Showing posts sorted by relevance for query comprehensive soldier fitness. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query comprehensive soldier fitness. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Where do homeless veterans come from?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 3, 2015

Patricia Driscoll, president of the Armed Forces Foundation and CEO of Frontline Defense Systems, wrote "Put veterans back in their homes" January 2, 2015 on the Courier Journal. It was this part of the article that made me gag.
"One major sample released by the American Psychological Association estimates that two-thirds of homeless Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from PTSD."

Two thirds of OEF-OIF homeless veterans have PTSD. That means they didn't get the help they needed when they got out of the military. It also means they didn't get what they needed while in the military either.
3. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
4. a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight.

My epiphany came in 2009 when I read about Comprehensive Soldier Fitness repeating the same failed attempts Battlemind tried to do. Comprehensive Soldier Fitness will make it worse May 29, 2009
"If you promote this program the way Battlemind was promoted, count on the numbers of suicides and attempted suicides to go up instead of down. It's just one more deadly mistake after another and just as dangerous as sending them into Iraq without the armor needed to protect them."
Comprehensive Soldier Fitness was designed as a research project but the military bought into it and pushed it without even knowing if it would work or not. When it failed, they continued to push it no matter how deadly the results were.

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, American Psychologist Martin E. P. Seligman, PhD, and Michael D. Matthews and was approved by the American Psychological Association.

Dark Side of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness
Mandatory "resilience training" program for all U.S. soldiers raises concerns.
by Roy Eidelson, Ph.D. in Dangerous Ideas
Published on March 25, 2011

Why is the world's largest organization of psychologists so aggressively promoting a new, massive, and untested military program? The APA's enthusiasm for mandatory "resilience training" for all U.S. soldiers is troubling on many counts.

The January 2011 issue of the American Psychologist, the American Psychological Association's (APA) flagship journal, is devoted entirely to 13 articles that detail and celebrate the virtues of a new U.S. Army-APA collaboration.

Built around positive psychology and with key contributions from former APA president Martin Seligman and his colleagues, Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) is a $125 million resilience training initiative designed to reduce and prevent the adverse psychological consequences of combat for our soldiers and veterans.

While these are undoubtedly worthy aspirations, the special issue is nevertheless troubling in several important respects: the authors of the articles, all of whom are involved in the CSF program, offer very little discussion of conceptual and ethical considerations; the special issue does not provide a forum for any independent critical or cautionary voices whatsoever; and through this format, the APA itself has adopted a jingoistic cheerleading stance toward a research project about which many crucial questions should be posed. We discuss these and related concerns below.

So where did it begin? Where did homeless veterans come from? Why did they end up on the streets after surviving combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why didn't the families have what they needed to still stand by their sides after the stress of deployments ended and they were back home?

The logo for Comprehensive Soldier Fitness seems to have all the answers. After all, it has strong bodies and minds, spiritual strength and family support, so it all sounds so good.  They planned on us not paying attention.  They planned on us being too busy with reality TV shows to notice what the reality was for them.  They depended on us to let them just go on doing whatever they wanted to do.

Above all this crap, they actually felt sure no reporter would dare ask the questions that needed to be asked and answered.

They didn't count on the reporters with the Dallas Morning News and NBC out of Texas not only asking questions, but getting the answers.

About this series
“Injured Heroes, Broken Promises,” a joint investigative project between The Dallas Morning News and NBC5 (KXAS-TV), examines allegations of harassment and mistreatment in the U.S.’ Warrior Transition Units, which were created to serve soldiers with physical and psychological wounds. Reporters David Tarrant, Scott Friedman and Eva Parks based their findings on dozens of interviews with soldiers, Army officials and medical experts, and hundreds of pages of military documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
Related Stories
Part 1: Wounded soldiers allege mistreatment in the Army’s Warrior Transition Units
Complaints about wounded warriors’ treatment pile upBenn sought to help, but PTSD hindered him
Editorial: Wounded warriors deserve better
Army orders new training for Warrior Transition Units
More from NBC 5
NBC 5 takes a closer look at Warrior Transition Units
Hundreds of soldiers allege mistreatment at Army Warrior Transition Units
Injured soldiers question training of WTU leaders

This is what Comprehensive Soldier Fitness did. It made them think they were weak and that is why they were suffering. When the DOD failed to reduce suicides, they came up with excuse after excuse. When they came home, the message had been delivered and their fate was sealed.

Families had nothing to fight for them with.

The VA has failed, but it began to fail when troops were first sent into Afghanistan in 2001 and they already had a backlog of claims from older veterans.

The DOD failed but they began to send soldiers out with the wrong idea already drilled into their brains.

Reporters failed when they ignored the cries for help. Other than printing heartbreaking stories after suicide, they didn't bother to find out why suicides went up after everyone was doing more.

Congress failed when they didn't bother to find out what they got wrong in other bills they wrote, passed and funded before they rinsed and repeated them.

Above all, we failed because we just didn't care enough to save their lives. So what do we do now there are even more home after combat in Afghanistan?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

They were told CSF would make them mentally strong

They were told CSF would make them mentally strong
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 19, 2013

White House Defense
2011 actual1 1,425,113
2012 est.1 1,422,600
2013 est.1 1,401,000

National Guards and Reserves
2011 est 847,934
2012 est 847,100
2013 est 837,400

How did suicides go up when the number of troops went down?

This all sounds fine until you discover what the result has been but for now, this started in 2009.
Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Flashcards
what are the five dimension of CSF


What is Comprehensive Soldier Fitness?A structured, long term assessment and development program to build the resilience and enhance the performance of every Soldier, Family member and DA civilian.

5 Pillars of CSFGAT
Performance Enhancement
Vision of CSFA Total Army team of physically healthy and psychologically strong Soldiers, Families and Civilians whose resilience and total fitness enables them to thrive in both the military and civilian sector and to meet a wide range of operational demands

Mission of CSFExecute Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program in order to increase the physical and psychological health, resilience and enhanced performance of Soldiers, Families and Army Civilians.

They were told if they trained right, it would prevent PTSD.

Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) is designed to build resilience and enhance performance of the Army Family -- Soldiers, their Families, and Army Civilians. CSF2 does this by providing hands-on training and self-development tools so that members of the Army Family are better able to cope with adversity, perform better in stressful situations, and thrive in life.

25 MAR 2013

SUBJECT: Army Directive 2013-07 (Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Program) 1. By this directive, I formally establish the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) program as a key component of the Army's Ready and Resilient Campaign . The CSF2 program will play a crucial role in developing a Total Army team of physically healthy and psychologically strong Soldiers, their Families and Department of the Army Civilians whose resilience and total fitness enable them to meet the Army's mission. This directive and the accompanying enclosures provide the governing policy and procedures for the CSF2 program.

2. The CSF2 program's mission is to improve the physical and psychological health and resilience of Soldiers, their Families and Department of the Army Civilians, and to enhance their performance by providing self-assessment and training capabilities al.igned to five key functional areas-known as the "Five Dimensions of Strength." These "Five Dimensions of Strength" are:

a. Physical. Performing and excelling in physical activities that require aerobic fitness, endurance, strength, healthy body composition and flexibility derived through exercise, nutrition and training.

b. Emotional. Approaching life's challenges in a positive, optimistic way by demonstrating self-control, stamina and good character with one's choices and actions. c. Social. Developing and maintaining trusted, valued relationships and friendships that are personally fulfilling and foster good communication, including the ability to comfortably exchange ideas, views and experiences.

d. Spiritual. Understanding one's purpose, core values, beliefs, identity and life vision. These elements enable a person to build inner strength, make meaning of experiences, behave ethically, persevere through challenges and be resilient when faced with adversity. Participation in the spiritual dimension of the CSF2 program is strictly voluntary.

e. Family. Being part of a family unit that is safe, supportive and loving, and that provides the resources needed for all members to live in a healthy and secure environment.

CSF Fails the Test and you can read how real research was not done before it was pushed on the troops. The results were more suicides and attempted suicides and the stigma was fed a steady diet of "blame yourself" for what happened because you were trained to be "resilient" and strong.

They were already strong, mentally and physically but when they were told they had been trained but ended up with PTSD anyway, it was their fault. May God have mercy on their souls. It is too late to say sorry to all the lives lost because of what this did to them.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Defending resilience training while suicides went up unnonscionable conduct

How many times have you read about the DOD spending $140 million on teaching resilience? I know I've read that countless times over the last couple of years and reports seem to be just fine and dandy with that amount of money. They seem to have no problem believing that it was money well spent even though the number of suicides has gone up, even though the number of programs to prevent suicides has hit over 900. Even though they have been doing all of this funding and ducking since 2007.

Things like this from 2010
$33.8 billion for ACS accounts for efforts affecting our entire Air Force—from the development and training of our Airmen to regaining acquisition excellence. Airmen and Families. The Air Force is proud of its commitment to supporting its Airmen and families. The nearly two decades of sustained combat operations has imposed extraordinary demands on them and underscores the need to remain focused on sustaining quality of life and supporting programs as a top priority. To help address the demands, in 2010 the Air Force executed the Year of the Air Force Family and highlighted support programs focused on three outcomes: Fostering a Strong Air Force Community; Strengthening an Airman's Sense of Belonging; and Improving Airman and Family Resiliency. Includes $37 million to reduce the likelihood of a repeated Fort Hood tragedy, $8 million in Resiliency Training and $1.5 million for Chaplain Recruitment for 2012 (Air Force, General Norton Schwartz, February 17, 2011
and this
$1.7 Billion Provides $1.7 billion to fund vital Soldier and Family programs to provide a full range of essential services to include the Army Campaign for Heath Promotion, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention; Sexual Harassment/Assault Expanded Survivor Outreach Services to over 26,000 Family members, providing unified support and advocacy, and enhancing survivor benefits for the Families of our Soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. ★ Graduated more than 3,000 Soldiers and Civilians from the Master Resilience Trainer course. ★ Surpassed one million Soldiers, Civilians and Family members who have completed the Army’s Global Assessment Tool to begin their personal assessment and resilience training. (Reported in 2011 for 2012 by the Army) $3 Billion for Resilience from the Marine Corps/Navy incorporated in the distribution report for war ships.
and this
The $125-million Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program requires soldiers to undergo the kind of mental pre-deployment tests and training that they have always had to undergo physically. Already, more than 1.1 million have had the mental assessments.
But reporters don't seem interested in the fact that the above is a just a taste of what has been going on an is public record. Each year the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force give a posture statement to Congress about what they have accomplished with the money they received as well as what they need and what they plan on doing with it.

We stopped talking about $125 million a long time ago and I've collected data on hundreds of billions, not millions spent on the notion people can be trained to be resilient even though many experts have said it is basically hogwash. Other than that, all you have to do is look at the results. Higher suicides, higher attempted suicides, higher calls to suicide prevention hotline and the rest of the bad that comes with telling these men and women that combat is nothing you can't overcome if you train right.


Army Program Aims to Build Troops' Mental Resilience to Stress
Dec. 14, 2011

In 2009, the Army launched a program designed to help the country's 1.4 million people in uniform cope after tours in Iraq or Afghanistan. Betty Ann Bowser reports on the goals of the $140 million Comprehensive Soldier Fitness initiative, and the controversy it has created.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Even as U.S. troops leave Iraq this month and, in three years, will depart Afghanistan, the psychological wounds of war will last for some time.

The NewsHour's health correspondent, Betty Ann Bowser, reports on a new Army program to help families and soldiers cope and the questions surrounding it.

BETTY ANN BOWSER: Here at Fort Bragg, N.C., the Army has always trained its soldiers to hit the bulls eye. And it's always taught the importance of staying fit. Now the Army is trying to teach its soldiers new skills to fight a war in unchartered territory in the human mind.

STAFF SGT. GABRIEL PRICE, U.S. Army: Everything begins with a thought. Everybody say that with me. Everything begins with a thought.

CLASS: Everything begins with a thought.

BETTY ANN BOWSER: Staff Sgt. Gabriel Price is a trainer in the largest psychological program in the Army's history. Called Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, it's being given to virtually all 1.1 million people in uniform.

STAFF SGT. GABRIEL PRICE: There are some emotions out there that we don't handle so well.

BETTY ANN BOWSER: The long years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan have produced alarming increases in post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD, depression and suicide.

So the Army is betting 140 million taxpayers' dollars that it can do something about those problems by changing the way soldiers think about bad experiences. But, officially, leaders say there's another reason.

Brigadier Gen. Rhonda Cornum is the senior commanding officer of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness.

BRIG. GEN. RHONDA CORNUM, Comprehensive Soldier Fitness: The real goal of this program is to give everybody in the Army certainly, and to include families and civilians, the opportunity to become as psychologically strong as they can.

The psychological training was developed by psychologist Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania. The Army gave his school a $34 million no-bid contract to develop and run the program.

Seligman is known as the father of positive psychology, which says that people can lead happier lives by learning how to better process negative thoughts. His theories are the basis of the Army program.
BRYANT WELCH: They had schoolchildren, each night, write down three positive things about themselves. And then they noticed in a follow-up study that those children felt better about themselves.

But to go from that to saying that we can have a soldier in a foxhole who says positive things about himself and follows the precepts of this program, is going to watch his buddy blown to smithereens and spend four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and come out feeling better about himself, there is a shallowness to the assessment that, from my vantage point, I find abhorrent.
read more here
As you can see by the results of what happened over the last few years, abhorrent has been proven right. This is also from PBS About 53 percent of those who died by suicide in the military in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, had no history of deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, according (pdf) to the Defense Department. And nearly 85 percent of military members who took their lives had no direct combat history, meaning they may have been deployed but not seen action. (December 2012)

While this is from National Institute of Mental Health
DEPLOYMENT: The suicide rate was highest among those who are currently deployed (18.3 deaths per 100,000) and dropped after deployment (15.9 per 100,000). For the entire TAIHOD dataset (from 2004 through 2008), 23 percent of the soldiers studied were currently deployed, 42 percent had never been deployed and 35 percent had been previously deployed but were not currently deployed. (2011) Last time I checked, 25+35=60% so even this report is wrong because it adds up to 102% but I think they were just rounding off.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mandatory stress tests to begin in October

I saw her interviewed earlier today on CNN. Let's hope she knows what she's talking about. Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum is talking about mind-body-spirit connection so I am a bit hopeful but I've been hopeful before and the suicide rates just kept going up as PTSD kept getting worse.

Mandatory stress tests to begin in October

The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Aug 19, 2009 18:48:52 EDT

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — The Army is preparing to embark on a program testing all active duty, National Guard and Reserve soldiers for how they handle stress.

Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum, head of the Army's comprehensive soldier fitness program, says all soldiers will get some training regardless of their scores on a confidential resiliency exam. The testing will begin in October.
read more here
Mandatory stress tests to begin in October

Photo credit Susanne Kappler, Fort Jackson Leader
Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum, director of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, discusses the program with Gen. George Casey, Army chief of staff, during their visit to Fort Jackson last week.

State of mind: Army to start mental fitness program
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The Army is looking to improve the resiliency of its Soldiers through a new program, which will be launched in October, said Gen. George Casey, Army chief of staff, during a visit to Fort Jackson July 30.

The Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program is designed to strengthen Soldiers emotionally, spiritually and socially, giving them the ability to cope with stress.

Casey emphasized that the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program will be part of a Soldier's training from BCT through War College.

"This will be instituted so that at every level of Army school - officer and noncommissioned officer - there will be a different level of resilience training taught," he said.

Casey said that the demands during war time make it a necessity for the Army to teach its Soldiers adequate coping skills.

"The treadmill that we have been on as an Army for the last eight years ... is such that if we don't give Soldiers these skills, we're going to have increasing challenges," he said.
read more here

Saturday, June 21, 2014

DOD and VA "efforts" made having PTSD worse

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 21, 2014

Military/veteran families and civilian families live in a different worlds. They settle for what the press tells them but we walk around with our eyes bugging out and brows raised so high they almost hit our hair line. My forehead wrinkles get deeper every years but that is just the way it. While we know what we live with the rest of the population think they have just discovered our pain,,,,again. How could they keep forgetting what they read last year or the year before or the year before that? How could they keep forgetting being upset for us over and over again?

The DOD and the VA can't prove if their "efforts" to address PTSD work, but then again, they say they just don't even know. That is the problem. All these years the DOD has been pushing Comprehensive Soldier Fitness. Before that, it was Battlemind. These "efforts" actually make PTSD worse while preventing servicemen and women from seeking help. Why? Because when soldiers are told they can "train their brains to be mentally tough" that translates into "if I have PTSD then I am mentally weak."

It seems that everyone is shocked by the report from Institute of Medicine except veterans and families. None of us are shocked at all. What is shocking is it took them so long to report on what we've been living with all these years.
Bob Brewin
June 20, 2014

The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments spent $9.3 billion to treat post-traumatic stress disorder from 2010 through 2012, but neither knows whether this staggering sum resulted in effective or adequate care, the Institute of Medicine reported today.

DOD spent $789.1 million on PTSD treatment from 2010 through 2012. During that same time period, VA spent $8.5 billion, with $1.7 billion treating 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

DOD lacks a mechanism for the systematic collection, analysis and dissemination of data for assessing the quality of PTSD care, and VA does not track the PTSD treatments a patient receives, other than medications, in its electronic health record, IOM said in the congressionally mandated 301-page report, “Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations: Final Assessment.”

IOM estimated 5 percent of all service members have PTSD. Eight percent of those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with the condition. The number of veterans of all eras who sought care from VA more than doubled from 2003 to 2012 -- from approximately 190,000 veterans (4.3 percent of all VA users) in 2003 to more than a half million veterans (9.2 percent of all VA users) in 2012.

For those treated for PTSD in the VA system in 2012, 23.6 percent (119,500) were veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
read more here
Kathie Costos, posted on Wounded Times and in the book, THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR

If the military had ordered weapons that turned out to be more dangerous for the troops than they were for the enemy, they would have canceled the contracts. In the case of contracts and programs to prevent Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and reduce military suicides, they did not come to the obvious conclusion these programs were more dangerous than doing nothing.

BATTLEMIND was the granddaddy. This program was later called Resilience Training and Comprehensive Soldier Fitness.

This was the claim made in 2009 about Battlemind

“The study found that in Soldiers who had seen extensive combat, Battlemind training resulted in a 14 percent reduction in severity of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

And while 60 percent of Soldiers without the training reported sleep problems, just 30 percent of those who'd had the Battlemind class said they were having trouble sleeping after returning home.

Validation claim
Adler said the study validates the efficacy of the training, which aims to prevent or reduce psychological problems by giving Soldiers detailed information about what to expect, how to deal with problems and assurance that their experiences are both shared and manageable.

"It's not just the events you might be exposed to," she said. "It's also the thoughts you might have, feelings you might helps put the experience in perspective."

Adler did not say whether the study had determined the training's effects on other commonly reported difficulties, such as irritability or depression.

The Battlemind material was developed after years of gathering data about deployments and reintegration. More than 80,000 troops filled out surveys since at least 2003 providing data on the typical effects of combat and the typical problems after coming home.

"What's normal, what you can expect," Adler said.

Battlemind Training was devised by psychologist COL Carl Castro, along with a colleague. It is based on the psychological theory of expectation, said Castro, now director of Medical Research and Materiel Command's Military Operational Medicine Research Program.
"Everyone does better when they know what to expect," Castro said. "So we said, 'What would be useful to know, based on evidence we had already collected?'"

That the study of the training's effectiveness, conducted in 2005 and 2006 on some 2,000 Soldiers in combat brigade teams, showed modest mental-health gains was expected, Castro said.

"It opens up the door," he said, to more psychological-health training throughout an Army career and, eventually, larger mental-health gains.“ (Study Shows Battlemind Training Effective, Nancy Montgomery, Stars and Stripes)

“Every Soldier headed to Iraq and Afghanistan receives “Battlemind” training designed to help him deal with combat experiences, but few know the science behind the program. Dr. Amy Adler, a senior research psychologist with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research's U.S. Army Medical Research Unit Europe visited Patch Barracks here to explain the support and intervention program to an audience of medical, mental health and family support professionals.” (Battlemind Program seeks to help soldiers deal with combat experiences, Susan Huseman, US Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office, January 4, 2008)

A year later, Gregg Zoroya of USA Today interviewed Josh Barber’s widow. Josh drove to Fort Lewis “to kill himself and prove a point.” Kelly Barber went on to say that, “The "smell of death" he experienced in Iraq continued to haunt him, his wife says. He was embittered about the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that crippled him, the Army's failure to treat it, and the strains the disorder put on his marriage.” Barber would have had Battlemind Training, but like most of the men and women committing suicide in the military or because of it, this program was the push into the abyss.

In 2007 Charles Figley, Ph.D, Florida State university professor, “College of Social Work and director of “Traumatology Institute and Psychosocial Stress Research Program” was talking about OEF and OIF troops under combat stress. He said "We need to move from an obsession with PTSD to focus on combat stress, injury prevention, and management."

After addressing his thoughts on changing the term from PTSD to “combat stress injury” Figley went on to add “However, prevention and management must begin early, he said. Troops should acknowledge the likelihood and fact of injury beginning in boot camp. Before they are wounded, troops believe they are invulnerable and even after physical injury, often deny they are hurt. To a soldier, injury, whether physical or psychological, is a source of embarrassment. They have to move from denial to needing to talk about their injuries.” (American Psychiatric News, May 4, 2007) Comprehensive Soldier Fitness has just about the same type of claims.

According to reporters at the time, CSF was $125 million dollar failure, however, that was just the original cost.
The $125-million Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program
requires soldiers to undergo the kind of mental pre-deployment tests and training that they have always had to undergo physically. Already, more than 1.1 million have had the mental assessments. (By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times December 26, 2011)

From Amazon about Warrior MindSet by Dr. Michael Asken, Loren W. Christensen, Dave Grossman and Human Factor Research Group.
January 1, 2010

“Mental toughness is essential for elite human performance and especially in high stress situations. While mental toughness is a singular value in both military and law enforcement training and missions, too often, there is a disconnect between talking about and actually training it. Warrior MindSet defines mental toughness and describes its critical need and function in the face of the performance degrading effects of combat, mission or response stress. Warrior MindSet provides the psychological skills that comprise mental toughness to optimize performance, success, safety and survival in the field.”

Human Factor Research Group Leadership members are Bruce Siddel, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, Dr. Steven Stahle and Mark Glueck. According to their website these are among some of their clients.

United States Department of Army SOTF (Delta Force), Ft. Bragg, NC
United States Department of Army Ranger Training Battalion
United States Department of Army Military Disciplinary Barracks, Ft. Leavenworth, KS
United States Department of Army Survival, Escape, Evasion and Resistance School - John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School
United States Department of Army Ranger Training Battalion, Ft. Benning, GA
United States Department of Navy Redcell, Littlecreek, VA
United States Department of Defense Camp Peary, VA
22nd Regiment, SAS, Minister of Defense Hereford, England

In 2006, the Army documented 2,100 attempted suicides; an average of more than five per day. In comparison, there were 350 attempts in 2002, the year before the war in Iraq began.

The method of choice was a firearm. There is no firm data on Soldiers who had thoughts of suicide. (Suicide Gets Army’s Attention, Army, Debbie Sheehan, Fort Monmouth Public Affairs October 14, 2009)

In 2007, the Army experienced its highest desertion rate since 1980, an 80 percent increase since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. The warning signs of future retention problems are increasingly apparent: suicide, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, divorce, domestic violence, and murder within the force are on the rise. Recent attention has focused on the growing number of suicides, with the Marine Corps experiencing more suicides in 2008 than since the war began and the Army logging its highest monthly total in January 2009 since it began counting in 1980. Not surprisingly, PTSD rates are highest among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who saw extensive combat (28 percent). However, military health care officials are seeing a spectrum of psychological issues, even among those without much combat experience. Various surveys provide a range of estimates, with up to half of returning National Guard and Reservists, 38 percent of Soldiers, and 31 percent of Marines reporting mental health problems. (Mind Fitness, Improving Operational Effectiveness and Building Warrior Resilience, Elizabeth A. Stanley and Amishi P. Jha, Army, October 30, 2009)

Battlemind and Comprehensive Soldier Fitness failed. In 2009 I wrote that if they pushed this program suicides would go up.

In the article
In a speech before the international affairs organization the Atlantic Council on Thursday, U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey laid out the virtues of the newly formed initiative, which he called Comprehensive Soldier Fitness.

"We have been looking very hard at ways to develop coping skills and resilience in soldiers, and we will be coming out in July with a new program called Comprehensive Soldier Fitness," said Casey. "And what we will attempt to do is raise mental fitness to the same level that we now give to physical fitness. Because it is scientifically proven, you can build resilience."

If you need proof CSF failed, here it is.
2008 Army = 140; Air Force = 45; Navy = 41; Marine Corps = 42 total 268
2009 Army = 164; Air Force = 46; Navy = 47; Marine Corps = 52 total 309
2010 Army = 160; Air Force = 59; Navy = 39; Marine Corps = 37 total 295
2011 Army = 167; Air Force = 50; Navy = 52; Marine Corps = 32 total 301
A total of 915 Service Members attempted suicide in 2011 (Air Force = 241, Army = 432, Marine Corps = 156, Navy = 86). DoDSERs were submitted for 935 suicide attempts (Air Force = 251, Army = 440, Marine Corps = 157, Navy = 87). Of the 915 Service Members who attempted suicide, 896 had one attempt, 18 had two attempts, and 1 had three attempts.

2012: Army 185, 93 Army National Guard and 47 Army Reserve, but the reports left out the citizen soldiers when they included 48 Marines, 59 Air Force, 60 Navy, total 492

RAND Corp took a hard look at this program and found that resilience training did not even fit with military culture.

Medal of Honor heroes talked about having PTSD, after this training. Dakota Meyer tried to commit suicide. Special Forces veterans talked about having PTSD after this training and some of them committed suicide. Some were discharged like Sgt. Ben Driftmyer.
Those returning are facing serious combat related mental health issues. According to a study conducted by RAND Corp. last year, one in three combat veterans will return home with PTSD, traumatic brain injury or major depression requiring treatment.

"I had spent eight years serving the military. I never got in trouble. Never did anything bad. And I got treated like I was a piece of crap because of it," said Ben Driftmyer, discharged U.S. Army Sergeant and Cottage Grove resident.

Driftmyer was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder by Eugene doctors after he was chaptered out from the special forces unit in Baghdad. He suffered several mental breakdowns during his service, but his discharge was classified as "other than medical."

"Because the military didn't want to pay for me for the rest of my life," said Driftmyer.

The other factor in all of this are similar to what Driftmyer faced. Bad paper discharges. Here are the numbers from 2013.

Data obtained by The Associated Press show that the number of officers who left the Army due to misconduct more than tripled in the past three years. 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 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.
Air Force
The Air Force, which is smaller than the Navy and Army, reported far fewer cases of airmen leaving for misconduct, both for officers and enlisted service members. 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.
Data for the Marine Corps, the military’s smallest service, were not broken out by officers and enlisted personnel. Overall, it showed that Marines leaving the service due to misconduct was about 4,400 in 2007, but has declined to a bit more than 3,000 last year. Those forced to leave for commission “of a serious offense” has nearly doubled from about 260 to more than 500 in the past seven years. The number of Marines who left after court-martial has dropped from more than 1,300 in 2007 to about 250 last year. The Marine Corps also grew in size during the peak war years, and is reducing its ranks.

Yet in all of this every year the DOD says that most of the suicides were committed by servicemembers with no history of deployments.

This is the most important question of all. If Comprehensive Soldier Fitness didnt' work for the troops without being deployed, how did they expect it to work for the troops being sent into combat over and over again?

Simple question they don't seem to want to answer.

One of the latests Medal of Honor heroes from the Vietnam War is Melvin Morris. I met him last month at a fundraiser for a double amputee. We talked for a long time and while he and his wife have been married for 53 years, they told me that he not only has PTSD, but wants to talk to the younger soldiers and veterans to prove to them once and for all that PTSD is not the end of their story. It is just a part of it.

PTSD is caused by trauma and changes lives but the truth is, it doesn't mean they cannot change again. They can heal even though PTSD is a part of them for the rest of their lives, they can live better lives. Their marriages don't have to end. Heck, I've been married to my Vietnam veteran with PTSD for 30 years. Melvin is one example of how the military got it wrong on resilience training.

You can't get more "resilient" than doing what it takes to earn the Medal of Honor. You can't be more resilient than to not just be willing to die for others, but to push past the pain of PTSD until after your buddies are out of danger. Their lives are yet one more scandal but this one has claimed more lives than anything else the VA and the DOD have done. They tried to prevent something they never understood in the first place.

Dakota Meyer's story is yet one more example. Most know his story when he had the Medal of Honor placed on his neck but few knew what happened when he came home. He tried to kill himself.
Meyer got some post-traumatic stress counseling, and moved back in with his father, Mike, on the farm where he grew up in the Kentucky hills.

"You come home to this peaceful place in the country," said Martin. "About as far removed from war as you can get. What was it like coming home?"

"A shocker," Meyer said. "It's hard living here. It's easy fighting, you know, 'cause it's, it's simple. Like, war simplifies life in my mind."

Meyer was home, but his father could see the war was still with his son.

Meyer's father said Dakota asked for new locks on the doors. "Make sure the house was locked up every night. . . . He'd always want to have one or two guns in every vehicle."

"So he always wanted a weapon close," he said, noting that for three months Meyer slept with a weapon - a pistol on his chest.

"Did you try to talk to anybody about it?" Martin asked.

"What's there to talk about?" Dakota replied.

"Get it out of your own mind and into somebody else's?"

"You know, why bother somebody else with it?" Meyer said. "It's just part of it."

Believing he had become a burden to his family, Dakota turned to the bottle. One night driving home he stopped his truck and pulled out a gun.

So many Medal of Honor Heroes have come out about their own battles they should never have to fight that what you read about today is nowhere close to the way it actually is.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

$125 million resilience "training" uses troops as guinea pigs for research

Crying first thing on a Sunday morning is not a good way to start the day but while reading this, that is exactly what happened. I had a voice in my head crying out in anguish because of "training" the Marines gave him. Back then, it was called Battle Mind. This program was supposed to help them become resilient but it did more harm than good.

He was in his early 20's, back from Iraq for a couple of months. He was sitting outside the Orlando VA clinic with a buddy as they were filling out paperwork. We were talking and suddenly, he was crying. He was sorry to be crying in front of me. He said, "Ma'am you just don't understand. I'm a Marine. We're not supposed to cry." We talked for a while more and then he told me that he thought he failed to train right, so he "got" PTSD. He believed it was his fault.

This is what Battle Mind did. It began by telling them they could train their brains to prevent it. This sent a message to them that if they ended up with PTSD, it was because they didn't do it right.

No one told him that he trained to do his job in Iraq and did it right. No on told him that he didn't lack courage because no matter what kind of pain he was in, he still did his job, watched the backs of his friends and spent every day with honor. His first concern while deployed was for his buddies. When they were all out of danger, then he allowed himself to feel the pain he carried all that time.

There is so much being done under the claim of helping when the evidence has shown more harm than good being done. Losing more after combat proves the claims fall flat but the pain is very real. This report is about how steps taken to help them are doing more harm than good. God willing someone with the authority to do something about it will stop these kinds of programs and stop sacrificing their lives so a company can make money. They are doing "research" while calling it training. In other words, the troops have been used as guinea pigs instead of being helped to heal.

The Dark Side of "Comprehensive Soldier Fitness

By Roy Eidelson, Marc Pilisuk, and Stephen Soldz Posted by Stephen Soldz (about the submitter)

Why is the world's largest organization of psychologists so aggressively promoting a new, massive, and untested military program? The APA's enthusiasm for mandatory "resilience training" for all U.S. soldiers is troubling on many counts.

The January 2011 issue of the American Psychologist, the American Psychological Association's (APA) flagship journal, is devoted entirely to 13 articles that detail and celebrate the virtues of a new U.S. Army-APA collaboration. Built around positive psychology and with key contributions from former APA president Martin Seligman and his colleagues, Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) is a $125 million resilience training initiative designed to reduce and prevent the adverse psychological consequences of combat for our soldiers and veterans. While these are undoubtedly worthy aspirations, the special issue is nevertheless troubling in several important respects: the authors of the articles, all of whom are involved in the CSF program, offer very little discussion of conceptual and ethical considerations; the special issue does not provide a forum for any independent critical or cautionary voices whatsoever; and through this format, the APA itself has adopted a jingoistic cheerleading stance toward a research project about which many crucial questions should be posed. We discuss these and related concerns below.

Conceptual and Empirical Concerns

Although its advocates prefer to describe Comprehensive Soldier Fitness as a training program, it is indisputably a research project of enormous size and scope, one in which a million soldiers are required to participate. Reivich, Seligman, and McBride write in one of the special issue articles, "We hypothesize that these skills will enhance soldiers' ability to handle adversity, prevent depression and anxiety, prevent PTSD, and enhance overall well-being and performance" (p. 26, emphasis added). This is the very core of the entire CSF program, yet it is merely a hypothesis -- a tentative explanation or prediction that can only be confirmed through further research.

There seems to be reluctance and inconsistency among the CSF promoters in acknowledging that CSF is "research" and therefore should entail certain protections routinely granted to those who participate in research studies. Seligman explained to the APA's Monitor on Psychology, "This is the largest study -- 1.1 million soldiers -- psychology has ever been involved in" (a "study" is a common synonym for "research project"). Butwhen asked during an NPR interview whether CSF would be "the largest-ever experiment," Brig. Gen. Cornum, who oversees the program, responded, "Well, we're not describing it as an experiment. We're describing it as training." Despite the fact that CSF is incontrovertibly a research study, standard and important questions about experimental interventions like CSF are neither asked nor answered in the special issue. This neglect is all the more troubling given that the program is so massive and expensive, and the stakes are so high.

It is also important to note here two controversial aspects of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program that have already received attention from investigative journalists. First, Mark Benjamin has raised provocative questions, not yet fully answered, about the circumstances surrounding the huge, $31 million no-bid contract awarded to Seligman ("whose work formed the psychological underpinnings of the Bush administration's torture program") by the Department of Defense for his team's CSF involvement.
read more here
The Dark Side of "Comprehensive Soldier Fitness

The Marine above carried more pain than he needed to carry. Aside from the fact he was brave when he needed to be and human when he didn't need to be brave anymore, no one told him that the fact he cared so much, no matter what he was going through, showed great compassion. We talked about God and how all the evil done in this world can be allowed. No one told him that when he felt compassion in the middle of all that horror, God was right there because he was. The Chaplain he talked to while deployed told him that he was not a member of the "right" faith and he needed to convert. There was no mention of God's love, how to forgive and how to be forgiven. We fail them in so many ways, I think I need to go an cry a bit more after reading this report.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness not reviewed before 1 million troops trained

American Journal of Preventive Medicine has a study up on Comprehensive Soldier Fitness. Not sure what they found yet since I am not a member. This release in itself tells a very troubling finding in itself. If I could figure it out, why didn't they a long time ago?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:
Review of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program

Since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military has implemented several population-based initiatives to enhance psychological resilience and prevent psychological morbidity in troops.

The largest of these initiatives is the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program, which has been disseminated to more than 1 million soldiers.

However, to date, CSF has not been independently and objectively reviewed, and the degree to which it successfully promotes adaptive outcomes and prevents the development of deployment-related mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is uncertain. This paper critically evaluates the theoretic foundation for and evidence supporting the use of CSF.
No telling if they find it should not have been done but if they don't, then they need to explain the rise in suicides, attempted suicides and PTSD cases.

Gee, do you think they maybe should have figured out if it would work or not before they did it to the troops?

Friday, February 21, 2014

CSF Clusters of FUBAR

CSF Clusters of FUBAR
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 21, 2014

USA TODAY reported Comprehensive Soldier Fitness price was $125 million
The Army began the program in 2009 amid increasing cases of suicide and mental illness. It has cost $125 million to teach the coping skills to a million soldiers.
"Lt. Col. Justin Platt, an Army spokesman, said the program was redesigned in recent years and is not now intended as a way of preventing illnesses such as PTSD or depression.

When it was started in 2009, it was supposed to be a "long-term preventative health strategy." New goals released last year are now more generally worded. One of them, for example, says the program should provide soldier and families with "self-awareness and psychological resources and skills to cope with adversity and thrive in their lives."

This was reported by the LA Times $50 million a year
"A lot of their programs don’t have any good data behind them," said Kenneth Warner, a professor of public health at the University of Michigan who led the Institute of Medicine committee that produced the report. "We remain uncertain about which approaches work and which ones are ineffective."

The 291-page report was especially critical of the Pentagon’s biggest and costliest prevention program, known as Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness, which is used throughout the Army.

Based on the principles of positive psychology, it includes training in assertiveness, negotiation and coping strategies such as maintaining an optimistic outlook on life. About 900,000 soldiers receive the training each year at a cost of $50 million. The program was recently expanded to include families of service members.

That may sound like a lot of money but that isn't close to how much money was spent on this.

NBC reported on this failure with
"One obvious example of an unproven and controversial approach is the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program, which includes a mandatory online training program developed with the American Psychological Association, the report finds."

But did not seem interested in the fact the man responsible for this program had developed it as a research project to give school aged children a better sense of self-estime. A research project? Yes. He was also president of the American Psychological Association.

From The Warrior SAW Suicides After War
One of the issues they found was that CSF was “embraced” by the American Psychological Association and Martin Seligman was past president. Why is he important? Because this was his program and he received a $31 million dollar no-bid contract to implement and run the program. (The publication is still online as of the writing of this book.) This really nails it. “ At minimum, they should issue an unambiguous and widely disseminated statement acknowledging that the report is seriously flawed an that, as a result, the verdict is still out as to where CSF actually works.”

It is very difficult for me to take my emotions out of this. I have had too many veterans and family members contacting me for help because of this. Here are the cold, hard facts.
2006, 2007, 2008 2009
$2.7 million Baylor Texas A and M Army Medical Research Project for PTSD
$1.6 million Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital received Monday the mock check of a $2.7 million was handed over to a contractor to make phone calls. Yep~phone calls! 570,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan were supposed to be called to find out why they hadn’t gone to the VA.
$50 Million study by the National Institute for Mental Health for practical interventions for mitigating suicides and enhancing Soldier resiliency
$1.4 Billion We initiated programs to better diagnose and treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury and other injuries through advanced medical research. We also have made investments in upgrading our clinics and hospitals including a $1.4 Billion investment in new hospitals at Forts Riley, Benning, and Hood.
$500 Million in additional psychological health providers, new facilities, and world-class research
$1.5 Billion to Army Family programs
$50 million research program into the factors behind soldier suicides and how to prevent them, Army Secretary Pete Geren told reporters at the Pentagon.
$1.97 million Defense Department study.“The Army's alarming suicide trend continues this year, said David Rudd
$34 million University of Pennsylvania no-bid contract to develop Comprehensive Soldier Fitness and run it.

But that is just the start of all of this. Every branch has also spent billions on the same "efforts" that failed. Money came from each branch, plus the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Institute of Mental Health, grants and a growing list of colleges and universities receiving grants. Much like the University of Kentucky receiving $677,000 for a two year study to discover how 100 families felt after their veteran committed suicide.

The rest is in The Warrior SAW. The government has also been spending billions on "addressing" veterans committing suicide and treating PTSD. We have also seen more of them committing suicide along with a dramatic rise in younger veterans committing suicide. What we have seen as a result of all these "efforts" is the money keeps going out but no one is held accountable for the money and lives they have already lost.

Friday, November 28, 2014

PR Campaign Starts to Counter WTU Reports

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 28, 2014

NBC5 and Dallas Morning News did a six month long report on the investigation of how PTSD soldiers were treated in Warrior Transition Units across military bases.
Injured Heroes, Broken Promises: Hundreds of Soldiers Allege Mistreatment at Army Warrior Transition Units Wounded soldiers found harassment and verbal abuse from commanders assigned to care for the injured.
Wounded Times has covered the truth for 7 years and it is far from what the national news will spend time on. Most of the great reporting is done by local news outlets across the country. That is where the reports on No excuse for Fort Hood mistreatment of Soldiers with PTSD came from.

The rest of the media can ignore it all they want but the truth is, while we do have the best military in the world, when it comes to the men and women serving, the leaders are PTSD imbeciles.

To discover how long all of this has been going on, we need to begin with the research the Army did on redeployments in 2006. The Washington Post reported their study showed this.
Repeat Iraq Tours Raise Risk of PTSD, Army Finds
Washington Post
By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 20, 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.

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.

"When we look at combat, we look at some very horrific events," said Col. Ed Crandell, head of the Army's Mental Health Advisory Team, which polled 1,461 soldiers in Iraq in late 2005. "They come back, they know they're going to deploy again," and as a result they don't ever return to normal levels of stress, Crandell said.
read more here

What did the Generals do? Did they make sure no one was sent back? No. As a matter of fact, they ignored their own research. This is an educated assumption simply because as they refused to adapt, they also refused to make sure these redeployed troops were properly cared for in response to what they knew would follow.

They pulled the wool over the public eye with Battlemind.
If BattleMind worked, there would not be more suicides and more attempted suicides than before BattleMind, but do you think they would be able to figure this one out yet? It came out in 2007 and yet again today I hear word of another soldier, a young, newly married soldier, who came back from Iraq and blew his brains out in front of his new bride. Is it because they do not show it to all the troops? Is it because they only show a lousy 11 1/2 minutes to the troops in Afghanistan as the BBC reported? Is it the trainers? Or, is the answer as simple as it does not work?

I don't know but you would think that since some of the finest minds in this country have been put to work on PTSD, they would have reduced suicides and attempted suicides instead of increasing them while they stick their fingers in their ears and hope the problem goes away! If they cannot cope with any of this after all this time, what's it going to be like two or three years from now when most of them have PTSD and they are still doing what does not work? Unit cohesion? Trust? How can they have any when they cannot trust what they are coming back to? How can they when some of them are National Guards and Reservists expected to go back to their civilian lives and jobs?

This was followed by Comprehensive Soldier Fitness
In a speech before the international affairs organization the Atlantic Council on Thursday, U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey laid out the virtues of the newly formed initiative, which he called Comprehensive Soldier Fitness.

"We have been looking very hard at ways to develop coping skills and resilience in soldiers, and we will be coming out in July with a new program called Comprehensive Soldier Fitness," said Casey. "And what we will attempt to do is raise mental fitness to the same level that we now give to physical fitness. Because it is scientifically proven, you can build resilience."

"The whole idea here is to give soldiers the skills they need to increase their resilience and enhance their performance," he went on. "A lot of people think that everybody who goes to combat gets post-traumatic stress. That's not true. Everybody that goes to combat gets stressed. There is no doubt about it. But the vast majority of people who go to combat have a growth experience because they are exposed to something very, very difficult and they prevail. So the issue for us is how do we give more people the skills so that more people have a growth experience... We thought it was important to get started on this because everything else involves you treating the problem. We need to be more proactive."

Yet by 2009 it was already followed by a warning that this "program" would increase suicides simply by feeding the stigma.
Comprehensive Soldier Fitness will make it worse
If you promote this program the way Battlemind was promoted, count on the numbers of suicides and attempted suicides to go up instead of down. It's just one more deadly mistake after another and just as dangerous as sending them into Iraq without the armor needed to protect them.

This training was designed as a research project to help school aged kids feel better about themselves but these yahoos decided to treat soldiers like kids on the playground and tell them they could train their brains to be mentally tough. As we've seen from the reports on Warrior Transition Unit leaders telling PTSD soldiers to "man up" they got the wrong message.

This training told the soldiers if you train right you'll be resilient and they heard if they ended up with PTSD, they were mentally weak. Would you want to admit you needed help after that? Would you want to tell you buddy you are falling apart or need to talk with this idea your brain?

Every single OEF-OIF veteran I talked to pointed to this training as part of the problem but the leaders have not been willing to listen to them.

Generals have been delivering the wrong message at the same time they ignore the right ones. When other generals talked about having PTSD, when MOH heroes talked about their own battles, the DOD failed to get their message.

Ok so now you know more of what has been happening. Just as the PR campaign started to blame soldiers for committing suicide making sure the country knew most of them had not been deployed, they failed to address the simple fact that CSF wasn't even good enough to keep them alive but they thought it would work for those redeployed over and over again?

They play another game of selling how great they are with a "success story" on Warrior Transition Units.
VA soldier interns share transition success stories with WTU soldiers
By Gloria Montgomery
Warrior Transition Unit Public Affairs
November 26, 2014

TEMPLE — It gave her goose bumps, she said as she listened to her former Fort Hood Warrior Transition Unit soldiers share stories of their transitioning successes with other WTU soldiers who will soon enter the civilian workforce.

The goose bumps, said Maj. Thelma Nicholls, a WTU nurse case manager, were from witnessing the transformation of her former “broken and worn-down” soldiers into confident and beaming professionals, thanks to the Temple Veterans Affairs’ “intern to hire” philosophy and the Operation Warfighter federal internship program.

“To see how they have transitioned into productive citizens and are now paying it forward is remarkable,” she said, adding how special it was that the WTU interns and VA veteran hires were sharing their positive messaging with Nicholls and nearly 50 other WTU soldiers and family members Nov. 14 at the Olin E. Teague Medical Center in Temple, during a panel discussion on federal internships and employment opportunities.

“It was so uplifting,” Nicholls said. “They are a light for the soldiers who are leaving and thinking there is nothing out there for them. Well, there is something out there, but they have to want it, go for it and be that little light to make things happen.”

It also validated everything about the WTU and the “process” called healing and transitioning, said WTU’s intake company’s 1st Sgt. Renita Garrett.
read more here

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

$1.7 billion for higher suicides and attempts in 2012?

I have been posting on how much money has gone into "suicide prevention" because I am finishing up on THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR. Where has all the money gone on suicide prevention was just the start of more I found in searches. The question is, where has the media been on this?
$1.7 billion for higher suicides and attempts in 2012?
Title from the Army 2011 Posture Statement
to the Committees and Subcommittees of the UNITED STATES SENATE and the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 1st SESSION, 112th CONGRESS
MARCH 2011
Page 5
FY 12 Budget Highlights for Sustain
Provides $1.7 billion to fund vital Soldier and Family programs to provide a full range of essential services to include the Army Campaign for Heath Promotion, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention; Sexual Harassment/Assault
Expanded Survivor Outreach Services to over 26,000 Family members, providing unified support and advocacy, and enhancing survivor benefits for the Families of our Soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
★ Graduated more than 3,000 Soldiers and Civilians from the Master Resilience Trainer course.
★ Surpassed one million Soldiers, Civilians and Family members who have completed the Army’s Global Assessment Tool to begin their personal assessment and resilience training.
If you think that is bad, it gets worse because they have been spending that kind of money and ended up leaving more families grieving by the graves. Reminder, RAND along with many other experts said these programs do not work?

This is from Department of Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development Service
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States (US), with nearly 100 suicides occurring each day and over 36,000 dying by suicide each year.1 Among Veterans and current military, suicide is a national public health concern. Recent estimates suggest current or former military represent 20 percent of all known suicides in the US2 and the rate of suicides among Veterans utilizing Veterans Health Administration (VHA) services is estimated to be higher than the general population.3 The enormity of the problem has led to several major public health initiatives and a growth in research funding for suicide prevention.
*no significant benefit of the intervention*study too short*study too small
FY 11 Budget Highlights
Provides $1.7 billion to standardize and fund vital Family programs and services to include welfare and recreation; youth services and child care; Survivor Outreach Services; and expanded education and employment opportunities for Family members.

Provides a 1.4% military basic pay raise and Civilian pay raise, a 3.9% basic allowance for housing increase, and a 3.4% basic allowance for subsistence increase.

Warrior Transition Units for our wounded Soldiers will continue to receive strong support in FY 11 with $18 million in Military Construction funds allocated to resource construction of barracks spaces.

Supports the Residential Communities Initiatives program, which provides quality, sustainable residential communities for Soldiers and their Families living on-post, and continues to offset out-of-pocket housing expenses for those residing off-post.

Progress and Accomplishments
The Army met 104% of its recruiting goals for 2009, and achieved both numeric goals and quality benchmarks for new recruits.

All components exceeded 105% of their reenlistment goals.

We reduced off-duty fatalities by 20%, to include a 15% reduction in overall privately-owned-vehicle fatalities and 37% reduction in motorcycle fatalities.

In collaboration with the National Institute of Mental Health, the Army began a seminal study into suicide prevention that will inform the Army Suicide Prevention Program and society’s approach to suicide.

We began instituting Comprehensive Soldier Fitness – an all-inclusive approach to emotional, social, spiritual, family, and physical fitness – as the foundation to building resiliency within the Army.

We initiated an unprecedented series of construction projects at five major hospitals as part of our commitment to modernize our healthcare system.

The Army established the Warrior Transition Command and reorganized Warrior Transition Brigades to provide centralized support, rehabilitation, and individualized transition planning to our recovering Warriors.

We expanded Survivor Outreach Services to over 26,000 Family members, providing unified support and advocacy, and enhancing survivor benefits for the Families of our Soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

We implemented the Post 9/11 GI Bill, significantly increasing educational benefits for active duty Soldiers, Veterans, and Family members.

The Army Reserve established Army Strong Community Centers to support geographically-dispersed Soldiers and Families. Together with Army National Guard Family Assistance Centers and Soldier and Family Assistance Centers on active duty installations, these centers provide help to Soldiers’ Families near their hometowns.
Behavioral Health
What is it? Army Medicine is committed to strengthening psychological resilience and improving the behavioral health of our Soldiers and their Families. Military research shows that approximately 15 percent of Soldiers deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom have Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms, and another 10 to 15 percent will experience other behavioral health problems that could benefit from treatment. The Army, as an enterprise, is moving towards a model of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness. This model will focus on enhancing the Physical, Psychological, and Spiritual fitness of Soldiers and their Families across the whole life spectrum.

What has the Army done?
The Army Medical Department offers an extensive array of behavioral health services to address the strain on Soldiers and Families who have experienced multiple deployments and other demands of military life during this period of increased operational tempo. These services include Combat and Operational Stress Control, routine behavioral healthcare, and suicide prevention programs. Chaplains, Military OneSource, Warrior Adventure Quest, and Family Morale Welfare Recreation Command also offer substantial support to these Soldiers and Families.

The Army has maintained a robust Combat and Operational Stress Control presence in Theater since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are currently maintaining a behavioral health provider ratio of greater than one provider for every 700 (1:700) deployed Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. This equates to over 115 behavioral providers deployed in support of Afghanistan and over 135 behavioral providers deployed in support of Iraq. Behavioral health programs include:

Comprehensive Behavioral Health System of Care. The Comprehensive Behavioral Health System of Care (CBHSOC) is a new initiative nested under the Army Campaign Plan for Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention. The CBHSOC will standardize and optimize the vast array of behavioral health policies and procedures across the Medical Command to ensure seamless continuity of care to better identify, prevent, treat and track behavioral health issues that affect Soldiers and families during every phase of the Army Force Generation cycle.

Child, Adolescent, and Family Behavioral Health Proponency. This is a pilot program established by the U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) to address the behavioral health care needs of Army children, adolescents, and families administered at the installation level.

Provider Resiliency Training. This training targets Army healthcare providers to address burnout and compassion fatigue. In 2010, the Army is expanding its Provider Resiliency Training Program across the force. This revised program will be renamed the Care Provider Support Program and provide enhanced compassion fatigue training to all healthcare providers in the Army inventory.

Suicide Prevention. There is a concerted effort to improve suicide prevention efforts. The Army Campaign Plan for Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention continues to establish policy and programs in response to the Army’s increasing suicide rate.

RESPECT-MIL. This is a program designed to decrease stigma associated with seeking assistance from behavioral healthcare professionals and to improve access to care by providing behavioral health services in primary care settings.

Military Resilience Training. Lifecycle and Deployment Cycle Battlemind Resiliency products are being merged into the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program.

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness will enhance overall readiness, improve unit and individual readiness, and sustain a balanced, healthy, campaign capable, expeditionary Army. Family and Morale, Welfare Recreation Command (FMWRC). This program plays a role in behavioral health support including the Community Recreation Division’s Outdoor Recreation program and Army Community Services. Through Army Community Services, Family and Military Life Counselors are available at each installation to provide confidential support to Soldiers and Families that is separate from Army resources. Warrior Adventure Quest offers redeploying units, of platoon size or larger, the opportunity to incorporate a high stress recreational activity (such as whitewater rafting, paintball, rock climbing, and rappelling) into its post-deployment training schedule to assist in post-deployment decompression.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

In 2010, $168 million of additional funds will be used by the Army to sustain implementation of over 45 initiatives under the categories of access to care, resiliency, quality of care, and hiring over 300 behavioral health providers to augment behavioral health services across Army installations worldwide. The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command is currently evaluating numerous proposals to help identify ways to increase psychological and spiritual resilience in Soldiers and Families. The behavioral health research supports development and evaluation of interventions for prevention, treatment, and long-term recovery needs. This research program includes over 150 projects addressing post traumatic stress disorder and 10 projects dedicated toward suicide research. The research portfolio also includes a robust epidemiologic effort for continued monitoring of Soldier and Family behavioral health and wellbeing.

Why is this important to the Army?
Behavioral health is an important factor in enabling Soldiers to function effectively on the modern battlefield. The Army is aggressively working to remove the stigma associated with seeking help for behavioral health issues as a barrier to care, to improve access to care, and to incorporate suicide prevention training into all training programs. Leaders are talking openly about seeking help, and Soldiers are listening and acting to protect their buddies.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Is the DOD trying to make it worse for military men and women?

Is the DOD trying to make it worse for military men and women?
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 27, 2013

On July 18, 2013 the Department of Defense released the April and May suicide report. This was done when they should have been releasing the June report.

In April the DOD said there were 11 "potential" suicides. Think about that. That means the families are left wondering what happened. For May it was 12 "potential" suicides. So far this year there have been;
For calendar year 2013, there have been 64 potential active-duty suicides: 31 have been confirmed as suicides and 33 remain under investigation.
They also revised the total of Army suicides to 183.

Updated active-duty suicide numbers for calendar year (CY) 2012: 183 (162 have been confirmed as suicides and 21 remain under investigation).

The most forgotten group has been the National Guards and Reservists.

For April 2013, among that same group, the Army reported 16 potential suicides; however, subsequent to the report, one more case was added bringing April’s total to 17 (14 Army National Guard and 3 Army Reserve).

During May 2013, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were 10 potential suicides (8 Army National Guard and two Army Reserve).

For CY 2013, there have been 70 potential not on active duty suicides (45 Army National Guard and 25 Army Reserve)

Updated not on active duty suicide numbers for CY 2012: 140 (93 Army National Guard and 47 Army Reserve)

So far as of the last week of July, they have not released the Suicide Event Report for 2012. Why? Why on earth would it take this long to release what they have been tracking all along?

The headline from DVIDS is that "Army's Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program spreads the importance of resiliency"

Secretary of the Army John McHugh announced the formal beginning of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Oct. 2, 2009, according to

The Army-wide implementation of this program focuses on enhancing the performance and improving the overall strength and resiliency of soldiers, family members and Army civilians. In July 2012, Comprehensive Soldier Fitness was re-named Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness to incorporate family members.

This is the claim they are still making.
“The purpose of launching CSF2 was to increase people’s emotional strength, equip them with coping skills, and give them the ability to bounce back from any situation life may throw at them,” said Army Col. Kenneth Riddle, CSF2 director. “As well, the CSF2’s vision is to have a total Army team of physically healthy and psychologically strong soldiers, families and Army civilians whose resilience and total fitness enables them to thrive in both the military and civilian sector and to meet a wide range of operational demands.”
While this all sounds good the trouble is coming from not actually looking at the history of this programming. Are they trying to make it worse for the military men and women on purpose? If that is their intention, then they succeeded. If they are trying to save lives, then they failed miserably. The numbers prove it.

The suicides they have to count have gone up since they started this program.
2008 Army suicides at 3-decade high 128

But that was followed up by this
7 soldiers committed suicide in January of 2009 and the cause of death in 17 other cases is still pending, Army officials announced Thursday, marking a significant increase in soldier suicides from the same time period in previous years.

Last month’s numbers are six times higher than those from January 2008 and eight times higher than in 2004.

They said they didn't know why and then tried to blame it on winter.
"This is terrifying," an Army official said. "We do not know what is going on."

Col. Kathy Platoni, chief clinical psychologist for the Army Reserve and National Guard, said that the long, cold months of winter could be a major contributor to the January spike.

Then they tried to explain it away by pointing the finger at repeated deployments, which had been shown to raise the risk of PTSD according to an Army report in 2006.
"US Soldiers serving repeated 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. (Washington Post 2006)
It wasn't that they were not trying. They were still pushing what was called Battlemind in 2009.
Battle Mind must be eliminated from what they are trying to do. There is no doubt in my mind that they really want to save the lives of the troops but they are the last to learn shooting with rubber bullets may be good for target practice but it in no way resembles or prepares them for the real thing. In other words, they are usually the last to learn what the rest of the country already knows. When it comes to PTSD, they are still shooting with blanks.

In March of 2009 William McMichael, staff writer for Army Times reported this.
But calls by troops and former troops to a Veterans Affairs help line indicate that the problem may be even larger that the alarming statistics provided at the hearing.

In calendar year 2008, the Army reported 140 confirmed or suspected suicides. That’s 20.2 suicides per 100,000 troops — an all-time high that is nearly twice the national average of 11.0 suicides per 100,000. The service’s suicide rate has more than doubled since 2004.

The Navy reported 41 suicides in 2008, a rate of 11.6 per 100,000. The Marine Corps lost 41 Marines last year to confirmed or suspected suicides — up from 25 two years earlier — a rate of 19.0 suicides per 100,000. The Air Force lost 38 airmen in 2008, a rate of 11.5 suicides per 100,000.

More ominously, 780 callers to a national Veterans Affairs suicide prevention hotline in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2008, identified themselves as active-duty troops, said Kathryn Power, director of the Center for Mental Health Services in the Department of Health and Human Services.

It was already proven to not be working when in February of 2009 the other bad reports were followed up by these.
U.S. Marine Corps, 1 suicide every two days, attempted ones, every 2 hours!
As many as 18 soldiers killed themselves in February, Army officials announced March 5.

Over at Fort Carson there was a recording of a psychologist saying "I am under a lot of pressure to not diagnose PTSD"

The Army counted 64 possible suicides in the first four months of this year, 11 of those were at Fort Campbell, Ky. — four suicides in January, three in February and four in March.
All of this is bad but what followed was even worse.
Eight soldiers committed suicide in eight days of New Year of 2010
Then by November of 2010 172 soldiers committed suicide this year—surpassing last year’s total of 162 for all of 2009.

Fort Hood’s 22 confirmed suicides, meanwhile, doubled its 2009 mark and was eight more than Fort Bragg, N.C., which had the second-largest tally.

For the beginning of 2011 it got worse
2 Marines killed themselves in February, raising to 4 the number who have committed suicide in 2011.

Another 17 Marines attempted suicide, according to the latest figures from the headquarters of the Marine Corps.

Military Suicides while enlisted are only part of the story. When you factor in how many the DOD no longer has to count, the numbers prove more deadly evidence that Battlemind and "Comprehensive Solider Fitness" do more harm than good. While most of the veterans committing suicide everyday are Vietnam veterans, reports from across the country are about Iraq and Afghanistan veterans taking their own lives even after having all this "training" plus getting involved in standoffs with law enforcement and showing up in veterans courts.

Psychologist and true researchers, including RAND Corp, have exposed this attempt as doing more harm than good. If you want to know more then read The Warrior SAW, Suicides After War and see what caused all of this. Every report in it gives you the source to where the news report came from, the government reports and everything you need to know the DOD doesn't want to tell you.

They can keep saying they are doing something about it but with these results it should leave you wondering why they would push what has made it worse and why the media has not even asked them to explain these results.

What are they doing about it now? They are pushing it harder.

Army's Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program spreads the importance of resiliency