Mental health disorders among returning troops
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Author:  Catherine [ Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Mental health disorders among returning troops

Mind games, part 1: The things they carry

Nancy Goldstein
Published: Tuesday October 24, 2006

PART I, The things they carry: Mental health disorders among returning troops

The same administration that many claim sent US troops overseas without sufficient intelligence, planning, numbers, or armor is equally unprepared to deal with the wars' psychic toll on service members, RAW STORY has learned.

A former commander-in-chief describes today's overextended, under-equipped military as nearing the "breaking point."

In Afghanistan, insurgent attacks and bombings are surging this year, as the Taliban rapidly regains power and popularity.

In Iraq, where US troops are, by the administration's own admission, struggling unsuccessfully with an increasingly bloody insurgency, US and civilian casualties are rising by the day. This past Sunday, the Associate Press reported that this month is on track to be the deadliest one of the war yet. It is already the deadliest since November 2004, when 92 American Marines were killed and another 500 wounded over the course of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah.


Author:  Catherine [ Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:24 am ]
Post subject: 

Mind Games Part II - To Hell and Back: Spinning the Downward Spiral

Nancy Goldstein
Published: Wednesday October 25, 2006

(Continued from Mind Games Part I: The Things They Carry)

The same troops whose mental health issues were more or less ignored while they were active service members face numerous obstacles to proper care in the military's mental health system once they return. The barriers include a self-reporting process for mental health issues that is littered with disincentives for service members to self disclose; a post-deployment screening system that does not refer 78% of those who do come forward for further mental health evaluation; blizzards of paperwork for any service member seeking care; health care facilities that are already filled to capacity; and long, bureaucracy-filled waits for professional screening, diagnosis, treatment, and compensation.

Still, the recent surge in demand for mental health care is unlikely to let up any time soon. VA records recently obtained by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act -- after the VA denied that such records existed, then suddenly discovered them nine months later, when the Archive threatened a lawsuit -- reveal that one in four veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is filing disability claims.



Author:  Catherine [ Thu Nov 02, 2006 3:47 am ]
Post subject:  Mind Game III - Full Metal Lockout: The Myth of Health Care

Mind Game III - Full Metal Lockout: The Myth of Accessible Health Care

Nancy Goldstein
Published: Monday October 30, 2006

(Continued from Mind Games Part I: The Things They Carry and Mind Games Part II: To Hell and Back: Spinning the Downward Spiral)

If you were thinking of enlisting in the military and you read the press releases from the DOD and VA public relations machine, you'd think that signing up would make you part of a body of men and women who were the nation's greatest asset -- a corps that would enjoy every possible means of care at all stages of their professional and personal lives.

You'd go to the DOD's fancy Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) web site and cling to the promise that its resources are devoted to "fostering a trusting partnership between military men and women, veterans, their families, and their healthcare providers to ensure the highest quality care for those who make sacrifices in the world's most hazardous workplace."

The site would assure you that all returning service members "receive a face-to-face health assessment" by a trained health care provider that includes an in-depth review of "each service member's current health, mental health or psychosocial issues commonly associated with deployments, special medications taken during the deployment, and possible deployment-related occupational/environmental exposures."

And who could blame you for feeling reassured? It's a level of medical attention and care that anyone would envy -- if, in fact, anyone were getting it at all.

"I don't believe that the DOD is having face-to-face screenings," says Paul Sullivan, Director of Programs at Veterans for America (VFA). "I have spoken with countless veterans who have advised me that at most they fill out the form, and many don't even do that."


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