Post-combat diagnosis, counseling need support

B

Boondocksaint375

Guest
OUR VIEW: Post-combat diagnosis, counseling need support
August 29, 2007 6:00 AM
http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070829/OPINION/708290317

Psychological services for military personnel have long been inadequate. The lack of services can never excuse violence, like the physical abuse Freetown resident Michael Oliveira allegedly inflicted on his wife before barricading himself in his home with a cache of weapons on Sunday. He is responsible for his own actions.
Still, without better mental health services, some veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan will face problems they might not be able to handle.
Though Mr. Oliveira's military record has not been verified, he and his family told police he is an Army Special Forces veteran. Special Forces train for some of the Army's most dangerous and mentally taxing missions, including guerilla warfare and covert infiltration of hostile areas.
Revisiting the issue of soldiers' mental health in February, the American Psychological Association released an analysis of various studies and surveys from the last four years. More than 30 percent of deployed personnel met the criteria for a mental disorder, the association said, but fewer than half of those sought help, and the numbers did not include personnel whose mental health issues surfaced after deployment. The APA also found a vacancy rate of 40 percent for active-duty military psychologists.
In the civilian world, stigma often prevents people from seeking help for mental and emotional problems. That stigma inevitably carries over into the military, where recruits are trained to be tough. Nowhere could that be more true than in the Special Forces.
Still, the honored veterans returning from war are human, with human sadness and anger and frailties. They have physical and emotional wounds that may take many years of treatment to heal — if they heal at all. When those wounds lead to anti-social behavior, the veteran's family suffers too.
News reports earlier this year exposed terrible conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which treats nearly one in four servicemen and women injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. A story in the Washington Post on Feb. 18 described Building 18, a Walter Reed outpatient facility outside the main gates, as a mouse- and cockroach-infested place to which soldiers discharged from the psychiatric ward with schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, paranoid delusional disorder and other problems were often assigned. The situation was so chaotic, the report said, that in some cases, soldiers with mental disorders were put in charge of others at risk of suicide.
Yet at least for those soldiers, their need for treatment had been identified. Most people who return from war never pass through the halls of a place like Walter Reed. Some get treatment at local Veterans Administration hospitals and clinics. For others, depression and anger can fly below the diagnostic radar and resurface many times during their lives. The Hollywood image of a man who won't talk about seeing death — or doing the killing — in World War II or Vietnam isn't far off the mark.
Americans like to think that because times have changed, veterans of the war in Iraq will get better support and be less hindered by social stigma if they need psychiatric treatment. But the facts suggest otherwise. The nation still has a long way to go to provide appropriate post-combat counseling, and the financial burden of providing it will be yet another toll of the war in Iraq.
 
R

rangerpsych

Guest
or, you get diagnosed being jacked up, then get jacked around for a year basically in limbo before they finally figure out wtf to do with you, then you lose your last month's paycheck because you're given 14 days to clear out of the post and army.. so you don't have time to do the maintanance needed to not get charged for stuff.
 

DoctorDoom

Size: Extra Asian
Verified Military
Joined
Nov 11, 2006
Messages
421
Mental health overall is quite overlooked in the Army... it's frustrating but not entirely unexpected that post-combat mental health services are totally inadequate.
 

pardus

Verified Military
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
9,923
All Armies are the same to varing degrees from what I've learnt.

It boils down to the old beleifs it is weakness/cowardness that were originally assosiated with "shell shock" during the first world war and incidentally was also recognised during that war to not be either weakness or cowardness, however the war ended and we forgot the lessons and continue to short change our soldiers with proper care, which is a fucking disgrace IMO, we cant even give proper care to physically wounded pers ith one of the best health care systems in the world.
No excuse AT ALL, I think fucks need to start going to jail for dragging their feet on this issue.
Everyone in power from the POTUS down should hang their head in shame IMO.
 

TYW27

Verified Military
Joined
Jan 15, 2013
Messages
96
Location
Good 'ole US of A
What currently happens when a service member (especially a SOF member) comes home from a deployment and tries to get counseling or medical help for their mental wellbeing? I know when I was in the Marines you would get stigmatized heavily and labeled as “broken” and that would be the end of your career. Is this still the case? I’m not asking about the “official “ stance either because that is usually not the reality in my experience.
 

Gunz

Combined Action
Verified Military
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Messages
7,195
Times have changed for the better. Can't speak for SOF, but the overall approach is much improved.

The worst thing for PTSD is keeping it bottled up, not having an outlet. Thank God there are resources available now.
 

Tinman6

Bio Defense
Verified Military
Joined
Dec 8, 2018
Messages
1,153
Location
Right in the middle
The position I have consulting. Has presented the opportunity to enroll in the Penn State psych departments resiliency training. Which is what Army uses for its MRT program.
Anyone can audit the program.
Either way, anyone should get help according to their needs.
Staring down a barrel is not the answer... in my experiences. Which have been many and personal.
 

TYW27

Verified Military
Joined
Jan 15, 2013
Messages
96
Location
Good 'ole US of A
Glad you are still with us brother. I had a pretty dark moment myself and I have had two men who worked with me who also struggled heavily with suicide. One lost the battle while the other was sent to a psych ward and kicked out. My experience with the Marine Corps on this issue has been frustrating to say the least. Before I left I had even volunteered to be one of my unit's suicide prevention awareness NCO's. The material was miserable and pointless. The only reason the Marine Corps made the move on suicide awareness was because it was losing too many service men and women to it and it looked "bad" in my opinion. I tried to let my guys know that I didn't care what the Commandant or Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps were saying about suicide - I cared about them as individuals. Men who had lives filled with purpose and meaning who I cared about and wanted the best for them. I didn't care about giving them a bandaid and sending them back out to join the fight. I truly wanted them to be healthy for their quality of life because their life was precious and worth it.
 

Tinman6

Bio Defense
Verified Military
Joined
Dec 8, 2018
Messages
1,153
Location
Right in the middle
Glad you are still with us brother. I had a pretty dark moment myself and I have had two men who worked with me who also struggled heavily with suicide. One lost the battle while the other was sent to a psych ward and kicked out. My experience with the Marine Corps on this issue has been frustrating to say the least. Before I left I had even volunteered to be one of my unit's suicide prevention awareness NCO's. The material was miserable and pointless. The only reason the Marine Corps made the move on suicide awareness was because it was losing too many service men and women to it and it looked "bad" in my opinion. I tried to let my guys know that I didn't care what the Commandant or Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps were saying about suicide - I cared about them as individuals. Men who had lives filled with purpose and meaning who I cared about and wanted the best for them. I didn't care about giving them a bandaid and sending them back out to join the fight. I truly wanted them to be healthy for their quality of life because their life was precious and worth it.

I commend you on your leadership. Integrity like that is what leads men.
 

Gunz

Combined Action
Verified Military
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Messages
7,195
It feels weird coming home from a combat deployment. You get home and pretty soon you want to go back. Sounds crazy, but you've acclimated and integrated every fiber of your being into the Oz of Death and Destruction. And in many ways the day-to-day perils and challenges become more familiar to you than what you face back home--where very few people have any conception of what you've been through or what you've become.

Because you have "become" somebody different. War has become a part of your character and it will be there until your dying day and you can't erase it. You can try to bury it...but that's like putting a lid on the volcano and it's not healthy.

Immersed in a combat environment we have the means to react with violence to the challenges that face us. They shoot at us, we shoot back. They plant IEDs, we try to find and destroy the IEDs. We hunt them, they hunt us. We can annihilate and incinerate with CAS. If we are wounded, there is a procedure. We are fed, clothed, re-armed, resupplied. We have a brotherhood and sisterhood. We have support. Lots of people have our backs.

That's not the case back home. You can't shoot your way out of debt. Or pull a trigger on divorce. Bullets don't pay the rent or the car payment. Nobody has your back. When you get back home you realize the World has just gone on as if you never existed. Nobody noticed that you've been gone, that you've had to carry the maimed or dead bodies of your brothers to the helo, that you've killed your fellow human beings and celebrated their deaths. You've been to Oz.

A part of you stays there forever. Trust me.
 

TYW27

Verified Military
Joined
Jan 15, 2013
Messages
96
Location
Good 'ole US of A
I agree. I really think that denial is the silent killer. You come back home and are around other people who have no idea what it’s like to have someone try to kill them. They believe that there is no evil in this world. They don’t understand my hyper vigilance or my readiness to move towards the sound of chaos. I have questioned myself, wondering why I’m not “normal” like everyone else. I wonder if I continue embracing this new normal and learning how to live with it if I’ll realize that I have a gift. Like somehow I can merge the Warrior in me with the old me and somehow become a better man and friend. I don’t know but sometimes it feels like I don’t belong in my 9-5 IT job dealing with petty BS.
 

TYW27

Verified Military
Joined
Jan 15, 2013
Messages
96
Location
Good 'ole US of A
I should also add that I didn’t experience combat to the extent that most of you did. I was attached to infantry units during my one deployment in Afghanistan and did many foot patrols in dangerous places, but only had a few pop shots here and there. I believe our team was very fortunate that we didn’t lose anyone. Our replacement unit was barely in theater a month before one of their guys stepped on an IED and was killed.
 

lillybetford

Unverified
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Messages
4
Glad you are still with us brother. I had a pretty dark moment myself and I have had two men who worked with me who also struggled heavily with suicide. One lost the battle while the other was sent to a psych ward and kicked out. My experience with the Marine Corps on this issue has been frustrating to say the least. Before I left I had even volunteered to be one of my unit's suicide prevention awareness NCO's. The material was miserable and pointless. The only reason the Marine Corps made the move on suicide awareness was because it was losing too many service men and women to it and it looked "bad" in my opinion. I tried to let my guys know that I didn't care what the Commandant or Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps were saying about suicide - I cared about them as individuals. Men who had lives filled with purpose and meaning who I cared about and wanted the best for them. I didn't care about giving them a bandaid and sending them back out to join the fight. I truly wanted them to be healthy for their quality of life because their life was precious and worth it.
That sounds really scary but that's what reality is. I'm glad that you and your friends still with us too. I've never been in a situation like you myself but my close friend was. I'm glad that we realized in time that something was wrong with him. We found a psychologist at who helped him deal with this problem. But I still worry about his psychological state. Also, I think that groups like this are really helpful because here you can find someone who can understand you.
 

lillybetford

Unverified
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Messages
4
That sounds really scary but that's what reality is. I'm glad that you and your friends still with us too. I've never been in a situation like you myself but my close friend was. I'm glad that we realized in time that something was wrong with him. We found a psychologist at trustsession who helped him deal with this problem. But I still worry about his psychological state. Also, I think that groups like this are really helpful because here you can find someone who can understand you.
Also, I think that you are really brave to share your stories here. They can help someone with the same problem.
 

Ooh-Rah

Marine
Moderator
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
11,999
That sounds really scary but that's what reality is. I'm glad that you and your friends still with us too. I've never been in a situation like you myself but my close friend was. I'm glad that we realized in time that something was wrong with him. We found a psychologist at who helped him deal with this problem. But I still worry about his psychological state. Also, I think that groups like this are really helpful because here you can find someone who can understand you.
Hi -

Welcome to the site, it would be great if you would please go to the new member are and introduce yourself.
 
Top