Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Pensito Review » Special Forces Suicides on the Rise Despite Questionnaire

Posted October 11th, 2005 at 1:11 pm by Trish

AP is reporting on a cluster of three suicides in Special Forces troops based at Fort Carson, Colo. returning home from Iraq.

The Army says there appears to be no connection between the men’s overseas service and their deaths, and Army investigators found no “common contributing cause” among the three. The fact they were in the same unit is only a coincidence…

The Army says its overall suicide rate in 2003 was 12.8 per 100,000 active-duty soldiers, while the rate in the general U.S. population was 10.5 per 100,000

Special Forces soldiers specialize in what the Army calls “unconventional warfare” — commando raids, search-and-destroy missions, intelligence gathering. They go through specialized psychological screening. They also undergo rigorous physical training and learn survival techniques and other skills, including foreign languages….

Special Forces officials said the Colorado-based unit experienced heavy combat in Iraq. Two members were killed in the first half of 2004 — one by a roadside bomb, another in a vehicle rollover. Another member, former Staff Sgt. George-Andreas Pogany, was sent home and charged with cowardice when the sight of the mangled body of an Iraqi caused a panic attack and prompted him to ask for psychological help. Charges against Pogany were later dropped, and he received a medical discharge.

Part of the problem is lack of funding for effective prevention. But we already knew taking care of our troops isn’t a big priority for the Bush administration.

The Army says its overall suicide rate in 2003 was 12.8 per 100,000 active-duty soldiers, while the rate in the general U.S. population was 10.5 per 100,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…

[Former Army Ranger and veterans’ advocate Steve] Robinson has been pushing military leaders to stop using paper questionnaires to screen for problems among returning soldiers and switch to face-to-face meetings with mental health professionals.

“There have been improvements, but it’s been like pulling teeth from a lion’s mouth to get the Department of Defense to do things they’re not willing to do because of the dollars,” he said.

Support our troops. Bring them home.

LINK: This is a real heads up. people. We have got mucho very sick young men and women coming home, physically whole maybe, but psychology wrecked. We had better prepare; organizations like Plowshares, places where combat veterans can come for camaraderie, help, medicine, counseling, therapy, non-judgmental positive regard and nurturing. Psychologist, Clinical Social Workers, Drug counselors, peer counselors, educational therapists, Employment specialists and any other discipline that can help our walking wounded! It is past time to get the ball rolling.
 
There was a saying among those of us who returned from Vietnam, broken and damaged; The dead are the lucky ones.
 
Let that not be the case this time.

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