The Florida chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), an award-winning nonprofit in the area of mental health human rights and government relations, is hosting an event commemorating Purple Heart Day on Saturday, August 5th at the historic Fort Harrison in downtown Clearwater. The complimentary event and banquet start at 5pm and those interested in attending may Click Here to register.
This special event is being held to honor members of the U.S. military and veterans for the anniversary of Purple Heart Day, which is observed annually on August 7th to recognize those who have been awarded the Purple Heart Medal for their service.
George Washington originally established the 1782 Badge of Military Merit, which had the design motif of a purple heart, and was eventually succeeded by today’s Purple Heart Medal. First given in 1932, a Purple Heart is awarded to U.S. military personnel wounded or killed in action, and is the oldest military award still presented to U.S. service personnel.
The August 5th CCHR event and banquet includes a formal presentation of arms by the Tampa area U.S. Marine Color Guard. This dramatic and skilled example of close-order presentation drilling never fails to impress those fortunate enough to experience it.
During the event, CCHR also hopes to raise awareness on the tragic subject of military suicides.
As recently reported by the Pentagon, “suicides in the active-duty military increased in the first three months of 2023 compared to the same time last year.” 
Additionally, the Department of Veterans Affairs is reporting veteran suicides as being down in 2020 and having dropped to their lowest level since 2006 but “analysis released by independent researchers shows the deaths may be significantly higher – a rate more than double the VA’s estimate when accounting for death certificate and records errors, accidental drug overdoses and unexplained deaths.” 
While the truth of just how many veterans take their own lives each year may be in question, the fact that from 2005 to 2011, the U.S. Department of Defense increased its prescriptions of psychiatric drugs by nearly seven times which was far greater than the increase for civilians is not in question.
Officially, one in six American service members is on at least one psychiatric drug and over the last ten years, the U.S. government has spent more than $4.5 billion dollars just medicating soldiers and veterans.
“It is known that antidepressants can raise the risk of suicide, yet these drugs are still being given to people in crisis, including our veterans and members of our military,” stated Diane Stein, president of CCHR in Florida. “In honor of those that served, and to whom we all owe a debt that can never truly be repaid, the staff and supporters of CCHR promise that we will continue to fight for those who so valiantly fought for us, by exposing abuses against veterans and those in active service while supporting alternative solutions,” said Ms. Stein. To learn more or to reserve a seat for the upcoming event, please call 727-442-8820. 
About CCHR: Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections. L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, first brought psychiatric imprisonment to wide public notice: “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed. All in the name of ‘mental health,’” he wrote in March 1969.
 Military suicides rose in 1st quarter of 2023 compared to same time last year, Pentagon report says – stripes.com/theaters/usa/2023-07-03/military-suicides-pentagon-report-10631188.html
 VA Says Veteran Suicides Continue to Fall, But Outside Researchers Find Rates May Be Much Higher – military.com/daily-news/2022/09/19/va-says-veteran-suicides-continue-fall-outside-researchers-find-rates-may-be-much-higher.html
 Warning over antidepressants as top experts say powerful drugs may raise risk of suicide – dailymail.co.uk/health/article-11985333/Warning-antidepressants-experts-say-powerful-drugs-raise-risk-suicide.html
The Hidden Enemy – cchrint.org/issues/the-hidden-enemy/
Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida
109 North Fort Harrison Avenue
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Florida Times Daily journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.