Helping the Veterans NOW

18 Veterans are committing suicide every day according to this story in the NYT.

Community acupuncture clinics can save lives now. The challenge is connecting with the Vets, which means doing outreach in our community. There is a lot more to be said on this topic, but clear thinking and rest is needed before action. I needed to say at least this much before going horizontal for the night.  Cry

river Jordan
Author: river Jordan

After graduating from the Northwest Institute of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine in 1997, I had a hobby practice for a few years before moving to Northern India to study Buddhism. During this time, I volunteered in a local clinic, giving acupuncture to Tibetan refugees and Indian nationals. <p> Returning to the U.S. in 2002, I started a typical insurance based acupuncture practice catering to the upper middle class. In 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, I volunteered with <a href="https://www.acuwithoutborders.org/" target="_blank">Acupuncturists Without Borders</a>, using community style acupuncture to treat trauma victims in a natural disaster setting. </p> Inspired by the power and efficacy of acupuncture in a post-disaster setting, I began to contemplate issues of socioeconomic class. What could be done to make acupuncture accessible to everyone and still provider a livable wage for an acupuncturist? After attending WCA's first conference in October of 2006, I had found the answer to that question. In January 2007, together with my partner Serena Sundaram, we founded <a href="https://www.communichi.org/" target="_blank">Communichi</a>, Seattle's first dedicated community acupuncture clinic. <p> As a Buddhist, I believe that healing begins in the mind. As the positive qualities of wisdom and compassion are cultivated in the mind of a practitioner, this...

Related Articles

Conference Keynote: Breaking the Ceiling

The theme for this conference is “Breaking Barriers”. You know, there are so many barriers to break in acupuncture that it was really hard to choose which ones to talk about for this speech. But since I’ve spent so much time talking about classism as a barrier, I thought it might be fun to shift gears a little and talk about numbers.

Responses

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Veterans National Suicide Hotline

    From the article:

     1-800-273-TALK (8255)

    Copy and post on your bulletin board.

    Cynicism is a smokescreen for laziness and fear. Clear light mind awaken! Pierce through all layers of doubt and delusion! Inspire me onwards in ceaseless waves of selfless activity.

  2. Thanks for the post Jordan

    I have a Vets counseling center a few miles from me that I’ve passed by for months and thought many times that would be a place that could use acupuncture services…

  3. Another late night. Serena

    Another late night. Serena attended a meeting tonight with local activists preparing for an event to shine some healing light on this issue. We’ve decided to start a free clinic at CommuniChi on Saturdays from 12 to 4pm. Again, I think we can really be of assistance in this crisis and our altruistic service will also result in drawing in good karma for our clinics. To read more, please visit the CommuniChi blog

     Cynicism is a smokescreen for laziness and fear. Clear light mind awaken! Pierce through all layers of doubt and delusion! Inspire me onwards in ceaseless waves of selfless activity.

  4. Yay!

    That’s fabulous Jordan!  Once I have an acu-partner in the clinic with me, I want to offer a few hours of free treatments every week, too.   Keep us posted on the evolution of your free Saturday afternoons…

    Jessica Feltz

    The Turning Point

    http://www.TheTurningPointAcupuncture.com

    Frederick, MD

  5. I called this number.

    They referred me to a local number, which referred me to another group that is local.  An elderly lady called me later that day, and took my offer.  But strange to say, she also commented that they aren’t getting many calls on the suicide hotline recently.  She couldn’t guess why.

    I’ve read about the San Francisco VA being sued for neglecting the suicide requests of veterans, and wondering if the vets have just given up getting any kind of real help in this department (remember the Walter Reed hospital expose?)

    Or is it a case of Marin simply not having sent many solders to the war?  When we were at the Vietnam memorial, I couldln’t find a single Asian name on the wall. Our hostess suggested that perhaps all the Asian kids were in college then, getting a higher education, so they weren’t drafted.  That doesn’t ring true for me, however, I still think it’s strange, both conditions.  Maybe someone here has a better answer.

    Lumiel

  6. Hi Lumiel,

    Hi Lumiel,

    What is your offer if it is okay to ask? I think there is definitely some truth to your suspicion. If I were a Vet, I’d probably be hesitant to seek help with the VA. Unfortunately, large institutions often seem more interested in taking people’s money (and service in the case of Vets) without being genuine and responsible about reciprocating.

    Recently I tried to redeem a flight coupon with one of the airlines. The hoops they were going to make me jump through (drive to the airport to exchange, etc.) were unbelievable. I can only imagine that the VA may be even more bureaucratic than a major airlines. But, I will give the benefit of the doubt for now as I reach out to the local VA with news of the free clinic we are setting up.

    The NYTimes article above certainly gives the impression that the Veterans are doing something and trying to fix this problem, but who really knows in this age of media spin we live in.

    I say all this, hoping that no Vets are actually reading this because I imagine that the Hot Line is a valuable resource, even if it is enmeshed within the problematic perception of the VA as a whole.

    Cynicism is a smokescreen for laziness and fear. Clear light mind awaken! Pierce through all layers of doubt and delusion! Inspire me onwards in ceaseless waves of selfless activity.

  7. Jordan,

    I told them that I wanted to offer acupuncture treatments because they are known to provide great relief in times of stress and trauma. Thieir representative made sure that I knew that they’re severely underfunded.  I explained that I realize that, and I asked that they give my name (clinic) and contact number, and if they would come for treatments, I assured them that I would make it affordable for all of them (even if I only charge a dollar!).

    I think that if I had the time (right now I’m trying to get my paper ready for submission, preparing for my poster presentation, and the 2-week honeymoon/wedding gift we’re taking on the 20th of May) I would call around and see if any agency contacts are interested in setting up something official (like your Saturday offerings) that could be publicized broadly in the community.  Somehow “official” sanction seems to open the door to those newspapers.

    Lumiel

  8. Here’s something else to

    Here’s something else to inspire some ideas and outreach:  One of our volunteers is connected with the founder of Iraq Veterans against the War here in Philly – now, IVAW is paying $25 2x per month for each of their ten employees (veterans) to get acu treatments, since they don’t get health ins. benefits. 

  9. clueless bureaucracy

    I called the National hotline and was routed to a nearby crisis line and shared the info on our free clinic. They weren’t interested….”we’re just a crisis line”….”but there might be a lot of people who might ask for other resources”, I said. Nope.  No worries…other providers who are also patients have already been picking up brochures to pass out and distribute and word will spread. 

    Cynicism is a smokescreen for laziness and fear. Clear light mind awaken! Pierce through all layers of doubt and delusion! Inspire me onwards in ceaseless waves of selfless activity.

  10. IVAW – more

    Ok, I will work on the possibility of setting up a national relationship between IVAW and CAN like the above … Seeing the co-founder tomorrow.  

  11. That would be cool – I just

    That would be cool – I just found out we have an IVAW chapter in lil’ Santa Cruz….will try to contact them when I get my head above water…

  12. Stopping the WAR

    We are working with the IVAW also, as they are sponsoring the May 31 event here in Seattle. Although AWB makes a practice of trying to steer clear of politics with their work involving Vets, I respect that and see a difference with CAN clinics.

    AWB is national and is probably interested in building relationships with FEMA and the VA directly (just a guess on my part…no inside knowledge here).

    CAN is comprised of community clinics and it makes sense that we support what is good for the community which is to help end this insane war (immediate unconditional withdrawal of troops), support the healing of Iraq (reparations), and full medical benefits for Vets without any more Walter Reed hospital horror stories.

    Nonetheless, I do think it is important in a treatment setting to try to avoid politics, to focus completely on supporting the person in front of us and giving full respect for the dignity of each human beings.

    It is possible that by making a political stand, some of the more patriotic Vets might be offended by our political stance and thus, we could risk creating barriers for their treatment – that’s a risk. But I believe it is outweighed by the overall importance of not remaining silent (i.e. like good Germans during Hitler), while the corporatocracy continues to rape and pillage the planet.

    Cynicism is a smokescreen for laziness and fear. Clear light mind awaken! Pierce through all layers of doubt and delusion! Inspire me onwards in ceaseless waves of selfless activity.

  13. further clarifications from a mental health professional

    A psychologist friend of mine pointed out the use of the term
    “veterans” may make active duty combat people (e.g. those who are back
    from first tour and on short break before second tour) feel excluded
    from our event. He is going to be speaking to someone just back from
    Iraq tomorrow and will try to clarify for us.
    Also, he pointed out that there is a difference between the VA (for
    Veterans) and the military hospitals which deal with active duty
    soldiers.
    Further, he pointed out that the military touts it’s screening programs
    to try to identify those soldiers with PTSD and get them treated as
    soon as they come back. When he worked in the VA, a soldier told him
    that every soldier knows to just say “No” to all the questions because
    if they said “yes”, it would flag them for treatment, etc. and this
    would mean not getting back home/reunited with family for another 3
    months. So everyone just says NO to any screening questions which might
    possible identify them as having PTSD.
    Lastly, he agreed that the term Post combat stress may be better to use
    than PTSD from an acupuncturist’s point of view. PTSD is potentially
    more stigmatizing. Furthermore, PTSD is a complex diagnosis which we
    aren’t really qualified to clinically diagnose. If we say we are
    treating PTSD, that would imply that we have more knowledge than we
    actually do. Safer to simply say post combat stress.
    I feel uneasy about this terror drill thing….let’s all do our
    spiritual practice diligently next 24 hours and say many prayers for
    peace.

     

    Cynicism is a smokescreen for laziness and fear. Clear light mind awaken! Pierce through all layers of doubt and delusion! Inspire me onwards in ceaseless waves of selfless activity.

  14. Let us all do this.

    This is possible, and could happen as a ploy to retain power .  But the power of prayer could be awesome.  Pray unceasingly.  Without peace, all other efforts are meaningless. May 1 could still be a time to honor spring.

     Lumiel

  15. Okay, I need to eat my words

    Okay, I need to eat my words a bit from above, and pay more attention to my signature quote that talks about the dangers of cynicism.

    I just went to the local Veterans Hospital (practically walking
    distance from our clinic) and made connections with a Social Worker who
    was very interested to spread the word about our free acupuncture for
    Vets beginning in June. I left some brochures and she was going to call
    us next week to talk more about who she connected to inside the VA. She
    specifically mentioned the Deployment Clinic (Vets who are newly
    returned from active duty), and the Pain Clinic. She said she was very
    certain there would be great interest in acupuncture. So we are
    preparing our contingency plans for helping masses of soldiers. So far
    we’ve had a half dozen or so people reply to an Evite we sent out
    (inviting them to help staff our clinic on Saturdays). 

    Cynicism is a smokescreen for laziness and fear. Clear light mind awaken! Pierce through all layers of doubt and delusion! Inspire me onwards in ceaseless waves of selfless activity.