Home > NewsRelease > BRAIN WOUND UPDATE #17: Military Suicides: Rates gradually increased from 2011 to 2022
BRAIN WOUND UPDATE #17: Military Suicides: Rates gradually increased from 2011 to 2022
TreatNOW Coalition --  Concussion Protocol Experts TreatNOW Coalition -- Concussion Protocol Experts
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Arlington, VA
Saturday, October 28, 2023



“DoD aims to deliver the highest-quality clinical health care services.”

Once again, we have to repeat: At some point, DoD, the VA, and medicine in general will hear the drumbeat of data in peer-reviewed science attesting to the advantages of treating and healing undiagnosed and untreated brain wounds. But “root cause analysis” as a prerequisite to understanding the physiological underpinnings of many suicides will have to await a more enlightened team of analysts, given the lack of a comprehensive and integrated attempt with this latest: ANNUAL REPORT ON SUICIDE IN THE MILITARY CALENDAR YEAR 2022.

The Report states that “Suicide is multifaceted, and suicide prevention needs a comprehensive and integrated approach. Thus, DoD aims to:

? Foster supportive environments.

? Address stigma as a barrier to care.

? Improve delivery of mental health care.

? Promote a culture of lethal means safety.

? Revise suicide prevention training”

Digging deeper on “Improve delivery of mental health care,” the reader is left wondering how the Defense Suicide Prevention Office continues to assume that brain wounds are Mental Health issues amenable to non-FDA-approved interventions for brain wounds. Nothing the DOD Mental Health System of VA does for brain injuries is approved for Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). And TBI has been shown to be a direct contributor to suicidal ideation, amenable to healing with HBOT.

The shortcoming of NOT calling out brain wounds — diagnosed or not — as a contributor to suicidal ideation reminds this author of the case of COL Shawn “Norm” Pederson (USAF, ret). The former lead solo pilot in the Thunderbirds, a 23 year Veteran and recognized fast-burner, suffered a ruptured cerebral aneurysm just three weeks after retiring in 2014. Nine years later, the COL is a ward of his mother and brother, who, according to the terms of the US Suicide Prevention Office, is suffering from mental health problems.

To be sure, COL Pederson has mental health challenges, but his brain is damaged. He suffers from a physical wound to his brain. Yet after only a few years, the medical system declared there is no more they can do for him. He is deemed totally disabled and is in the care of his 85-year old mother, may the heavens smile upon her.

Leaving aside how we’re going to intervene to help, his story is little different from active duty and Veteran service members who have been relegated to the inadequate standard of care available for chronic TBI/post concussive syndrome. It is failing. We continue to get requests for help from Veterans and active duty Special Operations [a recent set of requests from Special Warfare Combat-Crew Crewmen follows similar requests from EOD personnel]. Yet thousands of success stories, positive peer-reviewed data, worldwide adoption, and clinical evidence are inadequate to break through at the official level.

A more thorough Suicide Prevention Strategy should report on efforts to properly diagnose and heal brain wounds, across the board. As we’ve reported, it was surprising to us that the Suicide Prevention and Response Independent Review Committee ignored our recommendations, and failed in a 16-page chapter on Treatment and Support Services to even mention better diagnoses and brain wound healing fundamentals.

After the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on Suicide Prevention strategies, research, outreach, 988 crisis lines, recruitment, and collaboration efforts, the 877,450 brain wounded Veterans deserve more than to be told that they have to get used to their new normal. Perhaps some of the billions of dollars allocated to Suicide Prevention could be usefully given over to healing brain wounds.


The TreatNOW Mission is ending service member suicides. Along the way, we have learned that we can help heal the symptoms and effects of acute concussion/TBI/PTSD by helping heal brain wounds.

Heal Brains. Stop Suicides. Restore Lives. TreatNOW

Information provided by TreatNOW.org does not constitute a medical recommendation. It is intended for informational purposes only, and no claims, either real or implied, are being made

Key Words:  Special Operators, veterans, suicide, athletesbrain healthblast injurybrain injurybrain woundChronic Traumatic Encephalopathyconcussionconcussion protocolConcussion SymptomsCTEHBOTHyperbaric Oxygen therapyTBITBItreatmenttraumatic brain injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Robert L. Beckman. PhD
Group: TreatNOW Coalition
Dateline: Arlington, VA United States
Direct Phone: 703-346-8432
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