Military's Rate of PTSD Increasing - How Shocking

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
In a shocking development, it appears that the rate of service members who are being diagnosed with PTSD has increased by 50% between 2006 and 2007.

The military feels the incidence of PTSD grew last year as more U.S. troops were exposed to combat, a lengthening of war zone rotations from 12 to 15 months and the rise in the number of troops serving repeated tours.

Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Of course, the military does not have sufficient numbers of mental health professionals to help these service members address their issues. There are only 1,431 mental health professionals among the nation's 1.4 million active-duty military personnel, and about 20,000 more full- and part-time professionals provide health care services for the Veterans Administration and the Pentagon.

So in the spirit that has made our country great, volunteer mental health professionals are donating their time through the Give An Hour program, the Soldier's Project, and the Coming Home Project. They're seeing vets and families for free in an effort to get these folks the help they need.

Yay, volunteerism! Go, mental health professionals!

Boo, military mental health services! Shame, shame, Pentagon!

Combat veterans, wounded in the line of duty, should never have to worry about their medical care.

While it's shameful that such organizations are necessary, I'm glad the psychiatric community is stepping up to this challenge. As one of the organizers said, "These young men and women volunteered to defend our nation, and now our nation can volunteer to serve them."

Indeed. Well done, folks, and thank you.

9 comments:

Jim Wright said...

If you seek treatment for PTSD while on active duty - you get discharged for mental health issues. If you don't - you get sent back into the meat grinder, which just keeps making it worse. It's a catch-22 for a lot of folks.

This is symptomatic of the entrenched Pentagon mindset and not exclusive to this administration. The bean counters are afraid that if they acknowledge PTSD as a real problem that 1) it'll cost them money that they'd rather use on shiny new crap, 2) they'll lose personnel in significant numbers. It's the same old shit, they talk about taking care of people, and they do everything but. People are the least important asset, what matters to Generals and Admirals is hardware and golf courses and billion dollar weapons programs.

Ahhhh, thanks for pissing me off, first thing in the morning, Janiece. Thanks, a lot.

Janiece Murphy said...

I'm sorry, Jim.

But there's hope! Even if the higher-ups are screwing the pooch on this, at least the civilian mental health folks are willing to step up and do the right thing!

Jim Wright said...

I agree, Janiece, that those doctors who volunteer their time are doing a great thing - but I wonder about how effective this pro bono mental health will be. Also, it's not available or uniform across the board - i.e. some places will have volunteers, but many won't. Some volunteers will understand the needs of combat vets, and some won't - no matter their intentions.

What chaps my ass here is that just like Gulf War Syndrome, the Pentagon, Congress, President, and etc and et al will shuffle their feet and make bleating noises on Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, the 4th July and etc - but do nothing effective to help. If you live near a volunteer mental health professional, great - if you don't, fuck you.

What really chaps my ass is the hypocrisy: They'll talk about taking care of people, but when it comes to maintaining the barracks in livable condition, or maintaining the hospitals, or actually funding the VA, or the GI Bill, or etc - well... Yeah, turns out people aren't nearly as important as fully funding their buddies in the defense industry and their own little pork barrel projects.

Personally, I doubt it will ever change and frankly I wish they'd just shut the fuck up about taking care of vets, because they don't and they have no intention of doing so.

Janiece Murphy said...

Jim, I hear what you're saying, and it chaps my ass, too.

The rank hypocrisy is shameful.

I'm just trying to get my blood pressure down after yesterday's story...

Carol Elaine said...

Yea for those wonderful volunteers, because our soldiers are definitely going to need them. Especially in light of a recent discovery that some VA Administrators are recommending that PSTD be underdiagnosed (actual VA email here - in PDF format).

I'd read about this when I went to Arlington West on Monday - it was on a board of recent news. I'm sorry if I've gotten anyone angrier.

Jeri said...

It seems somehow wrong that the HIPAA requirements that ensure privacy of medical records do not apply to military personnel.

I can see the benefit of requiring personnel to pass the equivalent of a flight physical every year - and those results provided - but the detaila about daily mental and physical health treatment should be available to no one but the patient and their care provider.

And oooh, Carol Elaine, that article you mentioned does make it worse... that's malpractice and health care rationing right there!

Janiece Murphy said...

Carol Elaine, I heard that on NPR.

I'm afraid the "Treatment of Military Service-Members Shame-Wagon" is full, full, full.

Sigh.

Steve Buchheit said...

Carol Elaine, also heard that on NPR. Reminds me of another side story about how in 97 Project Willing Receiver stopped early and recommended to the Pentagon to install monitoring devices that recognized hacker attacks on their networks. After three months the IT pros were polled and they felt these devices were faulty because they kept going off all the time, and that the Pentagon networks had never been under attack before they installed the monitoring devices. It was obviously the monitors' fault.

PTSD is becoming to prevalent? Well, it must be because we're diagnosing it too often. After all, there is no problem. How can we continue to believe there is no problem when these people keep diagnosing PTSD? Surely it's the fault of those making the diagnosis.

Say, anybody remember what fragging is and why it was done? Not that I would suggest doing it.

Janiece Murphy said...

Not that I would suggest doing it.

I would.