Showing posts with label Post Trauma Syndrome. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Post Trauma Syndrome. Show all posts

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Retired Firefighter Learns to Take Back HIs Life From PTSD

PTSD treatment works — the VA has helped me and it can help others
Herald and News
June 11, 2017

After my retirement from the fire district I was looking for things to do. I considered many ideas; while I was exploring the idea of helping the VA with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) soldiers, I discovered a link for first-responders.
June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder awareness month.
I was diagnosed with “Chronic PTSD” June of 2016. I served as a first-responder for near 35 years. To date I have spent 10 months in counseling.

I have learned many things about PTSD and have made it a personal goal to share my journey, educate and to minimize the stereotyping of PTSD victims.

I responded to over a couple hundred incidents involving death. Some were extremely horrific and graphic. Deaths were of all ages, genders, people we knew and those we didn’t know. The ones we knew were obviously more difficult to manage emotionally because we knew them and / or their families. Deaths involving children were always more emotionally troubling.
read more here

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Soldier standoffs: Police Responding to Crisis After Combat

Soldier standoffs: Police, community respond to scars of war
Killeen Daily Herald
By Josh Sullivan and David Bryant | Herald staff writers
February 25, 2017
“It’s a case where the individual has bad PTSD, so confrontations bring back previous confrontations with the enemy, and there are proponents of a flashback that drives back their current behavior. Those are the sad ones.” Dr. Thomas Newton
Eric J. Shelton | Herald Soldier standoffs: Police, community respond to scars of war
FILE — Police officers draw their weapons during a crisis response after residents reported a man threatened others with a gun. Police have to deal with a medley of factors, from post-traumatic stress disorder to how long a veteran served, is taken into account in an effort to preserve life.
About 6:15 p.m. on a Friday, police responded to a call that a 30-year-old man had barricaded himself in his southwest Killeen home. The Killeen Police Department and the special weapons and tactics team engaged the man for nearly 10 hours before the standoff ended around 4:30 a.m.

While Army officials confirmed the man in the Feb. 10 standoff with Killeen police was a former Fort Hood soldier, information regarding the mental health status of individuals involved in similar incidents cannot be released, as it is protected health information, Fort Hood spokesman Christopher Haug said.

The man was taken into custody for evaluation after the standoff ended, according to Killeen Police Department spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez. That’s not an unusual outcome for people who threaten self-harm, as long as there is no one else involved in the incident, she said.

Standoffs with police that involve either active-duty soldiers or veterans are nothing new. On Aug. 3, police shot a man in Copperas Cove after he aimed a rifle at them. On May 2, 2016, KPD was involved in a standoff from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with an armed and suicidal active-duty soldier about 4 miles north of the Feb. 10 standoff. On March 23, 2015, KPD responded to a standoff in northwest Killeen with a man who neighbors said was a veteran. KPD handled these situations without incident.

That’s not as simple as it may seem, because police have to deal with a medley of factors. Everything from post-traumatic stress disorder to how long a veteran served is taken into account in an effort to carry out the preservation of life.
read more here

Sunday, November 20, 2016

UK: Homeless Veteran's Life Changed By Human Kindness

Woman's kind-hearted gesture could change a homeless war veteran's life forever - and she's inspired others to do the same "Nobody should be alone. Nobody should be on the streets with nobody to support them"
Mirror UK
20 NOV 2016
Kevin says he returned from the war to find his partner with another man
(Photo: Facebook)
A woman's kind deed in helping a homeless war veteran has moved thousands – and caused the start of a ripple effect, inspiring others to do the same.

Kerry Stewart, who lives in Darwen, Lancashire, shared on Saturday a sad story about a homeless man called Kevin, whom she'd met late one evening in Blackburn.

Kerry writes that she first met a man called Kevin in a retail park. She bought him a cup of tea and a muffin and got chatting. Kerry says that she and her daughter spoke to Kevin for some time, and "learned that Kevin is not an addict or alcoholic, as many will presume, but is an ex-squaddie who came back to Burnley from the Army to find his wife shacked up with someone else."

Kevin apparently left his children, his dog, and now sleeps rough. He says that he stays away from local hostels as they're "full of junkies and dodgy landlords".

Mum Kerry continues in her Facebook post that she provided Kevin some clothes and food . She's carried on meeting up and finding out more about his life.

"Clearly suffering with PTSD, he cried when he told me of his recurring nightmare remembering the sight of body parts in an Iraqi village, most notably the arm of a child," Kerry writes.

She adds that Kevin told her "nothing could have prepared him" for a life after the Army, and it seems like he's suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
read more here

Friday, July 15, 2016

Police Standoff With PTSD Veteran Ends with Beanbags

Police use beanbags guns to end armed standoff in Holyoke
Associated Press
July 15, 2016

The chief says he thinks the 26-year-old man served in the Army and may have been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He says there may be other weapons in the home.
HOLYOKE, Mass. (AP) - A six-hour standoff between police and an armed and distraught veteran barricaded inside his Holyoke home has ended with no major injuries.

Police Chief James Neiswanger (NICE’-wong-er) says the standoff ended at about 1 a.m. Friday when police used beanbag rounds to disable the man when he stepped outside with a rifle on his chest.
read more here

Monday, September 7, 2015

PTSD Alarm Bell: Firefighter Thought He Had to Suffer in Silence

PTSD: A firefighter’s story
Journal Times
By Stephanie Jones
September 6, 2015
But the lives saved are harder to concentrate on, Jorgensen said. It’s the losses that he has played over and over again in his head.
Bob Jorgensen, a former South Shore Fire lieutenant, said he has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after his years with the South Shore Fire Department. He's shown here with his old helmet and the fireman's axe he was presented upon his retirement.
Photo by Scott Anderson
RACINE — It was close to Christmas, nearly 21 years ago, when Bob Jorgensen responded to a call for an accident on Highway 31.

“When we arrived, I was handed the 8-year-old child,” he said.

He watched as the boy’s eyes fluttered every time he squeezed his oxygen bag.

The boy didn’t make it, said Jorgensen, 56, who lives in West Racine and retired from South Shore Fire Department in 2012.

It’s a call that still haunts him. It took him more than a decade and a trip to the hospital in handcuffs to realize the truth: He had post-traumatic stress disorder.

He is sharing his story in hopes of preventing others from going through what he did.
“We were supposed to handle everything,” he said. So instead of talking about it, he tried to cope in silence.
read more here

Friday, February 27, 2015

Will American Sniper Trial Feed PTSD Stigma or Will Reporters Do It?

'American Sniper' trial likely to increase stigma of PTSD but this has been brought up by reporters for a long time. No, not just since this trial but for decades. It seems they just keep making statements without noticing they are the ones feeding the stigma instead of helping to end it.
"The jury got it right — that helps to some degree to destigmatize PTSD," said Harry Croft, a San Antonio-based psychiatrist who evaluates veterans with post-traumatic stress. "The bad news is: The headlines before the trial was that PTSD will be used as a defense. Unfortunately, that's the message many people will remember."

Pathetic! I am so sick and tired of reporters spinning this instead of actually telling folks what is really going on. If veterans think this famous trial will feed the stigma, they need to actually stop reacting and start thinking.

When Vietnam veterans came home, like generations before them, combat tagged along for the rest of their lives. They were not about go quietly into the abyss most folks were ready to help them into. They were called crazy, druggies, along with baby killers plus a lot of other things not fit for publication. They turned around, fought every established veterans service organizations, every politician, every psychiatrists and reporter getting in their way. The battle they fought after they came home managed to save a lot more lives, not just for their own sake but for all generations of veterans and civilians alike.

Crisis Intervention Strategies, By Richard James, Burl Gilliland gives credit to where credit is due for what happens when all of us are faced with traumatic events. Support groups and crisis intervention specialists ready to help us right away. (Ok, so I am one of those responders. I was certified in programs from 2008 to 2010 when I took just about every class I could.) These steps were established simply because Vietnam veterans pushed for all the research.

Then there are the Veterans centers. Those started in the 70's as well. Vietnam veterans didn't have a choice. They were not welcomed by other veterans. They did it without the internet and Facebook.

It wasn't until the Vietnam Memorial Wall was built that they were finally being honored for their service.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial stands as a symbol of America's honor and recognition of the men and women who served and sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam War. Inscribed on the black granite walls are the names of more than 58,000 men and women who gave their lives or remain missing. Yet the Memorial itself is dedicated to honor the "courage, sacrifice and devotion to duty and country" of all who answered the call to serve during the longest war in U.S. history. The Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund, Inc. is the 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 1980 to fund and build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Incorporated on April 27, 1979 by a group of veterans led by Jan C. Scruggs, who was wounded and decorated for service in Vietnam, the organization sought a tangible symbol of recognition from the American people for those who served in the war.

By separating the issue of individuals serving in the military during the Vietnam era and U.S. policy carried out there, VVMF hoped to begin a process of national reconciliation. Two members of the U.S. Senate, Charles Mathias (R-Md.) and John Warner (R-Va.), took the lead in Congress to enact legislation providing three acres in the northwest corner of the National Mall as a site for the Memorial. It was dedicated on Nov. 13, 1982.

If the stigma is still strong then you can thank reporters for feeding it all these years.
This came out in 2009.
Some military commanders still stuck on stupid when it comes to PTSD

"Our goal is to eradicate the stigma," he said. "We're not there yet."

Encouraging more soldiers to seek help, and training leaders to spot signs of trouble, have taken on new urgency since the fatal shooting last Monday of five U.S. service members at a counseling center at Baghdad's Camp Liberty.

Army Sgt. John M. Russell has been charged with five counts of murder. He was finishing his third tour in Iraq and had been ordered to seek counseling at the center, the Army said.

Sergeants on their third or fourth assignments to Iraq or Afghanistan are more than twice as likely to suffer mental health problems as those on their first assignment to a combat zone, according an Army study last year.

You can also thank them for letting military leaders get away with claims without being challenged like the one General Ray Odierno made back in 2014,
"First, inherently what we do is stressful. Why do I think some people are able to deal with stress differently than others? There are a lot of different factors. Some of it is just personal make-up. Intestinal fortitude. Mental toughness that ensures that people are able to deal with stressful situations.

But it also has to do with where you come from. I came from a loving family, one who gave lots of positive reinforcement, who built up psychologically who I was, who I am, what I might want to do. It built confidence in myself, and I believe that enables you to better deal with stress. It enables you to cope more easily than maybe some other people.

This pathetic attitude was carried over as the public was finally made aware of what was going on in Warrior Transition Units and those seeking help faced the ultimate betrayal.

Guess Odierno didn't remember Ty Carter or the Medal of Honor he had around his neck after he not only showed "intestinal fortitude" in combat but then had to show it even more with his battle to heal PTSD to the point where he went on a mission to have the "D" dropped from the term to help fight the stigma being fed by the military all these years after Vietnam Veterans fought to have it treated.
In the battle that earned him the nation's highest military honor, an outpost in Afghanistan's Nuristan Province was surrounded by almost 300 insurgents who opened fire with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades the morning of Oct. 3, 2009. Fifty-three Americans were stationed there; eight were killed in battle, and 25 were wounded, including Carter, who suffered hearing loss, shrapnel injuries and a concussion.

Guess he forgot about Dakota Meyer and all the others over all these years coming out also with the Medal of Honor on their necks and trying to save lives proving that having PTSD was nothing to be ashamed of.

Guess he forgot about the Generals coming out admitting they struggled with PTSD and speaking up for soldiers with their own battles to heal and prove that it was ok to talk about PTSD.

The stigma of PTSD is alive because far too many people want it that way. If everyone understood what it was and how long it has been going on, then they'd all be fighting the right battles toward healing. But hey, why bother to point out that PTSD isn't just about veterans but because of them, civilians have treatment to recover from traumatic events as well?

UPDATE Example of Crisis Intervention teams and what they do.
Girl's police call exposes trail of death: 7 killed in 4 Missouri homes

Classes for the district's 1,000 students are in session Friday, in part to give them a sense of normalcy, he said.

"We do have counselors available, and other offers from other districts to help out. As a small town, we all cry together. My principals are all assessing the situation now, and we will make a determination on what to do next," Dill said.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Veterans Walk Seminole County For PTSD

Veterans "walking off the war" through Seminole Co.
My FOX Orlando
By Jackie Orozco, Reporter
Feb 06, 2015
“Soldiers that have PTSD, we are not monsters. We've just been through a little bit more.

LAKE MARY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Veterans are "walking off the war" quite literally. A non-profit organization called "Warrior Hike” started a few years ago and it's a therapy program that encourages veterans to hike national scenic trails. We caught up with a few of them in Lake Mary who are walking the Florida Trail which is 1,300 miles.

33-year old Ricky Cardona started his journey in the Everglades on January 8th.He's expected to finish his 1,300 mile hike in Florida by April. Today he's made it to Lake Mary. He says he's doing it to shed light about veterans dealing with transitioning back into civilian life with post-traumatic stress disorder.
read more here
FOX 35 News Orlando

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Utah Candlelight Vigil Remembers 22 Veterans Gone Everyday

Vets who've taken their own lives honored at candlelight vigil
Herald Extra
Kurt Hanson
Daily Herald
December 20, 2014

“War is a terrible thing and it’s taken probably the best of every generation since this country’s been born,” said Gary Anderson, Utah County Commissioner.
Julie Hill of Park City looks downward during the moment of silence during the Winter Solstice Celebration of Life event at Elks Lodge Memorial Park in Provo on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. During the event, a bell was rang 22 times to honor the 22 veterans who commit suicide every day. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald
PROVO—Christmas, as joyous of a season as it is, can also be a time of depression or even loneliness for those going through post-traumatic stress disorder.

Unfortunately, veterans who may be suffering from PTSD end their lives all too frequently.

In fact, 22 veterans commit suicide every day within the United States, according to data from the Department of Veteran Affairs.

“This is a tragedy,” said Richard Thayer, vice president Utah County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

A special event was held Saturday night to honor those men and women who take their own lives each day.

A candlelight vigil was held and a bell was rung 22 times, symbolic of each life lost by suicide each day, before the audience bowed their heads in a moment of silence.
“They come back maybe with no visible wound, but [the wounds] are deep,” he said. “We don’t treat those.”

Anderson said he wants to help veterans within Utah County as much as possible, whether or not they are experiencing PTSD. He announced, with the help of Judge Lynn Davis of the Fourth District Court, that there will be a Veteran’s Court in Utah County come next year.

“I’m not a politician,” Davis said. “But frankly, on a national level, I’ve been disturbed at the neglect and oversight of our veterans to say the least.”
read more here

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Another family faced pain of suicide with hope of bill redo

Another family hopeful others will be spared the pain of losing a service member to suicide. How many more families will have to push a member of congress to do something before they do something right? These rules in this bill have already been done and the Joint Vice Chiefs of Staff admitted years ago they do not do post deployment screenings. No one did anything to enforce the bills that were already done so this will be more of the same.
Families touched by military suicide thankful for new federal law
FOX 59
DECEMBER 19, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 19, 2014) – It’s a problem that’s affected far too many of our Hoosier Heroes and their families, but now there’s a new federal law aimed at preventing military suicide.

Sen. Joe Donnelly’s office said they were anticipating President Obama would sign the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act into law by the end of the day. The new law requires annual mental health assessments for our military- including guardsmen and reservists.

Sexton’s parents, from Farmland, joined Donnelly Friday at the Indiana War Memorial to discuss the new law.

A few years ago, Sexton took his own life while home on leave.

“My son’s name on this bill will help other soldiers and that’s very important to me,” said Jacob’s mother, Barb Sexton. “I’m very proud this is going into law and I truly know this will help other families that are dealing with PTSD.”

Gregg Keesling’s family dealt with the same pain- when his son Chance took his own life in Iraq.

“I’m convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt this bill, if it had been in place, my son would be alive today,” said Keesling. “And when you lose a child all you have is hoping the death can help save other people.”
read more here
In 2008 it was another National Guardsman's family getting attention after he committed suicide. Spc. Chris Dana of the Montana National Guards got the attention of then Senator Obama. We had hope back then but as suicides went up, hope left a bitter taste from tears across the country.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Free Legal Consultations for Florida Veterans Fighting VA

Bergmann and Moore Holds Veteran Workshop in Sarasota
Free Legal Consultations for Veterans Fighting VA

Washington, DC – Bergmann and Moore, a law firm focusing on appealed Veterans’ disability claims, scheduled a Veteran workshop for Sarasota on Friday, January 25. Our workshops are free and open to the public. We provide free consultations for Veterans and family members who fighting the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for disability compensation. The Workshop is held in cooperation with Florida Veterans for Common Sense.
Friday, January 25
9 AM to Noon
Disabled American Veterans Post 97
7177 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota

If a Veteran has filed a disability claim against VA and disagrees with VA’s decision, then Veterans are encouraged to attend our free workshop. Veterans are asked to bring their most recent VA decision with them as part of our free consultation. Florida Veterans for Common Sense, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and Sarasota County Veterans Services will be on hand providing services.

Bergmann and Moore, LLC, based in the Washington, DC metro area, concentrates only on Veterans disability benefits law. We handle Veterans’ cases at all levels, including appeals at VA’s Regional Office in St. Petersburg, VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington, DC, and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, also in Washington, DC. For more information, please call (877) 838-2889.

Bergmann and Moore has helped thousands of Veterans and their families obtain the maximum VA benefits they are entitled to receive. Bergmann and Moore offers a free legal consultation concerning VA disability claims for PTSD. We gladly welcome all types of claims, including PTSD, military sexual trauma cases, and unemployability. 2013 (301) 290-3131

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Real people, real families, real burdens come with PTSD

Sgt. Boyle's mom sent the following email out today. She is like too many other family members fighting a battle they should never have to fight so that the service given in honor is actually honored.

What the Boyle family has been going through is being repeated across the nation but we hardly ever hear their stories in newspapers, even less from the 24-7 cable news stations. We hear numbers but numbers never include the families. We hear body counts, but never hear about the actual counts of the casualties of war fallen by their own hand. We never hear about the families after left alone to carry on with their lives paying a price for the war no one ever seems to notice.

We will hear about them when they get into trouble because of PTSD, in other words, because of what they came home with embedded in their soul. We don't hear about how hard they tried to get help, tried to get someone to understand, give them hope, show them the way, open the door or even tell them how to pay their bills when they can no longer work. We don't hear about how many families have fallen apart because no one told them what PTSD is, what to do about it, how to fight this battle laid at their feet because someone they love was willing to lay down his/her life for the sake of this nation doing what few have been willing to do.

Sgt. Boyle is talking about what happened to him for one simple reason. He doesn't want anyone else to go thru what happened to him. The courage he had and still has is fed by compassion. If veterans like him did not put others first, they would not be willing to speak, to share, so that things can change. If they simply suffer in silence, nothing would change for anyone.

Read some of what they have been going thru so the next time you hear another number being released, you are fully aware behind that number, there is a soldier suffering along with an entire family. None of this should happen to any of them.

Below is a Washington Times story on my son and others suffering from combat related PTSD, traumatic brain and other injuries. Fortunately due to the Army's own military records my son was able to easily prove these injuries to the Veterans Affairs Administration and is now collecting combat related disability. However, due to how he was discharged it took several months to get the high rating he did, causing huge stress and added depression, mentally and financially. It's no wonder we have so staggering numbers of suicides and homelessness amongst fomer military service members.

It is still a struggle every day, both mentally and financially but we are all getting through one day at a time. Learning how to be a civilian has been difficult enough for someone like Adam whose whole life and dreams have been the military since his freshman year in high school JROTC. Adam will eventually receive his deserved honorable medical discharge, and all that entails, retroactively with the help of his wonderful attorney who is working pro-bono out of outrage at how our combat veterans are being treated after all thier sacrifices.

PS Ironically Adam was not aware this WT story came out until last night as he did the interview months ago. He thought the story went away; I'm grateful for others like him that it did not.
More sad stories of mistreatment of our service members and veterans, including Chuck Luther who played a valuable role in helping Adam after he was disposed of after combat, including help in connecting him with Jason Perry, along with Carissa Picard.

Military misconduct may be sign of PTSD

Navy doctor gives warning

By Amanda Carpenter

What's being done

One of the soldiers is Special Operations Command Sgt. Adam Boyle.

Sgt. Boyle was thrown out of the Army because of a "pattern of misconduct," even though he had been diagnosed with PTSD. As a combat veteran who served two tours in Iraq, Sgt. Boyle began experiencing intense pangs of guilt and anger and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder at a stress clinic in Iraq.

"I was always in the field before then," he recalled. "I did everything you can imagine from patrols to raids to capturing enemy POWs, interrogations, reconnaissance by fire. Everything you can imagine that put me in harm's way, and I was OK with it."

The bad feelings began to set in after two of his buddies were killed, one of them newly married with a child. "Those deaths haunted me, the idea of their families back home without them," he said.

After his diagnosis, Sgt. Boyle was sent to North Carolina's Fort Bragg, an assignment he resented because he thought he should be fighting the war. At Fort Bragg, he was given heavy antidepressants and sleeping aids that he said caused him to oversleep and miss formation on several occasions, a major transgression in the military.

He wanted to return to Iraq to fight, but the medications barred him from more deployments and he became miserable and agitated. Sgt. Boyle went on to spar with commanding officers who, he said, were unaware of his combat experience. He drank heavily, couldn't control his rage and ended up in trouble with the law.

He reached the tipping point when he experienced a flashback while supervising a session at the firing range at Fort Bragg.

"I was supposed to be keeping an eye on [the soldiers], keep them safe and doing the right thing," Sgt. Boyle recalled. "At one point, I went into a flashback into a firefight, and I was in Iraq. And during that flashback, I zoned out and forgot what I was doing.

"I snapped out of it and realized I missed the whole firing sequence, and it scared the hell out of me. I can't operate as a soldier if I can't concentrate on a firing range like that. That helped me realize I had to get out."

At that point, in consultation with his psychiatrist, Sgt. Boyle began seeking a medical discharge based on his PTSD. But the process was slow; he was allotted only one hour per month with his psychiatrist to plan proceedings and receive counseling for his existing problems.

Some of those problems were documented in a domestic violence complaint filed by a former girlfriend who said Sgt. Boyle assaulted her, although she never brought charges.

"His command has been contacted numerous times by myself and friends trying to get Adam's behavior under control," she said in the complaint. "I would like to see him get serious help and be removed from anyone else he could cause harm to."
read more here
Military misconduct may be sign of PTSD

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reviving a Greek tragedy the wrong way

One day I had an argument with an older veteran uninterested in hearing about the reality of PTSD. He grew more and more defensive then told me, "Kid, you don't know what you're talking about. I can track my family back to the Civil War." Aside from being called a kid when I was well over 40 and had been helping veterans with PTSD for a good many years, I politely pointed out, "I can track my family back to the Trojan war." Then I asked him, "What's your point?" With this, he walked away. He was still in denial about PTSD but more, he was in denial it was already in him.

He was an angry man because that was all he allowed himself to feel. Given the fact the vast majority of veterans I've talked to over the years along with their families, most of the veterans with PTSD were compassionate people, always caring about others, always loving, forgiving and most were very religious. The pain trapped all that was part of them and allowed only anger to be seen by others. It's a defense against feeling pain added onto them. It's also one of the biggest reasons they drink or use drugs. They want to feel nothing.

This Greek tragedy is one more case of the military missing the point. It is a lesson that will do much good for the mental health providers but not the veterans themselves. They already live with what the providers need to learn.

The Anguish of War for Today’s Soldiers, Explored by Sophocles

Published: November 11, 2009
The ancient Greeks had a shorthand for the mental anguish of war, for post-traumatic stress disorder and even for outbursts of fratricidal bloodshed like last week’s shootings at Fort Hood. They would invoke the names of mythological military heroes who battled inner demons: Achilles, consumed by the deaths of his men; Philoctetes, hollowed out from betrayals by fellow officers; Ajax, warped with so much rage that he wanted to kill his comrades.

Now officials at the Defense Department are turning to the Greeks to explore the psychic impact of war.

The Pentagon has provided $3.7 million for an independent production company, Theater of War, to visit 50 military sites through at least next summer and stage readings from two plays by Sophocles, “Ajax” and “Philoctetes,” for service members. So far the group has performed at Fort Riley in Kansas; at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Md.; and at last week’s Warrior Resilience Conference in Norfolk, Va.
read more here

The biggest tragedy is that they live with all of it and no ancient Greek text will give them comfort or remove the stigma when the message they are getting is the same as usual.

PTSD is only caused by trauma. It is not their fault. When they understand this, the stigma is reduced.
PTSD is caused by an outside force striking the emotions where all their compassion lives on. This is why they hurt.
PTSD is not about lack of courage because compassion will only produce tears without courage to act for the sake of someone else. The ability to care is behind the courage they need to take action in the first place. The ability to be willing to lay down their lives is fueled by their courage.

There is so much they need to hear and they will not hear it unless someone starts to tell them.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fort Hood suicidal soldiers slipped through the cracks

This is what I've been talking about. There have not been enough people to take care of the need at Fort Hood or any other base. There are not enough deployed with the troops either and if Major Hasan is any indication of the kind of care some have been getting, the problem is a lot worse than many would ever suspect.

This is what I've been hearing when I get the emails flying in from frantic family members not knowing what to do. This is what I've been hearing when I get the phone calls from veterans who were never properly taken care of. What I tell them is not rocket science. It's what they need to hear. What I hear from them has had me terrified for years and it's getting worse. People like me are not paid attention to because we have no money, no clout, no advertising budgets and as for all the organization springing up as charities, most of them I can't get a straight answer out of what they have in place to take care of the need. They say they have people there for the soldiers and veterans to talk to but they can't answer how experienced these listeners are, what they know, how they were trained and they can't tell me if any of these helpers are even monitored. Wanting to help is one thing but are they actually helping or hurting?

If they think they have a problem at Fort Hood they need a lot more help with, they are not even close and frankly I'm sickened by being proven right so often while they are paying the price for how much others keep getting wrong. We need an immediate influx of trained trauma responders today, not when the military decides they can find later. We need them out in the communities to help the National Guards and we need them to be trained on PTSD as well as trauma and not just mental illness in general. PTSD comes only after trauma so it is absurd to have doctors not fully trained on trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

If they are like Hasan, then you'll need a calculator to figure out where this is going because you'll have to factor in the normal rate of PTSD, one out of three, multiply that by 50% for each redeployment and then factor in the scale of PTSD ranging from mild to full blown but then you'll also have to factor in the family members living with untreated PTSD because they'll end up with secondary PTSD from all the turmoil in the house. Wonder if they are thinking of any of this especially when the troops at Fort Hood have just had their last sanctuary attacked leaving them with no safe place in their mind.

Soldiers' mental health comes under scrutiny
Ft. Hood has had 10 soldier suicides this year, the second-highest of any Army post. Families of troops who have committed suicide say troubled soldiers are slipping through the cracks.

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske

November 10, 2009 1:30 p.m.

Sgt. Justin "Jon" Garza joined the Army eight years ago at age 20. When he arrived at Ft. Hood in June, the communications specialist had deployed six times to Europe and the Middle East, including two bloody stints in Iraq, and was due to return in September. He had broken up with his girlfriend, developed a drinking problem and gone AWOL.

While he was AWOL, Garza threatened to kill himself with a shotgun. Military personnel took him to Ft. Hood's Darnall Army Medical Center.

Psychiatrists there diagnosed him with an adjustment disorder and depression and sent him home with his best friend, a fellow soldier. He was put on a Monday-through-Friday suicide watch. Eleven days later, on July 11 -- a Saturday -- Garza was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

It was the eighth anniversary of his enlistment.

"I've been a wreck and in pain for a long time. I could not take it anymore," Garza wrote in a suicide note left for his mother. "I was never good at opening up and letting things out, so things just festered and got worse."

With the shooting rampage at Ft. Hood last week drawing attention to the mental state of America's troops, the families of soldiers who have returned from combat with significant mental health issues believe the public may be ready to listen to their stories.

"My son slipped through the cracks," said Garza's mother, Teri Smith, 52.

Army records show that 117 active-duty soldiers have committed suicide so far this year, including 10 at Ft. Hood, the second-highest number of any Army base (Ft. Campbell in Kentucky had 14 soldier suicides). Ft. Hood has had 76 soldier suicides since 2003, according to Army records, but it is also the largest base in the country, home to about 50,000 soldiers.

Two weeks after Garza's death, Ft. Hood's commander, Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, told Congress that he needed more mental health staff.

"That's the biggest frustration," Lynch told a House subcommittee. "I'm short about 44 [personnel] of what I am convinced I need at Fort Hood that I just don't have."
read more here
Soldiers mental health comes under scrutiny

Monday, June 22, 2009


To top all of this off, she has no clue what she is quoting to congress.,,,This is part of her testimony to congress and in on the AEI website.....Satel was talking about not granting full disability to a young veteran because it would discourage him from healing and going back to work.

This is a good place to mention remission rates of PTSD. According to the National Vietnam Veterans' Readjustment Study (NVVRS, 1988) fifty percent of those who develop the diagnosis of PTSD will recover fully over time. A recent re-analysis of the NVVRS, (Science, vol. 313 18 August 2006) found the lifetime rate of PTSD to be 18.7 percent vs. point prevalence (current) of 9.1 percent. Notably, those with a lifetime history of PTSD but not current PTSD exhibited virtually no lingering functional impairment at the time of assessment. Thus, to grant total disability compensation in light of a fifty percent chance of total remission (and a much higher chance of achieving partial or near-total remission) makes little sense.

Yet read this. Either she out and out lied to congress about this report or she had no clue what it meant.

This is from the National Center for PTSD

Epidemiological Facts about PTSD
What causes Posttraumatic Stress Disorder? How common is it? Who gets it?
These questions are asked by epidemiologists, and two major epidemiological studies have produced some answers.

Several studies have been conducted in the history of the US to examine how prevalent PTSD is in the general population or in special populations. The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Survey (NVVRS), conducted between November 1986 and February 1988, comprised interviews of 3,016 American veterans selected to provide a representative sample of those who served in the armed forces during the Vietnam era. The National Comorbidity Survey (NCS), conducted between September 1990 and February 1992, comprised interviews of a representative national sample of 8,098 Americans aged 15 to 54 years. The most recent National Comorbidity Survey Report, published in 2005 on a newer sample, estimated lifetime prevalence of PTSD among adult Americans at 6.8%.

The earlier NCS data set estimated prevalence of lifetime PTSD to be 7.8% in the general adult population, with women (10.4%) twice as likely as men (5%) to have PTSD at some point in their lives. This represents a small portion of those who have experienced at least one traumatic event; 60.7% of men and 51.2% of women reported at least one traumatic event. The most frequently experienced traumas were:

Witnessing someone being badly injured or killed
Being involved in a fire, flood, or natural disaster
Being involved in a life-threatening accident
Combat exposure
The majority of the people in the NCS experienced two or more types of trauma. More than 10% of men and 6% of women reported four or more types of trauma during their lifetimes.

The traumatic events most often associated with PTSD in men were rape, combat exposure, childhood neglect, and childhood physical abuse. For women, the most common events were rape, sexual molestation, physical attack, being threatened with a weapon, and childhood physical abuse.

However, none of these events invariably produced PTSD in those exposed to it, and a particular type of traumatic event did not necessarily affect different sectors of the population in the same way.

The NCS report concluded that "PTSD is a highly prevalent lifetime disorder that often persists for years. The qualifying events for PTSD are also common, with many respondents reporting the occurrence of quite a few such events during their lifetimes."

The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Survey (NVVRS)
The NVVRS report provided the following information about Vietnam War veterans:

The estimated lifetime prevalence of PTSD among American Vietnam theater veterans is 30.9% for men and 26.9% for women. An additional 22.5% of men and 21.2% of women have had partial PTSD at some point in their lives. Thus, more than half of all male Vietnam veterans and almost half of all female Vietnam veterans -about 1,700,000 Vietnam veterans in all- have experienced "clinically serious stress reaction symptoms."

15.2% of all male Vietnam theater veterans (479,000 out of 3,140,000 men who served in Vietnam) and 8.1% of all female Vietnam theater veterans (610 out of 7,200 women who served in Vietnam) are currently diagnosed with PTSD ("Currently" means 1986-88 when the survey was conducted).

Other problems of Vietnam veterans
Forty percent of Vietnam theater veteran men have been divorced at least once (10% had two or more divorces), 14.1% report high levels of marital problems, and 23.1% have high levels of parenting problems.

Almost half of all male Vietnam theater veterans currently suffering from PTSD had been arrested or in jail at least once -34.2% more than once- and 11.5% had been convicted of a felony.

The estimated lifetime prevalence of alcohol abuse or dependence among male theater veterans is 39.2%, and the estimate for current alcohol abuse or dependence is 11.2%. The estimated lifetime prevalence of drug abuse or dependence among male theater veterans is 5.7%, and the estimate for current drug abuse or dependence is 1.8%.

Because the NVVRS sample size underrepresented members of certain ethnic minorities, the Matsunaga Vietnam Veterans Project undertook further epidemiological research among Native American, Asian American, and Pacific Islander veterans. These findings are summarized in two separate National Center for PTSD fact sheets.

This Fact Sheet Was Based On:
Richard A. Kulka et al., Trauma and the Vietnam War Generation: Report of Findings from the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1990; ISBN 0-87630-573-7)

Ronald C. Kessler et al., Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey Archives of General Psychiatry, 52(12), 1048-1060 (December 1995)

This piece is right to the point. Sally Satel has been an abomination. She has assaulted veterans from coast to coast with her insults and accusations, claiming PTSD is fake, even though police officers carry this wound as well. I would hate to be her if she gets pulled over for a DWI or speeding ticket and finds herself face to face with a cop on the beat she insulted when he was coming back from Iraq. Her refusal to acknowledge these remarkable men and women, our troops and our veterans, along with this wound they have carried within them, accusing them of looking for a free ride, after they were willing to die so that people like her could shoot their mouths off, is nothing less than treason to every man and woman that has laid down their lives for this nation.

What is worse is that she was held up as an expert on PTSD at the same time the troops and veterans were killing themselves instead of seeking help for PTSD. As an advisor and expert, she is responsible for what all of her advice lead to. People like her did more damage to our veterans than any enemy bullet ever could.

Op-Ed Contributor
For Some, the War Won't End

By Sally Satel
Published: March 1, 2006

ACCORDING to a report from its inspector general, the Department of Veterans Affairs is now paying compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder to nearly twice as many veterans as it did just six years ago, at an annual cost of $4.3 billion. What's more surprising is that the flood of recent applicants does not, for the most part, consist of young soldiers just returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Rather they are Vietnam veterans in their 50's and 60's who claim to be psychologically crippled now by their service of decades ago.

This leads to an obvious question: Can it really take up to 40 years after a trauma before someone realizes he can no longer cope with the demands of civilian life? The answer: possibly, but it is often hard to know which applicants can be helped with short-term psychiatric care, which are seeking a free ride and which are truly deserving of the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and thus long-term care and payments of up to $2,300 a month for life. The task before the Veterans Affairs Department is to come up with criteria.

Medically speaking, there is some evidence to support what psychiatrists call "reactivated" post-traumatic stress disorder. The literature is dotted with cases of veterans of World War I, World War II and the Korean War who, after briefly showing signs of stress disorders in the immediate aftermath of their ordeals, led productive lives for decades before breaking down in their 60's and 70's. Little is known about the treatment of reactivated symptoms, but there is reason to be optimistic that patients will recover nicely in view of their having functioned well for so long.

But it's also very likely that some of the veteran baby boomers who have filed claims in recent years did so not out of medical need but out of a desire for financial security in their retirement years. Indeed, 40 percent of last year's claimants had been out of the military for 35 to 49 years.

Is Satel suggesting that a Vietnam veteran returned, worked all these years and is so greedy they are willing to subject themselves to being called "crazy" by their friends? Does she understand the stigma still attached to this? It's because they are finally finding out what has been "wrong" with them all these years. I'm still contacted by Vietnam veterans just now hearing the term PTSD! It's not that they are finally deciding to show up at the VA to secure their old age. They already did that by working! There is no excuse for this from someone who worked for the VA.

Are there frauds? Yes. Some of their stories have been on this blog, but considering how low the percentage is, that is not the problem here. We have more veterans, as a matter of fact, half of the men and women with PTSD seek help, which means, half of them do not. Doesn't Satel get this?

Apparently not. While she is a psychiatrist, what was her training in? Is she among the ranking real experts on PTSD? The ones I trust, like Dr. Jonathan Shay? Or did the Bush Administration just need someone to slam the troops and the veterans? I've been asking that question for years wondering why it is that the experts I read never seemed to have been the people showing up to testify before Congress. Maybe this question has just been answered.
Posted on June 21, 2009 by gordonduff



With the Keith Roberts hearing coming up, perhaps we should look at the mechanism that gave the government the ability to destroy veterans files, even imprison veterans who filed appeals, such as Keith Roberts.

Giving full aid and comfort to the enemies of America's veterans is the American Legion and VFW, two groups that stand, side by side with the Republican politicans and the conservative think tanks that work to eliminate veterans benefits and GI Bill enhancement.


"Conservative" means "saving money" and "keeping soldiers as slaves onto death." Whether we are talking John McCain or Burr or Graham or two dozen others, these patriotic heroes have done nothing over the years but receive continual support from our favorite veterans groups for gutting military and veterans benefits.

With a series of "think tanks" selling pseudo science, most of them got their feet wet with decades of "smoking and lung cancer denial," or similar idiocy, the American Enterprise Institute stands out as the lead in the war against American heroes.

Even more maniacal and radical than the Heritiage Foundation, private "rubber stamp" for the schemes of Amway/Blackwater, Coors extremism and Richard Mellon Scaife, private funder for the failed Clinton impeachment, the AEI focuses on destroying veterans.

Their primary tool is a Doctor Sally Satel. Satel is an "odd duck" who believes that secret groups of extremist veterans, when not busy trying to overthrow the government or tap her telephone, plot to destroy the American economy by faking symptoms of PTSD after experiencing combat.

The Bush 2005 attempt to stop all payments to veterans receiving disability for PTSD was based on her politically inspired writing.

Standing against Satel, Bush and then VA director Nicholson was Senator Barak Obama, now president and under continual attack from, not only conservative groups, but clandestinely by mainstream veterans organizations.

Satel claims that the price for treating PTSD will go over $4 billion dollars and this will bankrupt the United States
go here for more

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Police Officer charged with beating Iraq War Vet

Walter Harvin ended up beaten while trying to get into his own apartment building. He ended up homeless after this and already had PTSD. When will police officers ever understand what PTSD is?

Officer Charged With Assault of Man He Arrested
New York Times - United States

Published: February 11, 2009
Last July, Police Officer David London arrested a man in the Upper West Side building where he lived with his mother, charging him with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

But the building’s surveillance video told a different story, District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau said Wednesday.

It showed Officer London pulling the man out of an elevator Mr. Morgenthau said, and beating him 18 to 20 times with a baton. The beating continued even after the man, Walter Harvin, fell to the ground, Mr. Morgenthau said. And even after Mr. Harvin was in handcuffs, Officer London delivered another eight to 10 blows, some with his feet, Mr. Morgenthau said.

Officer London, 43, has been indicted on charges of assault and filing false records and pleaded not guilty Wednesday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. He was released without bail. If convicted he faces up to seven years in prison.

The confrontation took place on July 28, 2008, when Mr. Harvin, 29, an Iraq war veteran, was trying to get into his apartment building, a public housing project, at 93rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Mr. Morgenthau said. Officer London stopped him and asked for his identification. Mr. Harvin did not have any, nor did he have his key to the building, Mr. Morgenthau said, and he got into a shoving match with Officer London.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

VA doctors tell Mullen that vets need mental health screenings

VA doctors tell Mullen that vets need mental health screenings
Too many troops are returning from war zones with undiagnosed psychological problems, the physicians tell the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during his visit to the VA hospital in West L.A.
By Peter Spiegel, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 21, 2008
Senior physicians with the veterans health system in Los Angeles told the top U.S. military officer Saturday that the Pentagon needs to overhaul the way it discharges troops because hundreds are leaving the armed forces with undiagnosed combat-related mental health problems.

Several of the physicians, including the system's chief of staff and its top psychiatrist, advocated mandatory mental health screenings for all service members who retire after serving in war zones.

The doctors said that because of the stigma attached to combat stress disorders, few troops acknowledge or seek help for psychological problems while in the military, meaning most remain undiagnosed until they run into family or work problems in the civilian world. Combat stress disorders become more difficult to treat the longer they remain undiagnosed.

"We need to make it a gradual discharge process with milestones, whether it's six months or a year, whatever it takes," said Dr. Robert Rubin, chief of mental health at the Veterans Administration healthcare system for Greater Los Angeles. "The stigma goes away if they have no choice but to go for the exams."
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

PTSD I Grieve Video featured on Fire Fighter Veteran Site

PTSD I Grieve Video featured on Fire Fighter Veteran Site

A special message to members of the Armed Forces who are firefighters police or e.m.s. front line persons who have served as active duty members on callout to America in her time of need. When you return to the front lines of your community and your civilian calling it can be with the woundings of the war you have been engaged in. The war to find the peace you need is one you can overcome if you listen to this message which was developed by N.A.F.F.V.N. and senior Chaplain Kathie Costos of the International Fellowship of Chaplains out of Florida. Her contact number is area code 407-754-7526.

A military veteran once expressed that "their are no non believers in the trenches". I would encourage anybody who serves on the front lines of Americas communities to view this video but especially those who leave to fulfill a National Guard, Reserve or other temporary military posting and who must return to America and finish the transition back to the jobs they left behind. Click on to the link below. Shannon Pennington ptsd firefighterveteran

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dealing with the psychological aftermath of floods

Stephanie Salter: Dealing with the psychological aftermath of rising waters

By Stephanie Salter
The Tribune-Star

The woman behind the desk was uncharacteristically tight and terse. If I didn’t know her, if I were some stranger who’d just come into her workplace for services, I might think, “Geez, what’s with her? Would it kill her to smile?”

But I do know the woman, so I asked a question that’s fairly common around these parts just now: “Did you get any flooding?”

Her shoulders sagged and she nodded. Then, in a rush, she began to describe the extent of the damage to her home and all her family’s possessions. As she recounted the scary evacuation the family had to make — one minute life was normal, the next minute water was rushing into her house — her eyes filled with tears.

I’m no psychologist, but I was pretty sure I recognized the signs of post-traumatic stress. I also realized that this woman’s experience was one of thousands in the Wabash Valley and south-central Indiana.

As the physical signs of the great flood of June 2008 begin to fade, so will the consciousness of those of us who were fortunate enough to only read and hear about it. The flood’s victims, however, may look like everyone else on the outside, but inside they will be coping for months with its disorienting destruction.

And that struggle just might make them crabby, spaced out, fearful or weird to the uneducated eye.

If only the Red Cross could hand out survivor buttons that say, “Bear with me — I was flooded.” Until then, Michael Urban, a clinical psychologist in Terre Haute, has kindly provided some of the common reactions people have to traumatic or deeply disturbing occurrences like the area’s recent devastating flood.

Urban also emphasized that, while coping skills and healing time vary among individuals, anything the rest of us can do to stay aware of (and sympathetic to) the tough place many of our neighbors will be in for some time can only help.

“Most of these folks will be managing their job and the rest of their life in addition to the aftermath of the flood,” he said. “You know, we often overlook it, but everybody had a life prior to this, and that life doesn’t stop.”
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Thursday, January 31, 2008

When will they notice us falling into darkness?

When will they notice us falling into darkness?
Army suicides up as much as 20 percent
By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer 31 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - As many as 121 Army soldiers committed suicide in 2007, a jump of some 20 percent over the year before, officials said Thursday.

The rise comes despite numerous efforts to improve the mental health of a force stressed by a longer-than-expected war in Iraq and the most deadly year yet in the now six-year-old conflict in Afghanistan.

Internal briefing papers prepared by the Army's psychiatry consultant early this month show there were 89 confirmed suicides last year and 32 deaths that are suspected suicides and still under investigation.

More than a quarter of those — about 34 — happened during deployments in Iraq, an increase from 27 in Iraq the previous year, according to the preliminary figures.

The report also shows an increase in the number of attempted suicides and self-injuries — some 2,100 in 2007 compared to less than 1,500 the previous year and less than 500 in 2002.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Senator Akaka to DOD, nice try but not good enough

Akaka raps military on assessing injuries
The Associated PressPosted : Saturday Jan 26, 2008 14:10:01 EST

HONOLULU — Sen. Daniel Akaka says the military isn’t doing a good job of assessing the health problems of National Guard and Reserve troops suffering “invisible wounds” from service in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Akaka says the Veterans Affairs Committee he chairs hopes to work to ensure that returning troops with either physical or mental problems get the care they need.
Akaka was responding to a Government Accountability Office report on Pentagon post-deployment health assessments of National Guard and Reserve servicemembers.
He pointed to the report’s finding that fewer than half the returning troops examined for either physical or mental health concerns are referred to VA facilities.