Veteran Suicide Tragedy in VA Hospital Parking Lot


By Debbie Gregory.

A 76-year-old former Navy gunner killed himself outside a Long Island Veteran Affairs facility after allegedly being denied treatment for mental health issues. The tragedy unfolded at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Peter Kaisen, a retired police officer from Islip, New York, shot himself in the parking lot outside Building 92, the facility’s nursing home. He had served on Navy supply ship USS Denebola in the late ’50s through the early ’60s.

Kaisen’s wife, Joan, said that her husband had been suffering from back pain so severe that he was unable to sit for more than a few minutes. Doctors at Northport told her husband earlier this year there was nothing more they could do to ease his suffering.

Longtime friend and fellow veteran, Tom Farley, said, “We all think there is probably some depression. Maybe he wanted meds. Maybe he wanted to sit and talk. I don’t know. None of the family knows.”

Hospital spokesman, Christopher Todd Goodman, said the hospital had no evidence that Kaisen sought treatment at the emergency room, entered any hospital buildings or had any interactions with staff or patients on the day he died. But he added, “The employees here at Northport feel this loss deeply and extend their thoughts and prayers to all those impacted by this tragedy.”

U.S. Reps. Peter King and Steve Israel have requested an FBI investigation into the death.

There are a number of resources available to veterans who are struggling with mental health issues. We hope anyone in a similar situation will reach out for help to resources such as Give an Hour and the Veteran Crisis Line.

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.

Vets4Warriors Offers Support to Those Who Serve, Past and Present


By Debbie Gregory.

A new national help hotline, Vets4Warriors, was recently created. Vets4Warriors, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit, offers a 24/7 helpline, a veteran benefit in partnership with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Center (RUBHC).

The all-veteran call center, with specially chosen Peer Advisors, answer calls in seconds, listen and support you, every hour of every day, 24/7. Not only are the services confidential, anonymous, and stigma-free, they are also thorough. There is follow-up to ensure that all callers have their needs met.

There is no reporting or information shared with service branches or units, and there is no length limit of peer support involved in this veteran benefit.

The Peer Advisors are trained in the Best Practice Model “Reciprocal Peer Support” developed at RUBHC 18 years ago. Their initial 80 hours of training is supplemented by on-going continuing education, as well as receiving support by licensed mental health clinicians.

Support by veterans is available for active duty, National Guard and Reserve service members, veterans, retirees, and their families/caregivers at 855 838-8255.

For those serving outside the United States, help is still available by either calling the Global DSN Operator at: DSN 312-560-1110 or Commercial (719) 567-1110. There is also a live chat feature available on the website and provide a phone number. A peer will call you back.

If you need help now, these veteran resources are available by calling the Vets4Warriors National Help Hotline at (855) 838-8255 or visiting the Vets4Warriors website.

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.