Veteran Suicide Research Funding: The Prostitution of a Crisis
Operation Vet Fit has a challenge to all of the tax payer funded, pop-up agencies claiming to investigate the veteran suicide crisis. Stop prostituting the crisis and get something done!
For nearly a decade our agency has watched the playbook unfold within our medical, higher education institutions, and veterans’ hospitals as they gobble up hundreds of millions of tax-payer dollars to hire their professional colleagues and alums to set up agencies under the guise of conducting research to “better understand and to stop the veteran suicide crisis”. Yet, despite all that funding, their efforts have come up short with little to no reduction in veteran suicide trends.
We know what caused the suicide crisis, how to stop it, and prevent another one.
Meanwhile, since 2012 Operation Vet Fit has stopped the suicide crisis amongst its ranks. Not a single suicide since our inception. We’ve presented and shared the findings of our works and research for free. Yet they (VA and others) seem disinterested in a solution and more motivated by the tax-dollars that support their salaries and institutional funding.
However, we have also become aware that with the solution in hand, the dollars for research will quickly disappear. As a result, it is not really stopping suicide they seek, but rather the funding the crisis has provided.
The term our agency has dubbed to describe this travesty of humanity is: “the prostitution of a crisis.” We’d like it to stop.
How did we Stop Veteran Suicide?
With over 150 (volunteer) combat veterans, their families and a stacked advisory board of military turned civilian leaders. We looked at it, through the prism of our military leaders and combat veterans tasked with managing and witnessing the crisis, first hand, as it unfolded, and in real time. We analyzed what the Department of Defense did right when the crisis began to spike in 2008. Identified the micro, meso and macro triggers of the crisis. Articulated what the VA has been doing right and wrong. Evaluated national veteran suicide data covering over fifty-five-million veterans, across all fifty US States since the 1970’s. We did it all by being good stewards of our donor dollars and without a single penny of institutional, state or federal funding, and without a single paid employee.
Operation Vet Fit is eager to collaborate and share its system of veteran recruitment, intake, risk assessment, case management, modality execution and continuity of care with all interested and ethical institutions. That is, if you are actually looking for the solution. - Dan Gaita, Founder of Operation Vet Fit
About the Author
Daniel R. Gaita, MA, LMSW, a United States Marine turned veterans' advocate. Founder of Operation Vet Fit, a 501C(3), combat veteran advocacy agency recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health Services for his ground breaking research on veteran suicide causes and solutions. He is a South Carolina Licensed Social Worker specializing in Mental Health and Military Families; a volunteer research assistant at the Citadel, inducted into the Phi Alpha Honor Society while a graduate student at the University of Southern California, also a Presidential Management Fellowship Finalist; a participant in Military Clinical Skills Training and research conducted through the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families. Dan earned his BA in Psychology from combined studies at the University of Connecticut and Western Connecticut State University. He earned his first Masters degree in Organizational Leadership at Gonzaga University with a concentration in Servant Leadership. He later completed his second Masters degree in Clinical Social Work with a concentration on Mental Health and Military Families from combined studies at Fordham University and the University of Southern California.