Friday, March 7, 2008

The Mental Consequences of Multiple Deployments

The Mental Consequences of Multiple Deployments
Posted by: echidne

Soldiers on their fourth or fifth tour in Iraq
report more mental health problems than those on their
first tour, say:

More than a quarter of U.S. soldiers on their third or fourth tours in
Iraq suffer mental health problems partly because troops are not
getting enough time at home between deployments, the
Army said on Thursday.

Overall, about 17.9 percent of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan had
mental health problems in 2007, according to an annual Army survey.

That is slightly below the 2006 figure of 19.1 percent but relatively
consistent with previous years.But the incidence of mental health
problems for soldiers in war zones climbs significantly among troops
returning for a third and fourth combat tour, the survey showed.

Among noncommissioned officers, for example, 27.2 percent on their
third and fourth tours suffered mental health problems in 2007.

That compares with 18.5 percent for those low-ranking officers on
their second tours and 11.9 percent of those on their first tours, the
Army said.

"Soldiers are not resetting entirely before they get back into theater,"
said Lt. Col. Paul Bliese, who led the Army's Mental Health Advisory
Team survey for 2007.

By "resetting" Bliese meant soldiers are not getting enough
time to recover from the trauma of duty in a war zone.

In other words, the military is overstretched.

I'm not sure how possible it is to "recover from the trauma of duty" in
general, given the Vietnam veterans who still suffer from PTSD.
Some probably recover, some don't, but in either case the
circumstances in Iraq are such that we should expect greater rates
of PTSD in the future. This means that more money is required
for the mental health care of returning veterans.
Posted by: echidne / 3/06/2008 06:38:00 PM

The VA has set up a 24-hour suicide hotline round-the-clock
access to mental health professionals.
The number is 1-800-273-TALK.
To learn more about PTSD-- visit the National Center for PTSD website.
Private Battle, Part 1
Private Battle, Part 2

Flashback, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Suicide,
and the Lessons of WAR by Penny Coleman and--->
I Can Still Hear Thier Cries, Even In My Sleep...
A Journey Into PTSD By E. Everett McFall

Both Books are Available on