Showing posts with label redeployment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label redeployment. Show all posts

Friday, July 29, 2016

Veterans Court Helping Veteran Stay Alive

A report out of Michigan on Veterans Courts covers the issue of redeployments and the increased burden veterans carry on their shoulders.
Bringing the war home

Suicide has killed more American veterans than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Veterans often return from combat tours accustomed to violence and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, Eling said. A soldier serving multiple combat tours has become more common than it was in previous generations, increasing the risk of mental illness.
Reminder on this part. The Army did a study back in 2006 on redeployments and found they increased the risk of PTSD by 50%. They did it anyway.
U.S. soldiers serving repeated Iraq deployments are 50 percent more likely than those with one tour to suffer from acute combat stress, raising their risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Army's first survey exploring how today's multiple war-zone rotations affect soldiers' mental health.
The findings reflect the fact that some soldiers -- many of whom are now spending only about a year at home between deployments -- are returning to battle while still suffering from the psychological scars of earlier combat tours, the report said.

How a high-risk combat veteran is overcoming suicide attempts via special court
By Malachi Barrett
July 28, 2016

MUSKEGON, MI — When Dana Harvey talks about his experience with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, his warm tone becomes heavy and listless.

His voice drops deeper and sometimes trails off toward the end of a sentence. There is more weight to his words; each is carefully chosen and seems to sit next to him in the room.

Harvey joined the U.S. Navy at 19 because he wanted to do something that would let him hold his head up high. After he got out, the disabled veteran's experiences in war led to the lowest point of his life.

"I had become real depressed and was drinking a lot and kept having nightmares, like war dreams and night shakes," he said. "I had a little bit of survivor's guilt, they tell me. I guess that's true. I ended up attempting suicide. Actually I attempted it a few times. Six times."

The Battle Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center taught Harvey techniques to deal with his depression, but he didn't stop medicating with alcohol. For the majority of his adult life, he drank to sleep, to stop thinking and cope with trauma.

In the summer of 2014, it caught up with him. Harvey blacked out and became unresponsive while taking care of his daughter Gwendalynn. He was charged with fourth degree child abuse, a misdemeanor charge that could mean up to one year in jail.
read more here

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Suicide Prevention Sorely Lacking Military Intellligence

Considering the government has been spending billions a year on "prevention" they really need to ask for their money back.

More servicemen and women die by suicide than in combat,,,,still.
From Senator Joe Donnelly on Military Suicides Using an updated method of tracking suicides, DoD also announced in the new military suicide report that 475 servicemembers took their lives in 2013. This total is slightly lower than the 479 total DoD had previously reported. While the total number of servicemembers who took their lives declined from 522 in 2012 to 475 in 2013, there was an increase in the number of National Guard and Reserve Members who committed suicide last year. The 134 National Guard Members who took their own lives is a record high, up from 130 in 2012. Last year, 86 Reserve Members committed suicide compared to 72 in 2012.
The DOD and psychiatrists talk about pre-existing mental health issues but never seems to manage to explain how their psychological testing in the beginning could have missed it in so many cases.
"Roughly 18 out of every 100,000 Army soldiers commit suicide every year, while many more attempt or consider killing themselves. A new study on the rise in suicides found that 1 in 10 soldiers could be diagnosed for an anger impulse control disorder. Jeffrey Brown talked to Dr. Ronald Kessler of Harvard Medical School about how pre-existing mental illness may make soldiers more vulnerable."
After all, if the mental health issue was that big of factor in suicides, shouldn't they have noticed before investing so much time and training recruits they also armed? How is it no one is asking them to explain that?

The DOD says most of the suicides were not tied to deployments. What they don't explain is if their "prevention" programs were not even sufficient to prevent suicides in non-deployed, how did they expect the training to work on those deployed multiple times? How is it no one is asking them that either?

They say the majority of the suicides can be tied to relationship problems but never seem to mention what PTSD can do to a relationship.

They say financial issues are a part of the problem but never explain how it is they were willing to work 24-7 for less pay than they could get flipping burgers. (Add up the hours and how much they make and you'll understand)

Now the latest is that suicides are down from last year but yet again, they don't seem willing to explain the simple fact that there are also less serving.
2012 1,393,948
2013 1,372,336
2014 1,347,187

The ugly truth is if they explain it, then they'd have to actually admit what they have been doing to prevent them sorely lacked military intelligence!

Friday, July 18, 2014

This is a great example of why the media is no longer trusted

This is a great example of why the media is no longer trusted.

A prank caller somehow got himself onto MSNBC on Thursday, where he cursed at host Krystal Ball during a discussion of the Malaysian Airlines plane crash.

Video disabled
No one bothered to find out if this caller was for real or not. They are in such a rush that they don't seem interested in investigating anything and even less time researching what we expect them to know.

Gregg Zoroya of USA Today wrote this yesterday,
One of the first comprehensive efforts to explain record suicides among soldiers during and after their deployments in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan finds an indirect link between deployment, combat and self-destructive urges, according to a paper published Thursday.
It didn't seem to bother him that it was already reported in March of 2014
Study shows infantry soldiers more susceptible to suicide
Rates tripled from 2004 to 2012
Clifford Davis
Posted: May 9, 2014

For most soldiers, their suicide risk is low before their first deployment, the study found.

During deployment, that risk spikes and then comes back down after the soldiers return home, though it is never as low as the pre-deployment level, Schoenbaum said.
Among current service members the suicide rate is remaining steady but historically high while the number of veterans killing themselves represent one of every four suicides in Florida.

It didn't seem to matter that the Department of Defense had already confirmed what most veterans knew in 2008. DoD Confirms Role Combat Plays in Suicide Epidemic and it also stated this.
Army researchers have come together with the National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs to increase the nation's awareness and understanding in suicide prevention, Dr. Philip S. Wang, director of the Division of Services and Intervention Research at the National Institute of Mental Health, said.

The five-year partnership is the largest research initiative on suicide ever conducted in the civilian and military sectors, Wang added.

"The National Institute of Mental Health is honored and committed to working with the Army to understand the urgency, to identify risks and prevention factors, to develop new and better intervention," he said. "The knowledge will not only extend to soldiers and their families, but to the civilian population as well."

Along the same lines Report: DoD does not know if PTSD programs work on Army Times in 2012.
In 2009, Dr. Manion was hired by Spectrum Healthcare Resources and Nitelines Kuhana JV LLC, two healthcare contractors, to provide psychiatric treatment to members of the military who recently returned from combat duty. Many patients suffered from PTSD or TBI.

According to the suit, Dr. Manion believed that he was "under constant pressure from his superiors to rate patients as acceptable for deployment…even in circumstances where patients were diagnosed as posing a violent threat to themselves or others or were dangerous for combat deployment due to the presence of a significant mental illness."

As for the news report of how the DOD and the VA don't know if their programs work or not, again, flashback to what was reported in 2008.
APNewsBreak: Report: Pentagon doesn't evaluate its 200-plus programs on PTSD, brain injuries
Associated Press
First Posted: November 14, 2011

DENVER — A study commissioned by the Pentagon says the military has more than 200 programs devoted to brain Injuries and the psychological Health of its troops, but no uniform way to evaluate whether they work or to share their findings.

The Rand Corp. study says some programs duplicate others and that the Pentagon risks making a poor investment of its resources without better coordination.

All of us know that none of the problems with the VA are new but reporters pretend they are as if they are in competition to get the scoop instead of getting it right. Instead of informing the public on how bad the truth really is, they want us to get angry for today and just forget about it.

As with the prank phone call going into MSNBC, I am not sure which bothers me the most. The fact someone thought the deaths of hundreds of people was of such low importance he would pull a prank call or the fact that MSNBC actually allowed it to happen. Both should make us sick. It is the same way with reporting on the suicides and ignoring what we already knew.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Next headline declares we have done far too little for them

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 14, 2014

We can pretend that our ignorance is of no importance but in the process of our watching reality TV shows and using Netflix to catch up on our favorite shows, graves have been filled all across this country while they wait for us to catch up on what has been happening to them. They wait for someone to actually do something before the next headline declares we have done far too little for them.

The Associated Press reported this in May of 2007
Deployments strain troops' mental health 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.

A recent investigation by the Government Accountability Office found that just 22 percent of U.S. troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who showed signs of PTSD were being referred by Pentagon health care providers for mental health evaluation, citing inconsistent and subjective standards in determining when treatment was needed.

The four-page summary of findings, which will be incorporated in a final report to Defense Secretary Robert Gates in June, comes amid renewed attention on troop and veterans care following recent disclosures of shoddy outpatient treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

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.
Each time back increased the risk of PTSD by 50%. They knew what redeployments would do but did not let that simple fact stop them from sending troops back over and over again. The worst part was no one thought to make sure the VA was ready for any of them should they survive long enough to become veterans. The suicides within the military were already increasing.

By August the reports got worse. The Associated Press reported that military suicides were at a 26 years record high. The number was 99 as of the end of 2006. The same month, General Richard Cody, Vice Chief of Staff for the US Army traveled to Fort Hood and told the the Killeen Daily Herald "We have a new system in place where every commander and soldier is having classes on traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder, so they can recognize the symptoms and be treated properly," he said. "We want to alert everyone in what to look for so we can assist the soldiers and their families."

That "alert" was followed by Sgt. Erik Botta of Florida asking the Federal Court to block his 5th deployment even though he was already declared medically unfit and was waiting to be discharged. This happened while others wanted to stay in and get treated for what combat did to them were being discharged under "personality disorders" leaving them with no help at all. They were simply disposable. The Christian Science Monitor reported on these discharges.
Treating the trauma of war – fairly
The new diagnostic label sends the message: This suffering is your fault, not a result of the war. On one level, it's hard not to see this as another example of the government falling short on its care for Iraq war veterans. Yet there's another, more insidious, bit of sophistry at work.

The implication is that a healthy person would be resistant to the psychological pressures of war. Someone who succumbs to the flashbacks, panic, and anger that haunt many former soldiers must have something inherently wrong with him. It's the psychological side of warrior macho: If you're tough, you can take it. Of course, we know this is not true. Wars forever change the lives of those who fight them and can leave deep scars.

While all this was going on, USA Today reported on the extra burden for National Guards and Reservists.
Despite signs that the war in Iraq is taking a toll on National Guard troops' mental health, members are no more likely than active-duty soldiers to develop post-traumatic stress, psychologists reported over the weekend.

But financial problems are creating emotional pain. Deployment-linked money trouble raises the odds sixfold that a National Guard soldier will have mental-health problems after leaving Iraq, studies from a team at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research suggest. The researchers spoke at the American Psychological Association conference here.

More than 400,000 National Guard troops have served in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a congressional report.

The military broke them then tossed them.
Pfc. Ryan LeCompte, an Army scout, has been diagnosed by military and private doctors with post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury after serving two tours in Iraq with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.

He came home with a wounded mind and a broken body.

Now senior officers want to get rid of him.

The 27-year-old Lakota warrior from Lower Brule, S.D., was a standout soldier, earning accolades for working “tirelessly, without complaint, despite the long hours and harsh conditions he faced,” according to a December 2003 award recommendation.

He participated in more than 160 combat missions.

We can pretend that none of this happened. We can pretend that the government made sure all was ready for the willing and all they had to do was seek help. We can pretend it is all the fault of the VA but then we'd have to determine who was responsible first.

Was it the appointee of President Obama? President Bush's three appointees? After all he was the president when two wars were started. Why didn't he make sure everything was ready for the wounded? Then you'd have to ask why President Clinton, President Bush Sr. after President Reagan established the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Act of 1988 (Pub.L. 100–527) changed the former Veterans Administration, an independent government agency established in 1930, primarily at that time to see to needs of World War I, into a Cabinet-level Department of Veterans Affairs. It was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on October 25, 1988, but actually came into effect under the term of his successor, George H. W. Bush, on March 15, 1989.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Truth on Military Suicides Ignored

The Truth on Military Suicides Ignored
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 14, 2014

While reporters seem to be fixated on the report about military suicides up to 2009, they ignore the facts. Why? It is easier to just repeat what they are told. Shouldn't this topic merit serious investigations? If they are focused on the report up to 2009, shouldn't they actually know what happened? How is it that the 24/7 "news" stations cover everything else but them?

CNN did a good job on covering families and the toll on them with Uncounted yet it seems CNN is more focused on stories from other countries than the troops and veterans. Occasionally MSNBC and FOX have spent a little bit of their precious time covering suicides connected to military service, but usually only when the topic has drawn mass attention online.

The Associated Press reported that suicides were at a 26 year high. The report said that suicides and attempted suicides were increasing while troops were deployed. The shocker is, this report didn't come out this year, or last year. The report came out in 2007 and was talking about troops deployed into Iraq. (Army Suicides Highest in 26 Years By PAULINE JELINEK Associated Press Writer, August 15, 2007)

The Associated Press seemed to have forgotten what they reported in May of 2007 with, "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." (Deployments strain troops' mental health, Pentagon panel warns overburdened system could fail to meet needs, Associated Press, Updated: 7:34 p.m. ET May 4, 2007)

This report was followed by this one in 2008, "In both age groups, the attempted suicides grew at a rate much faster than the VA patient population as a whole.
In addition, this VA study, also obtained exclusively by CBS News, reveals the increasing number of veterans who recently received VA services ... and still succeeded in committing suicide: rising from 1,403 suicides in 2001 to 1,784 in 2005 - figures the VA has never made public." Yet Veterans for Common Sense had to file a lawsuit to get the VA to release data they had been trying to hide, "high-ranking officials that said an average of 18 military veterans kill themselves each day—and five of them are under VA care when they commit suicide. Another e-mail said 1,000 veterans under VA care attempt suicide each month."

Notice how the report said "under VA care" but this came out when most veterans were not in the VA system?
"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." but even that report wasn't new because the Army released this study in 2006.

No matter what was happening to the troops and veterans, this was overlooked,"Despite the Army's repeated emphasis on expanding psychological services to soldiers, the ratio of mental health providers to soldiers in Iraq dropped to one provider for every 734 troops in 2007 — down from one for every 387 in 2004."

In 2009, Army Vice Chief Of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli said, that 2008 statistics show 30 percent of suicide victims this year were deployed, 35 percent had recently redeployed and 35 percent had no deployment experience at all."

So what happened when the DOD suddenly changed their tune saying deployments had little to do with suicides? Why didn't they actually remind folks that while the number of suicides had gone down from 2012 to 2013, so did the number of enlisted? Other than the reduction in enlisted personnel, there were also bad conduct discharges.
The number of enlisted soldiers forced out for drugs, alcohol, crimes and other misconduct shot up from about 5,600 in 2007, as the Iraq war peaked, to more than 11,000 last year.

"The number of Marines who left after court-martial has dropped from more than 1,300 in 2007 to about 250 last year."

"The number of officers separated from service since 2000 due to a court-martial ranged from a low of 20 in 2001 to a high of 68 in 2007. For enlisted airmen, the number ranged from a high of nearly 4,500 in 2002 to a low of almost 2,900 in 2013

The Navy went through a similar process. When the decision was made to cut the size of the 370,000-strong naval force in 2004, the number of sailors who left due to misconduct and other behavior issues grew. In 2006, more than 8,400 sailors left due to conduct issues.

The last Suicide Event Report released by the DOD was in 2012 for 2011. After that we do not know how many attempted suicide or had multiple attempts. We do not know what happened this year other than the few releases the DOD allows to be made public.
Pentagon data provided to Military Times show 296 suicides among active-duty troops and reserve or National Guard members on active duty in 2013, down 15.7 percent from the 2012 total of 351.

Coming off a record-setting year in 2012, the Navy had the biggest drop, nearly 22 percent, from 59 to 46 sailor deaths. The Army also saw a large decline, down nearly 19 percent from 185 suicides in 2012 to 150 last year.

The Air Force and Marine Corps both had near-record years in 2012; in 2013 they also experienced declines, with 55 airmen dying by suicide in 2013, down from 59 in 2012, and 45 Marines committing suicide in 2013, down from 48 the year before.

So why are so many still committing suicide? Reporters forgot what history has already taught. Just because the truth is out there, if they don't look, they won't find it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"60 Minutes" provided wrong information on Combat PTSD

"60 Minutes" provided wrong information on Combat PTSD
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 14, 2014

When we depend on reporters to get it right we assume they understand enough about the topic they are covering to be able to ask the proper questions. Unfortunately, most of the time they lack a basic understanding and have not taken the time to do any research. This happened again with a "60 Minutes" report from November.

I received a link to a video on exposure therapy for combat veterans. It is a powerful report but not because of the reporter. Pelley didn't know the basic questions to ask.

The power comes from these veterans talking about what they have been going through.
CBS 60 Minutes Nov 24, 2013

60 Minutes gets a rare look inside new therapy sessions that are changing the lives of vets who suffer from PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. Scott Pelley reports.

If Pelley understood anything on "Redeployment" at 30 seconds into the report he would have asked why the military continued to redeploy even after the Army acknowledge redeployments increase the risk of PTSD by 50% for each redeployment in 2006.
"U.S. soldiers serving repeated Iraq deployments are 50 percent more likely than those with one tour to suffer from acute combat stress, raising their risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Army's first survey exploring how today's multiple war-zone rotations affect soldiers' mental health.

More than 650,000 soldiers have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 -- including more than 170,000 now in the Army who have served multiple tours -- so the survey's finding of increased risk from repeated exposure to combat has potentially widespread implications for the all-volunteer force. Earlier Army studies have shown that up to 30 percent of troops deployed to Iraq suffer from depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with the latter accounting for about 10 percent
(Repeat Iraq Tours Raise Risk of PTSD, Army Finds, Washington Post By Ann Scott Tyson December 20, 2006)
The claim of one out of five have PTSD is also wrong.
About 30 percent of the men and women who have spent time in war zones experience PTSD. An additional 20 to 25 percent have had partial PTSD at some point in their lives. More than half of all male Vietnam veterans and almost half of all female Vietnam veterans have experienced “clinically serious stress reaction symptoms.” PTSD has also been detected among veterans of other wars. Estimates of PTSD from the Gulf War are as high as 10%. Estimates from the war in Afghanistan are between 6 and 11%. Current estimates of PTSD in military personnel who served in Iraq range from 12% to 20%.
(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs)
New treatments designed for rape victims is not "new" for them either.

The British Journal of Psychiatry published this in 2000.
Exposure therapies can also be combined with cognitive processing interventions (e.g. Resick and Schnicke, 1993), stress inoculation and relaxation techniques, and anxiety management training (Rothbaum and Foa, 1996). Both exposure and cognitive restructuring techniques seem to be effective, and are more effective than relaxation alone (Marks et al, 1998). Another form of exposure therapy employs cognitive reprocessing combined with saccadic eye-movements (eye-movement desensitisation and reprocessing, EMDR). Recent studies suggest that this strategy can be effective with combat veterans, and survivors of child abuse and disasters. (Psychological therapies for post-traumatic stress disorder, GWEN ADSHEAD, MRCPsych)
Prolonged exposure, not new and does not work because they are forced to relive all of it over and over again but there is no closure. There is no peace. They are going after the symptoms but not the cause.

Do they really think rape is the same as combat?

There have been reports this "treatment" helps rape survivors and victims of abuse but the two traumas are not the same. Until they treat Combat PTSD differently, we will keep seeing the same results of higher suicides, more homelessness and more suffering when they could be healing.
Three types of trauma were classified: combat- related, rape or assault-related, and a category reflecting a mix of various trauma or another trauma. Across the 59 trials that reported trauma type, 51% involved combat-related trauma only, 19% rape or assault-related trauma only, and 30% a mix of trauma or other trauma. Within each treatment condition (for conditions with three or more trials), mean effect sizes did not significantly differ across trauma types, ps 4 0.1.

Until the cause of PTSD is treated differently, we will keep seeing the same deadly results. Until reporters learn enough to know what questions to ask, we will keep repeating the same mistakes.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Raised concerns about mental health did little to stop redeployment from Lewis-McChord

Mental health surveys divert few soldiers from deployment
The News Tribune
Published: June 29, 2013

A small fraction of soldiers deploying out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord during the peak of the Iraq War were removed from combat missions because their answers on last-minute screenings raised concerns about their mental health, according to data obtained by The News Tribune.

Just 250 out of more than 72,000 pre-deployment health surveys reviewed at Madigan Army Medical Center between 2006 and 2010 led to soldiers being taken off combat tours after they revealed signs of ailments such as post-traumatic stress disorder or head injuries. That’s less than 0.4 percent of the surveys that were completed.

The numbers appear small, but they come from a group of soldiers who had been considered healthy and ready to deploy when they took the surveys in the months before they were scheduled to leave the country.

“These are the people who have already drawn their gear and are on the ramp,” said Madigan Commander Col. Dallas Homas.

The data shed new light on one of the safety valves military officials put in place after it became clear they would be sending soldiers in an all-volunteer Army on multiple combat tours, continually exposing the same troops to insurgent bombs in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Army-supported studies since 2007 have shown that repeated deployments increase the probability soldiers will experience PTSD.
read more here

Same reminder on this one.

Military suicides: an unspoken tragedy

Military suicides: an unspoken tragedy
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Franklin served in the Navy during the Korean Conflict and in the Air Force during Vietnam. He lives in Bedford County.
When Marine Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer put a pistol to his head and pulled the trigger, the gun misfired. Had he died that night sitting in his pickup in Kentucky, his death would have been added to the growing number of active duty military personnel who have committed suicide.

Since 2001, more than 2,700 have taken their lives. In 2012 alone, the Army reported 168 suicides; the Navy, 53; the Air Force, 56; and the Marines, 46.

While researchers list financial problems, substance abuse and spousal breakups as causes for this upsurge, in reality they are only manifestations. Most agree the real cause boils down to repeated deployment. Many have pulled three and four tours in Iraq or Afghanistan. After being in a “survival mode” for a year, it takes time to come down, and when they finally do, they find themselves again on deployment, and the cycle begins all over again.

Self-inflicted wounds prior to battle have always plagued military commanders. Since 2001, however, military men and women have taken their lives after they return home because they cannot reintegrate. Kim Ruocco, head of Tragedy Assistance for Survivors, said, “We should expect our troops to need psychological care after all we’ve asked of them.” Ruocco’s husband, a Marine Corps Major, hanged himself between Iraq deployments in early 2005. (“Grim Record: Soldier Suicides Reach new High,” Time magazine, Aug. 16, 2012.)

If re-integration is difficult for men, it is doubly so for our women soldiers. In the minority, they often feel alone. Where a man can always find a fellow soldier with whom he can relate, women find it more difficult. Too, they have issues unknown to men.
read more here
If you think he is wrong on redeployments, here is a good reminder

They did it anyway. Now they say that most of the suicides were not connected to deployment. They never seem to manage to bring up the other causes of trauma like sexual assaults (male and female) abuse of all kinds and training with bombs blowing up.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

New Generation of Vets with Post Traumatic Stress

We are seeing frightening numbers coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan compared to Vietnam. The suicide and attempted suicide numbers went up too fast but that should not be a shocker to anyone paying attention since the Army study in 2006 said that redeployments increased the risk but they did it anyway.

CIA: A New Generation of Vets with Post Traumatic Stress
By Jon K. Brent
May 22, 2013

Monterey, Calif. - A new generation of Americans, bout 2.4 million, who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan are now coming home, thousands to the central coast. Estimates are showing 20 to 30 percent of those are being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. This is the first in a three part Center For Investigative action series on what these young soldiers are facing as they come home and how it will impact the central coast.

Former Combat Photographer Efren Lopez shares his experience documenting war on a camera, "Watching these soldiers die in front of you as I'm documenting as they're treating them at the medical facility there..the smell is still there, you hear what they're saying and that's the part that they tell you not to talk about..because that's where the symptoms of PTSD come." Lopez saw and felt it all in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in so doing, the trauma of it all is implanted in his mind's eye as well.

Vietnam Veteran and retired County Veterans Service Officer Tom Griffin has been in psychology and counseling for 30 years, "the very definition of post traumatic stress is that you've been pushed through your personal boundaries without your permission or control."

A Pew research study of nearly 2000 vets, showed a third had a traumatic military related experience, the number swells to half for post 9/11 vets studied.
read more here

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act

This is based on what is in Donnelly's heart but he is wrong. It may have the opposite results. He mentioned that most do not express their feelings before committing suicide. Why? Why don't they talk about it? Because they feel they cannot or it really won't matter if they do. With all these years of "training" to prevent suicide, don't you think it is time they change what they have been doing?

This is my comment.
"Fit to serve" will prevent them from admitting they need help. I know it sounds good but you have to remember some of these men and women cheat on tests so they can stay in. They do not want to leave where they always wanted to be. Remember, they wanted to join and most never thought of doing anything else. They need to know why they have PTSD and understand it is not their fault. They are not weak but have strong ability to care. The DOD and VA have to undo damage done first.
Donnely mentioned that many of them had not been deployed but did not discuss the fact that training is very traumatic and they hear about the amputations along with deaths from IED. If those who served in combat do not feel comfortable talking, how do they expect those who have not been deployed to talk? They got the message that if they trained right, their brains would be tough enough. In other words that message translated into if they have problems, it is their fault and they are mentally weak. If they thought this "training" would encourage communication, it prevented it instead.
Donnelly Introduces First Bill: The Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention
Apr 25, 2013

This morning, Sen. Donnelly introduced his first bill, the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2013. This bill would establish a pilot program in each of the military services and reserve components to integrate annual mental health assessments into a servicemember's Periodic Health Assessment and identify risk factors for mental illness so that servicemembers can access preventative care. It is named after a member of the Indiana National Guard, Jacob Sexton, who tragically took his own life in 2009 while home on a 15-day leave from Afghanistan. Sen. Donnelly's hope is that we can help men and women like Jacob who are struggling with mental health issues and get them the help they need before they resort to taking their own life.

Read THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR and learn what I am talking about.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Canada messing up troops as much as the US is

Vancouver Sun Online seems to have been very busy lately on PTSD. It is good way to take a look at what Canada is dealing with as well as the US. They are doing the same things we are including making a huge mistake on this first video.

They have up a video on Virtual Reality. In other words a computer game not unlike what most of these young men and women have been playing with for years. It is designed to simulate combat, which would be fine for mission training, but lousy at "preventing" PTSD and "defeating the enemy from within."

These are among the claims you will hear in this video.
Helps them "get over it" is not a good thing to say. This also claims "the program is also intended to prevent trauma" which is another big mistake. Topped off with "virtual taste of the terrors that await them and learn the ways to cope." It gives them a "sense of purpose and pride in the mission." said Dr. Buckwalter. It "tempers the body chemistry as they head into the mission."

Pure BS! If I had a PhD after my name I could say that if they dropped and did twenty pushups after they saw a buddy blown up it wouldn't bother them so much because exercise releases more endorphins!

Living with PTSD -- nine tours of duty
Apr 13, 2013
Jamie and Cyndi Teather -- both veterans of numerous tours of duty. Jamie served in five tours -- everywhere from Croatia and Bosnia to Afghanistan. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, but fears sounding like a whiner. Soldiers just don't do that. However, he is "broken," says Cyndi. She says they can live together happily as long as one of them is medicated.

Living with PTSD -- a wife misses her husband
Apr 13, 2013
Nicola Thom misses her husband. He isn't the same man she married. A soldier who served 22 years in the military and saw seven tours of duty, he came home changed after the last two tours. However, "I tell him we'll find a new normal," she says.

K9 Bravo
Apr 13, 2013
Richard Yuill, with his dog Halo, was diagnosed with PTSD after serving in Bosnia in 2000. He's part of the K9 Bravo program started by Hope Heels, a non-profit group established to help people with mental health issues. Video by Rick MacWilliam,
Pte. Ted Patrick
Apr 13, 2013
Now 91, Ottawa-born and raised Pte. Ted Patrick was a signalman (radio operator) in the Irish Regiment of Canada. He served in Italy, Belgium and Holland during the war. Like many who served in the slow advance through Italy, he has terrible memories of being shelled by German mortars. In fact, he has lived with PTSD for much of his life.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Army Ranger died after 6 tours at the age of 26

There are so many stories out there the general public never knows unless they happen in their own hometowns. Staff Sgt. Ryan Coyer passed away a year ago at the age of 26 and after 6 tours of duty. Think about that for a second and then think about all the others going through that many deployments. Then think about the others doing even more tours in our name.
Family grieves for soldier who died after six tours of duty
By Elizabeth Chuck
Staff Writer
NBC News
March 12, 2013

At 26, Staff Sgt. Ryan Coyer already had a lifetime of accomplishments: four tours to Afghanistan, two tours to Iraq, and being named a member of the elite U.S. Army Rangers.

On Monday, the eve of the one-year anniversary of Coyer’s death, his family gathered at his graveside to commemorate that lifetime of accomplishments, unexpectedly cut short when Coyer died of cardiac arrest.

"The kid could do anything he wanted as long as he put his mind to it," Anthony Coyer, Ryan’s father, told Michigan’s last year of his son, who was born in Nashville but grew up in Saginaw, Mich., playing football and frequently landing on the honor roll. "He wouldn't admit that."

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
Lesleigh Coyer, 25, of Saginaw, Michigan, lies down in front of the grave of her brother, Ryan Coyer, who served with the U.S. Army in both Iraq and Afghanistan, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on March 11, 2013. Coyer died one year ago.

read more here

Friday, November 9, 2012

Maj. Gen. Rice: 'We're all in this together'

Maj. Gen. Rice: 'We're all in this together'
November 8, 2012
Michel Cronin
Recognizing the needs of our servicemen and women, the University of Massachusetts medical school, the Massachusetts National Guard and the Mass. Department of Veterans Services are joining forces to help in suicide prevention among National Guard members.

It’s a new partnership aimed at protecting military personnel when they return home from combat.

“All of us. Our whole community is involved in this. We're all in this together,” says Maj. Gen. Scott Rice.

UMass medical school will be training Massachusetts National Guard members in suicide prevention.

Massachusetts secretary of veterans' services Coleman Nee says it's a big step because military suicides rates are on the rise.

“Well essentially it's because we've deployed people back and forth to combat, multiple combat zone for over 11 years now and that takes a stress that takes a toll.”

Nee says, when soldiers return, they can feel isolated because they don't have people who can relate to their experiences.
for more and video go here

Monday, March 26, 2012

Combat PTSD: Understanding the menace of memories

Understanding should have started with the reporter getting some real numbers.

Combat PTSD: Understanding the menace of memories

Sunday, March 25, 2012 - Tango of Mind and Emotion
by Jacqueline Marshall
WASHINGTON, March 25, 2012 - The more combat situations a soldier experiences, the greater is his or her chance of acquiring post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Many of us consider that to be stating the obvious, but there are statistics that make the obvious concrete.

A study assessing the incidence of PTSD in troops leaving Iraq found that soldiers not involved in fighting had a PTSD incidence rate of 4.5%. For those in intense combat once or twice, the incidence rate more than doubled to 9.3%. The number is 13% for troops in three to five combat situations. More than five exposures and the occurrence rate of PTSD shoots up to 20%.

The study’s “silver lining” is that after five or more combat experiences, 80% of the troops studied did not report symptoms of PTSD. Still, the number of troops with them is significant. The Military Health System reported 39,365 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2007 were given a diagnosis of PTSD.
read more here

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Military is no closer to understanding how many deployments are too many

Military is no closer to understanding how many deployments are too many. Why?

Because they didn't care about what they knew back then!

Researchers wrestle with how many deployments are too many
By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY

After nearly 11 years of war and hundreds of millions of dollars in research on the mental health of troops, the military is no closer to understanding how many deployments are too many for individual soldiers, researchers say.

Military leaders have said the nation has never fought wars this long with this small of a military, deploying troops over and over. Yet questions about how many times a soldier can recycle into combat without psychological harm remain unanswered, reseachers say.

"I think it's definitely disappointing that we don't know. I wish we did," says retired Navy Capt. William Nash, a psychiatrist studying resiliency in Marine battalions.
read more here

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Troops stressed to breaking point because of redeployments

Troops stressed to breaking point
Report cites sustained combat, redeployments
By Rowan Scarborough-The Washington Times Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A recent Army health report draws an alarming profile of a fighting force more prone to inexcusable violence amid an “epidemic” of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the mental breakdown attracting speculation as a factor in a massacre of Afghan civilians this month.

Based on an exhaustive study of nearly 500,000 soldiers, reservists and veterans, the report finds that troops are more likely to commit suicide and violent sex offenses, and notes that as many as 236,000 suffered from PTSD since the beginning of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

For military analysts, the reason is the nightmarish experience of sustained combat: Soldiers have been fighting the longest war in U.S. history, with frequent stressful deployments and compressed rest time back home.

“The real issue here, which I’ve been tracking for a long time, is 10 years of combat,” said military analyst Robert Maginnis, a retired Army officer.

“I see these kids who have been in combat year after year after year. It is taking a real toll, not only medical, but being able to sort out their lives. What this kid caved to I think could be an epidemic. It is really long term what we are doing to a generation of volunteers.”
read more here

Monday, March 19, 2012

At Home, Asking How ‘Our Bobby’ Became War Crime Suspect

At Home, Asking How ‘Our Bobby’ Became War Crime Suspect

Published: March 18, 2012

He was not the star, just a well-regarded young man who seemed to try to do the right thing.

That was Robert Bales, “our Bobby,” friends said. He was a busy, popular kid, but he made time for the autistic man down the block. Other neighborhood boys admired him. As a high school linebacker, he was good enough to be captain, but also gracious enough to help a more talented player take over his starting position. It was good for the team, he said.

That solid-guy reputation followed him into the Army infantry. He joined at the relatively seasoned age of 27, just a few weeks after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and became respected for his maturity and calm, including in battle. “He was a damn good leader and a damn good soldier,” said Zachary Parsons, who served with Staff Sergeant Bales in Iraq in 2007.

So when many of his old neighbors from Norwood, Ohio, and former battalion mates from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State heard the news that Sergeant Bales had been accused of coldbloodedly shooting to death 16 Afghan civilians on March 11, nine of them children, they were not simply shocked. They grieved.

Michelle Caddell, 48, who knew Sergeant Bales when he was growing up, watched a video clip of the news over and over and over again, mesmerized by disbelief. “I wanted to see, maybe, a different face,” she said, fighting back tears. “Because that’s not our Bobby. Something horrible, horrible had to happen to him.”

Friends, relatives and his lawyer say they have an idea of what that horrible thing was: war.

Three deployments in Iraq, where he saw heavy fighting, and a fourth in Afghanistan, where he went reluctantly, left him struggling financially, in danger of losing his home.
read more here

Bales' military town knows stress of multiple tours

Bales' military town knows stress of multiple tours
By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY

No one here knows what might have happened to Staff Sgt. Robert Bales in Afghanistan, but most in this military town do know about the stress of multiple tours in war zones.

"I hear that in World War II they only did 11-month tours of duty and then they rotated out," says Fred LaMotte, 63, who teaches soldiers at Central Texas College.

"That's nothing compared to what these people are doing. Four tours of duty. That erodes the soul. For most soldiers, it's just too much," he says. "Imagine coming home from Iraq and hardly being able to breathe for a few months and then you're sent back?"
read more here

Monday, March 12, 2012

Afghanistan civilian shootings linked to Fort Lewis-McChord

Afghanistan shootings are latest trouble linked to Lewis-McChord
By Kim Murphy and Christi Parsons
March 12, 2012, 10:34 a.m.
Reporting from Seattle and Washington, D.C.—

The staff sergeant who turned himself in after the recent shooting deaths of 16 Afghan civilians was based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a sprawling suburban Army facility south of Tacoma, Wash. It's the biggest military base on the West Coast — and one of the most troubled in the Army.

Lewis-McChord, a major staging area for troops going to and from Iraq and Afghanistan, has been plagued over the last two years by a wave of suicides, killings and domestic violence. It was also the scene of the high-profile courts martial of a “kill team” of soldiers on charges of murdering Afghan civilians in Kandahar province for sport.

A U.S. official told the Los Angeles Times that the serviceman now in custody in the latest shootings is a 38-year-old father of two who has spent 11 years in the Army.

He is a veteran of three tours of duty in Iraq and was on his first deployment to Afghanistan, serving as security for special forces in the Kandahar region.

“The individual was augmenting [special operations forces] personnel and his primary responsibility was force protection at the combat outpost," a senior defense official said.

read more here

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Soldiers just back from Iraq get new orders: Afghanistan

Soldiers just back from Iraq get new orders: Afghanistan
By Chelsea J. Carter, CNN
Wed December 21, 2011

Some soldiers just back from Iraq are heading to Afghanistan, the military says
The deployments are part of an overall U.S. exit strategy from Afghanistan
Lots of details are unknown, one brigade tells its soldiers
Family members of those soldiers just back from Iraq have mixed feelings

Atlanta (CNN) -- Soldiers who just returned from Iraq are among several thousand being ordered to Afghanistan in six months as part of a mission designed to beef up Afghan forces ahead of a planned 2014 U.S. military withdrawal, officials said.

News of the pending Afghanistan deployments came as families at bases across the country were celebrating the return in recent days of troops who turned off the lights at a number of U.S. bases ahead of an end-of-the-year deadline to leave Iraq.
read more here

3-year-old stunned by Dad's surprise
Morning Express|Added on December 21, 2011
U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Heckelsberg returns home from deployment and surprises his daughter at daycare.