Mental Health Care for Our Combat Veterans

Today December 12, 2007, there's a hearing on Stopping Suicide and Ending Homelessness: Mental Health Challenges Within the Department of Veterans Affairs by the House Veterans' Affairs Committee,

Ilona Meagher, of PTSD Combat: Winning the War Within and author of Moving A Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America's Returning Troops, is scheduled to be one of the ones to testify at this Congressional hearing, as many already know. If you have the chance, and C-Span carries this hearing please watch! Ilona has a short send off post at her site, seems though she's caught in the Mid West ice storm, here's hoping this Important New Voice on PTSD can make it to DC!

On December 6th a Public Forum On Mental Health Care was held in Watertown NY, home of Fort Drum. I was hoping, though it was a really tight time span, of getting some transcripts of this forum to pass to Ilona to be placed in the Congressional Record, of the hearing, along with all the rest she has put together. It was a minor miracle that didn't happen as nothing is ready yet. Chris McConkey, of Tompkins County & Ithaca Against the War traveled up to Watertown to video those invited to participate:

Dean Anthony, MSW and Trauma Therapist
Joe Gregory, Mexico, N Y, father of an Iraq combat vet who was killed after returning home because the VA failed to treat his PTSD.
Marty Webster, VVAW Natl. Coordinator, and a Vietnam vet who still suffers from PTSD.
Tod Ensign, attorney for Sgt Brad Gaskins, arrested by Ft Drum police as he sought to return to Ft Drum for mental health care. A two tour Iraq combat vet, Gaskins went AWOL when he was refused treatment for his PTSD.
And the VA’s Vet Center at Ft Drum has been invited to send a speaker

I talked to Cris on sunday and he doesn't have all the video to upload or burn to DVD as of yet. He did say there were a couple of speakers, the Vet Center representative, and a couple of Drum Soldiers who didn't want their contributions to be video'd. He will contact me when he has the Forum Video's ready.

In the meantime one of the local TV Stations did a report and video on the forum:

Public Forum on Combat PTSD-Ft Drum

Here is the article about the Forum Soldier calls PTSD an "ugly demon"

And this is where the Forum was held The Different Drummer Internet Cafe

And a previous post I have up about the upcoming Forum Public Forum On Mental Health Care At Ft Drum and More

I keep trying to get my head to come to some kind of terms and understanding of what faces our present returning Veterans. We didn't do Mutiple Tours, one twelve month tour was all that was required for our Debacle, mine came in my last year of a four year hitch in the Navy, all shore duty, some volunteered for more In-Country tours, but they were handfuls of the numbers that served in 'Nam. We didn't have Two Theaters of Operations going, we had just one Bloody Destructive Theater!

This Country had Better start coming to terms with exactly what our Conflicts inflict on those who serve and those we wage them on!

Everyone who serves in a Combat Theater are changed! There are a number of levels of the effects War has on the Human Mind and for some those effects can have devestating results, to them, to their families, to their communities, and to complete strangers!

One of those Devestating results can be Spousal and Child Abuse by former Combat Soldiers that just snap from the Demons of War and the Stress that erupts.

One recent report had this video:

Child Abuse by Army Soldiers

I used Ilona's book cover as the graphic to make the point that this Nation Should Start Really Caring!

There are a few articles and reports/studies on the Military and Child/Spousal Abuse

Child Abuse in the Military

Fort Carson Soldier Faces Child Abuse Charges

Soldier Mental Health

Veterans are home, but not at ease

Civilian life tough for many, and help can feel elusive

Spouse Abuse and Child Abuse by Army Soldiers
Issue Volume 22, Number 7 / October, 2007

Longitudinal Assessment of Mental Health Problems Among Active and Reserve Component Soldiers Returning From the Iraq War

A good book to read, written by a now grown child of a Vietnam Veteran who lived with PTSD, is one written by Danielle Trussoni Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir

Not all our recent Veterans will live the Traumas of PTSD, but with the Multiple Tours, some being sent back into theater already taking the drugs to help fight the stesses from a previous tour, Two Theaters of Operations, Urban combat, and once again a Nation seemingly oblivious of Reality, how many will suffer from, or like my brothers have it triggered way down the road by a simple incident or another Conflict!