Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

STRESSED-OUT SOLDIERS




(CBS) - According to a recent report from the VA, more than 50,000 vets from Iraq and Afghanastan are believed to be suffering from mental health problems-nearly half of them from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. It's well documented and, says the Pentagon, well treated both in the field and at home.

BUT CBS NEWS CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT ARMEN KETEYIAN reports that at least in one large military base in Colorado, solders are saying members of the Army command are simply paying lip service, at best, to PTSD---hindering their treatment and upending their careers.

The 2nd Brigade Combat Team in Fort Carson, Colo., is training to go back to Iraq after experiencing some of the fiercest combat last year. The unit lost soldiers at double the rate of other Army posts around the country, including Pfc. Sam Lee, who committed suicide at a Ramadi Army barracks.

"As he was going outside, that's pretty much when I came in the room and saw him fire on himself," says Pvt. Tyler Jennings.

"The second round actually came by and missed my head and hit my weapon," adds Pvt. Corey Davis. "So I had to use his weapon. And I mean I got it with his blood on it still."

Jennings and Davis say that surreal scene, among many others, led to nightmares, flashbacks and anxiety attacks---classic symptoms of PTSD.

"I had panic attacks every time," says Jennings. "And I had it all set up, I was going to hang myself."

In a recent report, more than one-third of Iraqi war veterans sought help for mental health problems, including PTSD, within a year of returning home. A report from a congressional watchdog group detailed failures by the Department of Defense to identify and deal with anxiety issues like PTSD.

In the face of what some are calling an epidemic of PTSD in the military, nearly a dozen soldiers at Fort Carson, told CBS NEWS that their cries for mental health either went unanswered or they found themselves subject to unrelenting abuse and ridicule.


Kate Baron is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Colorado Springs, Colo. Each week, she counsels up to 25 soldiers and their families who are either unwilling or unable to face their problems while on base.

"I think it's a very big problem," says Baron. "They could potentially lose their promotion potential, or just feeling like they're not able to advance in their career. That it's kinda over for them."

Lt. Colonel Eric Kruger, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team at Fort Carson, says he's concerned that soldiers aren't seeking help due to fears of fearing ridicule or reprisal.

"It's a tremendous concern," he says. "You don't want a soldier not to seek help for anything. They're our No. 1 asset. Leaders have to engage that every day---and in my experience here, we do.

Col. Kruger says the Army offers ample means to get help for PTSD without jeopardizing one's career---such as a comprehensive screening program in which soldiers are asked to answer questions about their mental state.

***This practice of a comprehensive screening program that soldiers fill out is INADEQUATE! These soldiers cannot decipher if they have problems or not because they don't have medical degrees. This was the topic of one of the hearings on Capitol Hill. I see that the results of that hearing hasn't changed anything!

"You take this step; you fill out the boxes," says Keteyian.

"I did the right thing, 'cause I knew I needed help," Davis says.

"A cry for help and nobody hers it?"

"No, there was no answer."

Today, Davis, like Jennings, has seen a once-promising career upended. Demoted to provate for drug abuse---something experts say is a common coping mechanism for those suffering from the disorder---both face dishonorable discharges.

Both were forced to seek treatment off-base and have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. LIKE MANY SOLDIERS, THEY FEEL DESERTED BY THE ARMY THEY ONCE SO PROUDLY SERVED.


Source of Info: CBS NEWS.com
Fort Carson, Colorado
July 12, 2006

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