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haasume

VA Social Worker suicide in VA office,I have lost faith in PTSD recovery program

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     I put this on the C&P forum because I have a 5 yr reevaluation for my TDIU for PTSD coming up in the next few months. But, here is the story. I was taken into the VA mental health program by a former employer and after a year and a half of therapy every week I was granted and increase from my 30% PTSD and 50% overall disability rating. I was awarded TDIU with a 70% PTSD rating. I continued my weekly group, bi weekly individual therapy and every 3 month psychiatrist visits  for 3 yrs. I saw marginal success in my recovery and had come to the conclusion that it is what it is and I would probably  have difficulty for the rest of my life. Then this happened.

     When I was brought into the program I had a social worker go over a suicide plan and take me through all the steps that were needed for me to be successful in the recovery program offered by the VA. I did not work with her individually after that, but saw her and spoke with her in the halls. About 9 months ago this Social worker took her own life in her office at the VA mental health building I go to. I will be honest and say that this was difficult for me not only in the fact that I knew her and she was a very nice woman, but it also shook my faith in the VA recovery system. How is the professional who worked my suicide plan with me and ask me to follow the guidelines for recovery  going to commit suicide, especially at work? I am already very skeptical of everything and have trouble trusting people, but for me this was proof that PTSD is not gong to be cured. I can go to 1000 therapy sessions and take all the meds they can shove down my throat, but once you have it, its with you forever and it's up to you figure out how you can learn to live with it. 

     My question is this, I have started going back to individual and group therapy recently and I discussed with my social worker my feelings on this situation. I told him about how I lost faith in the VA and I withdrew from the program as a result. I will be honest and say that I had a series of stresses occur that put me in a bad place for many months and it was time to talk to someone. However, when I read my Blue Button notes, My social worker mentioned nothing about my comments on the situation and why I stopped coming to the VA for a period of about 9 months. I am thinking of asking him why he did not mention it in my notes. He is aware of my upcoming C&P and I am sure the examiner will look at my record. I want to know if I just need to let this go and not make a big deal about it? I know saying I lost faith in the VA's mental health system won't look good for me, however, it's the truth and it explains my absence for those months. Any thoughts would be appreciated. 

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Unfortunately, I read somewhere where psychiatrists were in a very high risk group for suicide.  

My suggestion is that you go to a "different" VA facility for treatment, IF you think that would help you.  We had a guy commit suicide about 5 years or so ago, at our VAMC near the "statue" entrance.  I usually avoid that statue entrance for that reason.  

I can vouch that the VA is "not a unified body".  In other words, just because one VA employee gave you a bad time, does not mean "all" VA employees will do likewise.  John Wilkes Booth was an American actor, this does not mean all Americans  or all actors want to kill the president.  Its actually an "error of logic" to draw conclusions from too small of a sample size.   As you may know, John Wilkes Booth killed Abraham Lincoln in Fords theatre.  

Its oft quoted, "Well, I have 4 round rocks, therefore, all rocks are round".  

I mentioned this, because you may well find another VA doc who you learn to trust that does you good.  I would even recommend MY VA doc.  He has been awesome.  

Edited by broncovet

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Be honest with the doc doing your exam.  Let him/her know what your story is including your therapist committing suicide.  That said I would start back with the VA or on the outside with continuing therapy.  If you have PTSD it is important to have some guidance and someone to talk to.  I myself get my counseling on the outside because I trust my doctor and my PHD.

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