well-grounded and commonsensical aftercare recovery programs as “the cure”.  

As a spiritually responsible community of practice, we further distinguish for our participants that “relief” is temporary and that the “cure” is painful. We further believe that our collective openness, honesty, candor and transparency regarding relief versus the cure, is part and parcel of the long term emotional sobriety we are seeing among our participants; that success leaves clues; that “SAW” is not a quick fix; rather, we provide tremendous temporary relief for the Warrior’s acute pain and suffering and we will support them during their next journey towards long term recovery and emotional sobriety. 

We specialize in serving Active Duty, National Guard, Reservists, and Veterans of the military as well as Law Enforcement Officers and other First Responders who have experienced psychological trauma. Over half of our participants report previous suicide attempts and about 90% report experiencing suicidal ideation prior to coming to our program.Save A Warrior (SAW) administered the Suicidal Behavioral Questionnaire Revised (SBQ-R), the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), and the Post-Traumatic Stress Assessment (PCL-M) to a sample of Alumni pre-SAW and post-SAW.

Read: Tears on the Badge  

Each answer on these surveys is assigned a numerical value and when added together the sum reveals the warrior’s score and gauges the severity of their symptoms. A score below seven (7) on the SBQ-R indicates that there is little risk for suicidal behavior. Any value over ten (10) on the PHQ-9 signifies moderate depression and as the number increases so does the severity of the depression symptoms. Any score over 34 reveals moderate to severe post-traumatic stress (PTS) on the PCL-M survey. The VA recommends using these three (3) surveys as tools to identify and measure PTS, depression, and suicidality. The results of the sample that SAW surveyed were:

  1. SBQ-R mean score pre-SAW was 11.9, post-SAW mean score of 6.8 (43% decrease in symptoms)
  2. PHQ-9 mean score pre-SAW was 19.6, post-SAW mean score of 4.42 (77% decrease in symptoms)
  3. PCL-M mean score pre-SAW was 62.1, post-SAW mean score of 29.7 (52% decrease in symptoms)

The Save A Warrior non-medical, experiential integrative intensive model demonstrates vast improvement over the traditional medical model currently provided to our nation’s heroes.

Click here to apply to the program.

Tell a friend about it today.  It might just save a life.

Terry Scariot is the Chief Operating Officer and Board Member of Save A Warrior