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Military suicides up, PTSDers sent back into combat

Military US PTS Military Suicides 2006

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#1 Nonny

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 02:54 PM

I will provide a link when I can.  I've been trying to post this, kept running into problems.

Quote

Some service members who committed suicide in 2004 and 2005 were kept on duty despite clear signs of mental distress, sometimes after being prescribed antidepressants with little or no mental health counseling or monitoring, the Courant reported. Those findings conflict with regulations adopted last year by the Army that caution against the use of antidepressants for "extended deployments."

"I can't imagine something more irresponsible than putting a soldier suffering from stress on (antidepressants), when you know these drugs can cause people to become suicidal and homicidal," said Vera Sharav, president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, a New York-based advocacy group. "You're creating chemically activated time bombs."
Little or no counseling.  Little or no monitoring.  There is simply no excuse.  When I heard that shrinks were accompanying the troops, I imagined it was a good idea, until I heard about the pencil-whipping back to combat.  :angry:

Quote

Although Defense Department standards for enlistment disqualify recruits who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, the military also is redeploying service members to Iraq who fit that criteria, the newspaper said.

"I'm concerned that people who are symptomatic are being sent back. That has not happened before in our country," said Dr. Arthur S. Blank, Jr., a Yale-trained psychiatrist who helped to get post-traumatic stress disorder recognized as a diagnosis after the Vietnam War.
My hero, and my life saver.   :)  

Quote

The Army's top mental health expert, Col. Elspeth Ritchie, acknowledged that some deployment practices, such as sending service members diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome back into combat, have been driven in part by a troop shortage.

"The challenge for us ... is that the Army has a mission to fight. And, as you know, recruiting has been a challenge," she said. "And so we have to weigh the needs of the Army, the needs of the mission, with the soldiers' personal needs."
I'm stunned.  Just stunned.  I'm also amazed that, after all the denials, any member of the Army brass is acknowledging this.  :oh:  

Quote

Ritchie insisted the military works hard to prevent suicides, but said that is a challenge because every soldier has access to a weapon.
Not true.  Simply not true.   :angry:  

Nonny
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#2 Nonny

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 02:59 PM

Sorry, can't post a link.  If someone else has access to this story and can post one that won't crash the computer of anybody who tries to open it, as my local paper's website keeps doing to mine, please post.  Thanks.  

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#3 Kura

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 06:02 PM

Link for MSNBC story on this  PTSDers sent back into combat!

Edited by Kura, 14 May 2006 - 06:02 PM.

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#4 Spectacles

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 06:10 PM

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from MSNBC: Twenty-two U.S. troops committed suicide in Iraq last year, accounting for nearly one in five of all non-combat deaths and was the highest suicide rate since the war started, the newspaper said.

It's hard to imagine the hell they went through before they ended it. It's bad enough to be suicidal anywhere; I imagine that being suicidal in a war zone would be a particular kind of hell. My heart goes out to them.
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#5 Nonny

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 07:35 PM

View PostKura, on May 14 2006, 04:02 PM, said:

Link for MSNBC story on this  PTSDers sent back into combat!
Yes, that's it, thanks!  

Nonny
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"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

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#6 Nonny

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 07:38 PM

View PostSpectacles, on May 14 2006, 04:10 PM, said:

It's bad enough to be suicidal anywhere; I imagine that being suicidal in a war zone would be a particular kind of hell. My heart goes out to them.
Yeah.  Mine too.  

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"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

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#7 Peridot

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 12:10 AM

Quote

‘Recruiting has been a challenge’
The Army’s top mental health expert, Col. Elspeth Ritchie, acknowledged that some deployment practices, such as sending service members diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome back into combat, have been driven in part by a troop shortage.

“The challenge for us ... is that the Army has a mission to fight. And, as you know, recruiting has been a challenge,” she said. “And so we have to weigh the needs of the Army, the needs of the mission, with the soldiers’ personal needs.”


Good Heavenly God....:shocked:  :oh:

How is it possible that the Army's top mental health expert would know so little of the actuality of PTSD as to consider a decision to send a soldier with this illness back into combat as simply a matter of weighing "personal needs"??  :Oo:  :eek2:

I am neither a soldier nor a clinical psychologist, yet I can see the possibilities in such a decision of extraordinary risk--not only to the specific soldier, but to all in his or her vicinity.  And Ritchie's comment doesn't even address that?   I mean, what on Earth??  :ermm:  

Am I missing something here? :blink:

I have to wonder how many of those who ended their own lives did so because they knew what kind of time-bomb they were carrying inside them; knew it and feared what it could do to those around them.  What a tragedy...whatever the specific causes.   :(  :(  


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#8 Zwolf

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 10:57 AM

I don't see any upside to putting PTSD people back into combat.  You can't know what they'll do if they break down - they may not only kill themselves, but take some other people with them... and even if they don't do that, they may fold up at the wrong time.  You can't go into combat situations with people who can't be counted on, and if these guys have reached their limit, then that's it.  It's not safe for them, it's not safe for the other guys in their squad, and it's not good for morale, either.  I know we're stretched thin, but jeez, you have to wonder what the higher-ups are thinking.

Cheers,

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#9 Ogami

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 11:53 AM

from the article:

Some service members who committed suicide in 2004 and 2005 were kept on duty despite clear signs of mental distress, sometimes after being prescribed antidepressants with little or no mental health counseling or monitoring, the Courant reported.

The same as in civilian life where you're expected to show up for work despite "stress".

The military has a support line to call if you are stressed out over personal issues. If these people didn't want help, but just wanted to die, it's hard to help them if they or their friends don't seek help.

-Ogami

#10 Lin731

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 01:08 PM

Quote

The same as in civilian life where you're expected to show up for work despite "stress".

Are civilians armed to the teeth and patroling hotbeds of terrorist activity where civies also live and work? Do civilians deal with stresses like killing people, seeing their friends killed and maimed on a daily basis?

Quote

The military has a support line to call if you are stressed out over personal issues. If these people didn't want help, but just wanted to die, it's hard to help them if they or their friends don't seek help.

Apparently since they HAD been evaluated medically (enough to determine they were showing signs of PTSD and precribe medication for them) than it seems they DID want help. What they got unfortunately was drugs and a trip back to active duty.
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#11 Rhea

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 02:30 PM

View PostOgami, on May 15 2006, 09:53 AM, said:

from the article:

Some service members who committed suicide in 2004 and 2005 were kept on duty despite clear signs of mental distress, sometimes after being prescribed antidepressants with little or no mental health counseling or monitoring, the Courant reported.

The same as in civilian life where you're expected to show up for work despite "stress".

The military has a support line to call if you are stressed out over personal issues. If these people didn't want help, but just wanted to die, it's hard to help them if they or their friends don't seek help.

-Ogami

Get a grip. A person working in a workplace in the nice safe U.S. is not the same as a solider with PTSD being sent back into combat - and the article makes clear that they did seek help, and the help they got was a few drugs and a push back into the situation that caused the PTSD in the first place.

You don't send a person with a known mental illness into combat because they're the biggest kind of loose cannon - killing themselves is the least of the problem, the biggest part being that they can't be counted on.

Edited to add: I see Lin got there first.

Edited by Rhea, 15 May 2006 - 02:31 PM.

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#12 Kosh

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 03:16 PM

Heard some of this on MSNBC last night. Recurting is down bad enough to keep people in combat situations, where they wouldn't have in other conflits. That's all we need is solders in raged and carrying weapons.
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#13 Ogami

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 04:46 PM

Lin wrote:

What they got unfortunately was drugs and a trip back to active duty.

They got drugs? It seems the military is getting more generous.

-Ogami

Edited by Ogami, 15 May 2006 - 04:46 PM.


#14 Ogami

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 04:51 PM

Rhea wrote:

Get a grip.

No, you get a grip. The military needs people to be there and ready to go on the military's time. Unless you're dying, or are likely to harm your fellow soldiers, you are expected to go back to duty.

Consider the stress of the World War II soldier. Expected to fight not just for a year or two, but expected to hit the ground against Rommel's tanks in Northern Africa, then going into the meatgrinder of Anzio, and then storming the beaches at Normany. Maybe, if they were lucky, those soldiers would get a few weeks R&R back stateside. But otherwise, they were in the war for the entire term, until victory.

All war is stressful, but I think we have it pretty good these days compared to what our predecessors were expected to do, without complaint.

-Ogami

#15 veganmom

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 04:53 PM

Ogami, do you really have no sympathy or empathy whatsoever for these people who go to a war zone for generally much longer than they ever dreamt they would, and witnessed things most of us don't even see in our nightmares?

Do you really think they should all just "get over it," and if they have PTSD that just means they're weak?

Remember, too, that if your civilian job is too stressful, you can quit. You generally can't just "quit" the military (apparently not even when your time is up).

Personally, I think that if they have PTSD, they've obviously served to the limits of their abilities and should be allowed to come home. I mean, if someone gets blown up in a roadside bomb and severely injured, we let them come home because they are no longer capable of serving effectively. If your brain can't handle it, that's similar.

They cared enough to serve. Let that be enough. They shouldn't have to be pushed BEYOND the limits of human tolerance.

#16 veganmom

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 04:55 PM

Ogami, re. your comments about WWII soldiers (or any others): those were people who generally signed up during wartime for a full tour. Here, many of these people were National Guardsman, expecting to serve at home (until this "war" and this President...)

#17 Ogami

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 05:31 PM

Veganmom wrote:

Ogami, do you really have no sympathy or empathy whatsoever for these people who go to a war zone for generally much longer than they ever dreamt they would, and witnessed things most of us don't even see in our nightmares?

I am a U.S. Army Reservist. I will be deployed to a combat zone. I have great sympathy for anyone who has psychiatric problems and is a genuine danger to themselves or others. And it is the right of every soldier to complain, to grumble. But when it's time to earn your pay, you go do the job you signed up for. And if the military says you're fit to go, you go. As the Colonel in the article correctly observed: "And so we have to weigh the needs of the Army, the needs of the mission, with the soldiers' personal needs."

Do you really think they should all just "get over it," and if they have PTSD that just means they're weak?

I would need a common frame of reference before making any judgment about PTSD.

But I am fully qualified to comment on the liberal tendency to view everyone as a victim, to make everyone think they are a victim of something or someone.

For the entire time I went to public school, we had liberals scaring schoolchildren into believing that this was the toughest generation to grow up in. Why, we all might be nuked out of existence! We should all just be in a state of quivering terror, unless the government comes in to save us. This is the mentality liberals have pushed on entire generations of Americans. I'm not surprised to see people getting stressed out over the fact that some people want to kill Americans. But is this a new stress, or something old to civilization?

If you lived in Europe two thousand years ago, you had the threat of raiders coming into your village, putting your parents heads up on stakes, and selling you into slavery. What stress could Americans today be under that could possibly compare to that? Life just isn't that stressful for us. And yes, that goes for being in the military, too.

Ogami, re. your comments about WWII soldiers (or any others): those were people who generally signed up during wartime for a full tour. Here, many of these people were National Guardsman, expecting to serve at home (until this "war" and this President...)

If someone joined the military just to get their education paid, and they're stressed over being expected to do something in return, then I am sorry. But it's what I'm expected to do, and if the Army says they can do their job, then they need to do it and not expect the rest of us to carry the burden for them.

-Ogami

#18 Shalamar

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 06:44 PM

Lets not get personal. Telling some one the7 need to get a grip is very close to baiting and personal, and responding to it is just as bad.
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#19 veganmom

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 08:15 PM

View PostOgami, on May 15 2006, 10:31 PM, said:

I am a U.S. Army Reservist. I will be deployed to a combat zone.
-Ogami


But....but.....but if you're deployed.....who will we debate with??????

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#20 Ogami

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 08:54 PM

Shalamar wrote:

Lets not get personal. Telling some one the7 need to get a grip is very close to baiting and personal, and responding to it is just as bad.

Very well. I now maintain that Rhea is gripless.

-Ogami



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