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Linkin Park Frontman and Vet Advocate Chester Bennington Dies in Apparent Suicide

chester

By Debbie Gregory.

Chester Bennington was one of those guys: enormously talented but deeply troubled. The 41-year-old father of six struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, and had previously talked about suicide as the result of childhood trauma and abuse.

Linkin Park bandmate Mike Shinoda said that the band had always felt “a special bond with the military.”

In 2014, the band teamed up with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to call attention to the suicide crisis that dramatically affects American service members and veterans.

“It is an honor to meet with you guys, the men and women of the armed forces, who protect our freedom every day,” Bennington told fans during a performance in Denver during the band’s Carnivores tour. “The greatest country in the world and it’s because of men and women who go out and risk their lives for all of us … no matter who we are or what we believe in.”

To give a startling visual impact, the group displayed 22 American flags to symbolize the estimated number of U.S. veterans who take their own lives on a daily basis.

Bennington’s death occurred on what would have been his good friend Chris Cornell’s 53rd birthday. Cornell, best known as the lead vocalist for the rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, committed suicide on May 18th.

“My whole life, I’ve just felt a little off,” Bennington said in an interview. “I find myself getting into these patterns of behavior or thought – especially when I’m stuck up here [in my head]; I like to say that ‘this is like a bad neighborhood, and I should not go walking alone.’”

Our sincere condolences go out to Bennington’s wife Talinda Bentley and his six children.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Veteran Treatment Courts Offer Alternatives

vet treatment court

By Debbie Gregory.

Many military veterans have had life experiences that are very different from their civilian contemporaries. Depending on when and where they served, veterans may have experienced a vast array of physical, emotional and psychological injuries.

Untreated, unhealed emotional and psychological injuries lead to further veteran illnesses, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. These illnesses can lead to substance abuse, the commission of crimes, and even suicide. Special Veterans Treatment Courts seek to provide veterans suffering from these issues assistance that will help keep them from slipping into real legal problems.

Documented evidence suggests that a significant number of Vietnam veterans experienced severe problems adjusting to civilian life. So too, have many more recently minted veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Veterans Court offers opportunity for the VA, local support organizations, and local communities to offer treatment as an alternative to time in jail.

The first Veterans’ Court in the U.S. was established in 2008 in Buffalo, New York. Veterans’ Courts are modeled after Drug and Mental Health Courts, in that they promote sobriety, recovery and stability through strict court appointed measures.

Usually Veterans Courts hear cases involving misdemeanor charges, and veterans who choose to participate are assessed by a mental health professional and their treatment needs are determined. Most of them receive treatment through the VA’s health network.

Veterans Treatment Courts increase the likelihood of successful rehabilitation through early and continuous judicially-supervised treatment.

Veterans Treatment Courts also provide veterans with services and benefits that aid in their successful transition back into society.

Below are some resources that may assist any veterans in need of legal assistance:

Justice For Veterans

National Association of Veteran Advocates

American Bar Association Military Pro Bono Project

Jail Diversion and Trauma Recovery Program

California Veterans Legal Institute

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Pets for Vets- Making Matches, Saving Lives

petsforvets

By Debbie Gregory.

Dogs have always been called “man’s best friend” as they are known for their loyalty and companionship. Dogs seem to be able to understand human emotions and respond appropriately, sensing happiness, sadness and fear.

Voltaire wrote, “It seems that nature has given the dog to man for his defense and for his pleasure. Of all the animals it is the most faithful: it is the best friend man can have.”

As an animal trainer with a master’s in anthrozoology, Clarissa Black’s trip to a local VA Hospital with her dog, Bear, changed her life. After seeing how the veterans responded to Bear, Black decided to use her skills and resources to train rescue dogs for America’s veterans, especially those struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, anxiety and depression. And so, Pets for Vets was born.

In addition to helping the veterans, the program rescues shelter dogs from around the country, a win-win for all.

The non-profit organization utilizes an extensive matchmaking process in order to make sure that the veteran and dog are a good fit. Once the pet has been selected, it receives obedience training and learns the skills that will benefit its new owner’s condition.

Dogs trained to assist people with PTSD learn a range of tasks. Some dogs can be taught to recognize early signs of anxiety in their partners and to give an alert, thereby re-focusing their partner, who can then use strategies they have been taught to cope with the situation.

Pets for Vets is not only helping shelter dogs find the love they deserve, but also it’s a way to say thank you to our country’s veterans for their service and dedication, because sometimes the best medicine is a cold nose and a warm, furry friend.

 For more information on Pets for Vets or to make a donation, please visit http://www.petsforvets.com.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION

TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION

Special offer for OEF/OIF Veterans in San Diego, Los Angeles, Washington, DC and New York City

“After my first week of meditation I was able to sleep. My day to day functions became clearer. My depression has improved daily and my aggression has vanished. It’s like I was living in a fog of war and TM cleared the fog, allowing me to see things clearly.”—OEF Vet

Veterans of OEF/OIF are now eligible to receive a full scholarship to learn the evidence-based Transcendental Meditation technique—TM. Published research has shown that the benefits of regular TM practice include:

  • Reduction in PTSD, anxiety and depression
  • Decrease in insomnia
  • Improved quality of life
  • Reduced use of psychotropic medication

Veterans can learn this simple and powerful technique through a four-day course, consisting of a 90-minute class each day. The technique is practiced for 20 minutes, twice a day, sitting comfortably in a chair, and requires no change in beliefs or lifestyle. Classes are available in San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington DC.

Full scholarships for OEF/OIF veterans are available through a grant from David Lynch Foundation. If you are interested in learning, please contact Kathy Connor at [email protected] or 212-644-9880 ext. 209 as soon as possible. The funding for these scholarships is limited, so please apply soon to take advantage of this special opportunity.

For More Information Go To:

www.davidlynchfoundation.org/military

Military Connection: Top General Admits to Getting Counseling & Assistance

suicider

By Debbie Gregory.

Military personnel are highly reluctant to ask for help when they are depressed because they do not want to be seen as weak. But untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide, so those who are depressed and do not seek help are at risk for suicide. So what can be done?

To combat the problem of suicides by special operators, General Joseph Votel, Special Operations Command, is speaking bluntly about seeking help. Gen. Votel is urging his troops to follow suit

This can feel like a contradiction to the training they receive to push past their pain to reach a target on the battlefield. But the rate of special ops suicides, compared to other services, is a direct reflection of the strain these selfless heroes experience.

Gen. Votel spoke to several hundred current and former troops at a recent Washington conference.  “I have, with my family, sought counseling and assistance,” he said.  He also said that the stigma against seeking counseling is starting to change.

Votel has since ordered an update in training of how to spot the signs of stress, and with the Pentagon’s health affairs, a budget of $15 million this fiscal year is being dedicated to behavioral health resources for special operations. That, along with another $10 million in the special operations budget towards behavioral health and suicide prevention efforts, and another $1.2 million for the spiritual domain- which includes giving chaplains suicide intervention training and basil counseling training will help combat the stresses placed on soldiers.

What has arguably helped the most is embedding psychologists and other types of counselors available in special operations units and also borrowing the practice of using “military family life counselors” for operators and families alike.

It is really important to remember that being in the military is highly stressful, and those who serve are at high risk for PTSD, depression, and suicide.

Even one suicide is one too many.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Top General Admits to Getting Counseling and Assistance: By Debbie Gregory