C.T. Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret)
President and Executive Director
Help4VetsPTSD, Inc. - A 501(c)(3) Non-Profit (Pending)
Air Force Tuition Assistance (TA) suspension is a TEMPORARY SOLUTION to a short-term problem ... SUICIDE is a PERMANENT SOLUTION to a temporary problem. TA is a very popular program, recruiting and retention tool, and valuable entitlement to our military men and women.
With sequestration comes program cuts, usually "soft" programs like TA over weapon system programs like to beleaguered F-35 program. So the temporary "suspension" of TA has troops up in arms and rightfully so. The White House Petition asking the president to save the TA program has garnered over 80,000 of the 100,000 required signatures to force Obama to address the issue. I started a White House Petition several months back when the criteria for presidential action was just 10,000 signatures and few petitions came close to that mark, so 80,000+ signatures is quite a milestone...congratulations!
My previous petition was similar to the one I recently started and even though tens of thousands saw my pleas for action, we received only 71 of the required 150 signatures to even get the petition viewable on the website, and WAY SHORT of the 10,000 signature requirement. What does that tell you about the priorities of our citizens? 71 signatures out of 25,000+ possible ... NOT A VERY GOOD CONVERSION RATE.
More men and women in uniform COMMITTED SUICIDE last year than were KILLED IN COMBAT! 6,900+ Military and Veterans die by their own hand each year and the negative stigmas against anxiety, depression, PTSD, and mental health treatment in the military are the cause.
We (military men and women and Veterans) learn NOT TO ASK FOR HELP for these very real and debilitating psychological problems because we fear being ostracized by superiors and peers, losing our security clearances, and/or possibly losing our careers. Until military men and women are GIVEN CONFIDENTIAL TREATMENT and the IGNORANCE OF OUR LEADERS are addressed, our heroes will continue to take their own lives!
Please read my articles on these stigmas, one of which (THE STIGMA KILLING AMERICAN HEROES) was recently published in De Oppresso Liber magazine. There is also a recent post on our WHITE HOUSE PETITION, asking President Obama to address this extremely important issue and allow our troops to receive CONFIDENTIAL TREATMENT, thereby reducing the stigmas, I have discussed very briefly here, over time.
Please sign our WHITE HOUSE PETITION and read more about the issue elsewhere in this blog: http://www.Help4VetsPTSD.blogspot.com
Tuition Assistance WILL RETURN ... LAST YEAR'S 7,000 DEAD HEROES WILL NOT! Be selfless, THINK ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE FOR A CHANGE, PUTTING ANY SELFISH CONCERNS TO THE SIDE FOR NOW.
If our military men and women put as much effort into saving 7,000 lives each year as they do trying save an ENTITLEMENT that will only benefit them personally, our petition would succeed in record time. It is time to start thinking about someone other than yourselves, character traits like "empathy" (being able to put yourself in sometime else's shoes, feeling their pain, etc) and "selflessness", which is one of the Air Force Core Values by the way, and put your effort into more critical activities. It is time to be selfless and end these absurd yet deadly stigmas, empathizing with those afflicted by painful memories and emotions instead of ensuring that YOU have that AA Degree by the time you jump ship for the private sector.
BLESS YOU ALL AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOYAL SERVICE!
Key Words: PTSD,suicide,military,stigma,stigmas,troops,co confidentiality,confidential,mental,health,treatment,ignorance,career,security,clearance, Help4VetsPTSD