Ratified July 9, 1868, the XIVth AMENDMENT of the United States gave all Americans the Right
to Due Process.
In 1215, the Magna Carta
established the principles that no one is above the law (not even the King),
and that no one can
take away certain rights.
Someday, even New Jersey
will recognize these same rights. In New Jersey, the influential are above the law.
PTSD Veteran Support· Email Group
Apr 21, 2006
There are already 7,199 Members
And Growing Everyday...
Someday, even New Jersey
will recognize the civil rights of PTSD veterans.
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. More http://www.military.com/earlybrief/0,,,00.html
YET FEDERAL POLITICIANS STAY QUIET.
U.S. soldiers' suicide rate in Iraq doubles in 2005
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Suicides among U.S. soldiers in Iraq doubled last year over the previous year to return to a level seen in 2003, U.S. Army medical experts said on Tuesday.
Twenty-two U.S. soldiers in Iraq took their own lives in 2005, a rate of 19.9 per 100,000 soldiers. In 2004,
the rate was 10.5 per 100,000 and in 2003, the year of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the figure was 18.8 per 100,000.
The figures cover U.S. Army soldiers only. They do not include members of other U.S. military services in
Iraq such as the Marine Corps.
Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, the Army's surgeon general, cautioned against overinterpreting the figures, saying suicide
rates tended to fluctuate from year to year.
"We think that the numbers are so rare to begin with that it's very hard to make any kind of interpretation,"
he said at a news conference to present a study on the mental health of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
"We have not made a connection between the stress on the force and some massive or even significant increase
in suicides," he said.
While every suicide was one too many, Kiley said, the suicide rate among soldiers was lower than the average
among civilians of the same age and gender.
The survey, a snapshot of the morale and mental health of U.S. soldiers in Iraq in late 2005, found
13.6 percent of the soldiers reported symptoms of acute stress and 16.5 percent reported a combination of depression, anxiety
and acute stress.
Those rates were lower than in 2003 but higher than in 2004, the experts said.
"A man good enough to shed his blood for his country, is good enough to receive a
square deal afterwards . . ."
-- Theodore Roosevelt
Some Americans feel that carrying stories about PTSD in veterans is somewhat anti-American, especially
if there are 98,000 new PTSD veterans, because of the War on Terror. (It's like our media driving home our daily death
count in Iraq.)
But it's the farthest thing from the truth. Not recognizing these
98,000 disabled veterans is the real anti-American act. They served their country with honor and pride. Now, it's
time to make sure they get the help they need.
PTSD has always been part of war, just like any other war injury.
I have PTSD. And I'd still proudly serve for America
again! In spite of America's problems, we still are the greatest nation in the world.
Our freedoms are worth fighting for... And thank God, we have great
men and women in our military to do it.
GOD BLESS AMERICA
WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER
Suicides among Active Duty Personnel at an All Time High
Near the end of a long deployment the thoughts of coming
home fill your mind and your heart yearns for the familiarity of loved ones. Once getting home it all seems great until you
wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and realizing you had the most horrific nightmare of your life. A nightmare
so vivid you thought you were back on a patrol in a foreign country. The smells, the sights and the tastes are all there just
like the day it happened. The days keep passing by and you start to isolate yourself, withdrawing from those around you. Every
time you go out in public you are on guard watching everything around you. The slightest sounds startles you and you have
that feeling you are coming under fire. Your old friends call and ask if you want to go fishing but you tell them that you
are just not feeling it. This soldier has no clue what is going on to him but can tell something is not right. What he is
suffering from is a post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) a recognized disorder by the American Psychological Association
using the DSM IV. http://www.psych.org/.
Without the adequate screening needed and the education
about PTSD before a discharge a soldier has no clue what they are suffering from. Many times they go on for long periods of
time questioning their sanity. For the family they usually do not recognize the alarms going off when their loved one starts
acting different and do not have sufficient knowledge of the disorder. They just believe that it is a normal reaction to serving
in war. Eventually many veterans turn to drugs and/or alcohol to solve their problems and unfortunately this is a recipe for
disaster as many end up committing suicide.
There are many misleading beliefs about PTSD and there
is a major stigma that surrounds the condition. Some believe that it is imaginary and is a way for a veteran to get free money
from the government. It is a real illness and a debilitating illness if not treated soon enough or properly. The number of
individuals that are coming back from the current war that have been diagnosed with PTSD is one out of three. Add this in
with multiple deployments and you are creating an unstable environment susceptible to mental illness. With a large influx
of individuals this is putting the Department Veteran Affairs (VA) in a bind which was already plagued with many problems
before the current war.
One of the major problems with the VA is that they are
under spending their budget. In 2005 they spent only $100 million out of $200 million of their budget and in 2006; they estimate
that out of $200 million budgeted only $158 million was spent. Yet, the VA is understaffed which largely contributes to this
figure. The other areas that are deficient are the required research and knowledge of PTSD to properly treat it. Testifying
on September 28, 2006 before the house veterans’ health subcommittee Army Col. Charles Hoge who is one of the leading
researchers on PTSD has stated that much more research is needed because there are major gaps in the studies completed. The
areas that need the most attention are in standard psychotherapy and medications, long term treatment and recovery issues
and the impact on deployment. So, while the VA is scratching their head at what to do many innocent lives are ended in the
Our country is in a habit of jumping into wars before really
assessing the aftermath. They are not looking at the fact that the system is already over burdened and near the breaking point
and if we can not accommodate our service members after the war, we should not go at all. In Congress Representative Michael
Michaud (D) highlighted this by saying, “the VA is far short of fulfilling it commitments, and clearly our oversight
will have to be more rigorous.” Representative Henry Brown (R) agrees with this saying, “When our young men and
women serve their nation, they give their all, Congress expects those entrusted to care for them to do the same.”
Today’s active duty members are committing suicide
at staggering rates regardless of a Congressional order which mandates the military to evaluate the mental health of our deployed
troops. According to the Department of Defense (DoD), the numbers show that 1 out of 300 active duty service members actually
see a mental clinician before shipping out. Once in country, troops with unstable mental issues are kept on the front lines
but are doped up on anti-depressants and other drugs but are given little if any counseling. This has helped fuel the suicide
rates among the troops serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq . To further inflame this issue, out of 11 service members who
committed suicide in Iraq between 2004 and 2005 were kept on duty despite the fact that they were showing obvious signs of
mental agony. In at least seven of these cases, the service member’s chain of command was aware of the problem which
is according to investigative records and interviews with family.
There is an estimated 378,000 troops who have served more
than one tour in Iraq or Afghanistan . These recurring tours are severely increasing the number of individuals who have PTSD
and other mental disorders. “The Department of Defense is in the business of keeping people Deployable,” said
Cathleen Wiblemo, deputy director for health care for the American Legion. “What the consequences are, we haven’t
begun to see.”
After discharge former service members with PTSD, who have
not been informed of the symptoms, begins to think they are mentally unstable and the world would be a better place if they
didn’t exist. Due to this there have been too many suicides by suffering veterans. There has to be an educational campaign
started for not only the veterans but the public to relieve the stigma of PTSD and suicide. The ability to openly discuss
these issues will improve the community support accessible to veterans who ponder suicide and in the end increase the chances
of those at risk will be given the care they require. Ileana Arias Ph.D., Director of the national Center for Disease Control
and Prevention, said, “We want to change the norms about suicide so that individuals do not feel any hesitation to access
whatever services and resources are available in the event that they start to experience suicidal ideation.”
There are some bills in both the House and Senate that
will help curb this tragic trend among veterans and we ask for your full support. One piece of legislation that needs to be
passed is the “Comprehensive Assistance for Veterans Exposed to Traumatic Stressors Act of 2006” (S. 3984/HR 1588).
This bill provides wide-ranging benefits for veterans of multiple eras to ensure that no veteran is left behind. To name a
few of the benefits, one area it focuses on is extending the eligibility for readjustment counseling services for Vietnam-era
veterans. Requires that the DOD will assist the VA with PTSD and other mental health-related data collection; substance use
disorder questions in pre- and post-deployment screens and related treatment protocols; and routine preventative maintenance
intervention for returning members of the Armed Forces. Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to develop model programs
to address mental health disorders prevalent among veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Requires counseling
for immediate family members of disabled veterans and Armed Forces personnel killed in action. To educate the public and make
them more aware of the illness this bill will create a National Steering Committee on PTSD Education. This legislation will
ensure to address deficiencies in compensation and pension examinations with regard to PTSD. It will also require development
of criteria for determining which medical conditions are likely associated with PTSD and when secondary service-connection
should be granted for those conditions. Last it will also provide for an outreach program to enhance PTSD awareness.