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Suicide

Healing the ‘Invisible Wound’ continued 

The message of the campaign is “We’ve Got Your Back,” and for Place, serving in the Army is a “family business.”
“My son is still in active duty, he’s been an infantryman,” he said. “I was in the 101st Airborne Division, he was in the 82nd Airborne Division, and just like his old man was when I was a young enlisted man, he kind of followed in my footsteps.”
“I served in the 82nd in Desert Storm,” Place said. “So twice, I was on the initial invasion into Iraq, and then later on he came in to Iraq as I was coming out. And then he went on to the 82nd Airborne, and he went into Afghanistan as my unit prepared to relieve his unit in place in Afghanistan.”
Place retired in November. He is working with IAVA to help his fellow veterans get the help they need.
“My son has had three of his close friends who have lost the fight to suicide,” he said. “I have several friends who have either attempted or lost the fight to suicide. As a Battalion Commander, I had—for two years in command—multiple ideations, and a couple of attempts.”
Nearly 50 percent of IAVA members know someone who served in Iraq or Afghanistan who has either committed or attempted suicide.
“I’m in that 50 percent number,” said Derek Bennett, who served two tours in Iraq before leaving the Army in 2007. “This is an aspect of the war we feel has not received the awareness that is due.”
The number of suicides among active-duty military personnel eclipsed the number of casualties in the War on Terror in 2012. The number of young veterans taking their own life has increased dramatically since 2009, and a record 349 active-duty service members committed suicide last year.
IAVA honored veterans from all wars who have died from suicide on Thursday. One of the groups’ allies in Congress is Sen. John Walsh (D., Mont.), the first Iraq war combat veteran to serve in the Senate.
“This is a personal issue to me,” Walsh said after the flags were placed. “I commanded an infantry battalion in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, where I took, what I like to say, over 700 of Montana’s finest young men and women into combat in Iraq for over a year. When we returned home, one of my young Sergeants died by suicide.”
Walsh introduced the Suicide Prevention for America’s Veterans Act, which would allow veterans to receive mental health care for up to 15 years following active-duty service. Currently, soldiers can only get care from Veterans Affairs for 5 years.
The legislation would also modernize the way the VA prescribes medication, and attempt to make mental health jobs at the agency more competitive with the private sector.
Paul Rieckhoff, the founder and executive director of IAVA, said his group has held over 100 meetings in Washington this week, including with the Department of Defense, White House, and Capitol Hill, to raise awareness and lobby for Walsh’s bill.
“It’s a personal issue for all of us,” he said. Rieckhoff mentioned Clay Hunt, a former Marine corporal, who received the Purple Heart after being shot by a sniper in Afghanistan.
After leaving the service in 2009, Hunt worked with Rieckhoff and IAVA’s “Storm the Hill” suicide prevention campaign, and helped build bikes for “Ride 2 Recovery,” which holds bike races to help wounded combat heroes.
But in 2011, Hunt took his own life, shooting himself in his apartment.
“The flags we’re planting today are in memory of Clay Hunt and so many others,” Rieckhoff said. “We know that Clay’s with us here, I spoke to his mother last night, and she’s behind us, and so many other families are behind us.”
Another family stricken by military suicide are the Ruocco’s. Major John Ruocco, U.S. Marine Corps, was a decorated Cobra gunship pilot and father of two sons.
“He flew his last 75 missions in Iraq on his last tour,” his wife Kim said on Thursday. “Upon his return, he suffered from post-traumatic stress, depression, and was suffering quite a bit.”
“My husband was not afraid of combat zones, or flying into fire, but he was afraid of asking for help,” she said. “He was afraid of letting people down, like most of our marines, soldiers, airmen, sailors.”
“His last words to me on the day that he died was, ‘I’m going to get help, but we are going to lose everything because of it,’” Ruocco said. “He thought that going for treatment for his injuries would forever change the way people viewed him. He died of stigma, and stigma still continues to be one our biggest battles in our [fight] against suicide.”
Ruocco is now the manager for Suicide Outreach and Education Programs at Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS helps at least three survivors who call the organization every day, seven days a week.
Bennett said the message he wants to send to his fellow veterans is “you’re not alone.”
“You’re not John Rambo, this country shouldn’t think of you as an outlier,” he said. “We all go through this experience together.”
Place wanted to emphasize that “it’s not weakness” for veterans to seek help.
“We think it is,” he said. “That’s the problem, we’re taught in the military to be strong and be tough, and endure, and when we’re in those dark places we don’t want to reach out for help, because we think it shows weakness.”
“I know there’s a lot of folks out there that might think that suicide is a scapegoat, it’s an escape, and you’re quitting, but when you’re a young person, and you’ve seen the things that we’ve seen, you’ve had to do some of the things that we’ve had to do, it can wear on you,” Place said. “It’s really that invisible wound. And the toughest part is admitting it, admitting that you need help.”
Ministry Central

Distance Learning Primary Site

(Click on picture of books to go directly to Ministry Central)

Perspective Chaplains,

Level One and Two distance learning can be found on Ministry Central (ministrycentral.com) You can take both Levels on Ministry Central.  To apply for endorse status you must complete Level One training and pass the tests. These are open book tests so feel free to review the material as many times as you need to. You can either take this training though our live training taught by Dr. Sidney Poe or take the training online. The courses are offered at a very reasonable cost compared to industry standards. When you apply there is a charge for application processing and first year dues. After the first year the renewal fee is $90.00 a year.

Within one year after being endorsed you are required to complete Level Two. This training is designed to give you tools to use when the need arises so that you will be able to help those in crises.

We have two sites for distance learning. Below you will see the link to OCATeachable.com. That site was our first training site and only has Level One training. Because of the program limits Level One on this site had to be split up in to parts A&B with test. It takes both A&B and the test to complete Level One training. 

We sincerely pray that your journey into chaplaincy will be an anointed and fruitful path. If we can help you in any way, please contact my Administrative Assistant Brandi Hood at 662-346-3239 or brandihood.oca@gmail.com or if you need to talk to me you can call 870-814-0901.

Thank you for your interest and burden.

William Dillon

OCA Director 

His third book One More Giant by Rev. William Dillon is now available on Kindle and Amazon. Signed copy available upon Request.

Click this link to preview  -

One more Giant      https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B0B2TNZ42S&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_508CT2TG2BMNT9ZK8R1Z

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Caring in Action

Director of Occupational Chaplains

All applications are to be sent to:

OCA Director William Dillon  
264 South Veterans Memoral Blvd 
Tupelo, MS 38804

Phone: 870-814-0901
Email: William@plisolutions.com

OCA is an endorsed project of the UPCI in the Office of Education and Endorsements 

36 Research Park Court, Weldon, Spring MO 63304