Panel warns on troop mental health

WASHINGTON - The military is putting already-strained troops at greater risk of mental health problems because of repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, a Pentagon panel said Thursday in warning of an overburdened health system.

Issuing an urgent warning, the Defense Department’s Task Force on Mental Health chaired by Navy Surgeon General Donald Arthur said more than one-third of troops and veterans currently suffer from problems such as traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

With an escalating Iraq war, those numbers are expected to worsen, and current staffing and money for military health care won’t be able to meet the need, the group said in a preliminary report released Thursday.

And given the state of our military hospitals and the V.A. system as a whole, I would say these are accurate and legitimate concerns…

Our troops are not only stretched thin by their sheer lack of numbers, they are truly stretched thin in their capacity to keep going and retain a reasonable level of sanity, the troops will NEVER say stop, they’ll keep going back as many times as ordered to go back, but their mental state does deteriorate more and more every time, unless you’re some REMF that never leaves the wire, then everything is just ducky and you can send letters home telling the folks how well it’s going in YOUR area…

Branding Pentagon policies overly conservative and out-of-date, the task force called for more money and a fundamental shift in treatment to focus on prevention and screening — rather than simply relying on soldiers to come forward on their own.

It cited a significant stigma in which soldiers believe they would be ridiculed or their careers damaged if they were to acknowledge having problems.

And these fears are well grounded too, I personally know a troop that was really stressed out during the early part of his 1st tour to Iraq, and he made the mistake of asking for help, he took it thru the chain and did it the right way, went to the Green Zone, saw the shrink, took a few days off, got some counseling and went back to his unit and reported as ready for duty…

He was soundly ostracized by his fellow soldiers for being WEAK and no matter what he did to redeem himself in their eyes, he was constantly ridiculed by his superior NCO’s for quite some time, he’s home now, working in an E-5 slot, a job that specifically requires an E-5 in that slot, yet he is locked into his E-4, and I am pretty well convinced that it’s simply because he did what the system required him to do, he trusted the system and asked for needed help and now he’s paying the price…

The task force found 38 percent of soldiers and 31 percent of Marines report psychological concerns such as traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from deployment.

Among members of the National Guard, the figure is much higher — 49 percent — with numbers expected to grow because of repeated deployments.

OK, we KNOW the problems exist, what is the government going to DO about it?? Other than talk and do dozens of other studies, while our Vets and troops NEED serious help??

Both the VA and the Pentagon in recent weeks have acknowledged a need to improve mental health treatment. Jan Kemp, a VA associate director for education who works on mental health, has estimated there are up to 1,000 suicides a year among veterans within the VA system, and as many as 5,000 a year among all living veterans.

And those figures are fairly conservative I am guessing…  

Folks, it’s time to either take care of our Vets and active duty troops, and do it right, or it’s time to pull them OUT of this little pissant civil war and let’s forget about Iraq, bomb em to hell and back but forget the BOTG, the place is worth the ‘collateral’ damage we’re suffering to our wonderful men and women in uniform…

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Panel warns on troop mental health

One Response to “Panel warns on troop mental health”

  1. Basti Says:

    If you want a military career, never ever tell anyone you’re stressed out, see a shrink, or take your complaints to you superiors. If you do your career is basically over, as this will follow you to the end of days. It’s not fair and its not right, but the military expects the troops to ’suck it up’ and do the job. I’ve seen the above happen many years ago and nothing has changed. Actually I’m thinking its always been this way in all times in all armies.

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