PTSD Reform in the Military May be Too Late

The Hartford Courant reports on reforms to how the military will attempt to screen and treat soldiers that may be suffering from PTSD:
Military Backs Reforms
Most Of Task Force's Recommendations Adopted By Defense Department

The military will expand psychological screening for both new recruits and active-duty service members, and will make safeguarding mental health part of the core training for leaders, Defense Secretary Robert Gates' office told Congress in a report released Tuesday.

The report adopts nearly all of the recommendations sent to Gates in June by a Pentagon task force of mental health professionals, who called on the Defense Department to correct "fundamental weaknesses" in its approach to mental health or risk tragic social consequences. Those recommendations include improving access to care by hiring more mental health clinicians, "embedding" counselors in military units and primary-care clinics, and improving coordination between the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

But Gates' office cautioned that many of the reforms would take until May 2008 - or longer - to put into place, fueling concerns among some soldiers' and veterans' advocates that mental health problems and suicides among troops in Iraq will continue to climb.

But the Military is too late for many of the soldiers that are already suffering from PTSD:
Iraq Veteran Faces Charges

MANCHESTER - Fresh off two, back-to-back tours in Iraq, a troubled Marine reservist faced a judge Wednesday on charges of pointing a loaded shotgun at his girlfriend and throwing a knife at her.

With "USMC" tattooed on his neck, Riaan Roberts, 25, of Chestnut Street, stood expressionless before the judge during his arraignment in Superior Court in Manchester.

The charges against him, which include first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree unlawful restraint and third-degree assault, stem from a bizarre incident with his girlfriend early Tuesday. According to police, Roberts insulted the woman, threw a knife at her and pointed a loaded shotgun at her in their Manchester apartment where officers found three guns - two shotguns and a rifle - four knives and boxes of ammunition.


During the arraignment, prosecutor Anthony Spinella said he has sympathy for Roberts, but that Roberts was too unstable to be released from custody as a bail commissioner had recommended.


McKinney later told police that Roberts has issues with civilian society and experiences flashbacks from Iraq. He recently told her he doesn't trust himself. She said he needs professional help for mental health issues but refuses to see anyone.


For more information on PTSD:

Blaming the Veteran
The Politics of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) became part of the American vocabulary after the Vietnam War as its affects on veterans became widely publicized. Now, a new generation of American veterans are again victims of PTSD. This series explores the impact of politics on the funding, diagnosis and treatment of veterans suffering from PTSD. It examines the propaganda used to justify a reduction in benefits to veterans with PTSD and the effort to redirect blame for the ravages of war to the soldiers themselves.

Part I: Stacking the Deck - With trillion dollar estimates for the Iraq war, the Administration looks to cut costs, eyeing treatment for the returning PTSD wounded veterans.

Part II: Ration & Redefine - Redefining PTSD and substance abuse as moral/spiritual failings opens the door to cheaper unregulated, unlicensed faith-based "treatments."

Part III: Malign & Slime - Propaganda is used to stigmatize veterans seeking help, reduce benefits to veterans with PTSD and to blame the soldiers for their own illness.

PTSD Resources
Also: See tessa's diary on "Veterans Committing Suicide"

And in comment from snorwich at the MLN x-post of this diary:  "I just read a story in the Denver Post about a severely wounded vet who just killed somebody over a bag of dope. I will try to retieve the story; it was perfect for this diary." Tragically, snorwich may be correct.


Unknown said...

You should take a look at the Wounded Warriors Project. It raises awareness for severely wounded combat U.S. combat veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan. It really puts a face on the cost of the war. Here's a link:



Connecticut Man1 said...

Thanks. I'll check it out as soon as I can.

Unknown said...

i read the story on the local vet being arrested. i was going to post on it too, but i sure didn't know what to say. we OWE him help. he is obviously hurting a GREAT DEAL. he is also obviously a danger to himself and others.
dammed if you do, dammed if you don't...........