Steve's Soapbox

Monday, August 15, 2005

Why I went to Crawford Texas........

30% of Returning Iraq Vets Suffer Mental Ills

‘The most important thing we can do for service members who have been in combat is to help them understand that the earlier that they get help when they need it, the better off they’ll be.’

Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

Troubled Iraq veterans face impediments to mental health after returning home
2005-07-03 / Knight Ridder / By Chris Vaughn
Brownwood, Texas./Knight ridder
Private First Class Jacob Hounshell wrote his goodbye on notebook paper, wrapped it around a photo of himself in uniform, left it on his bed and climbed into his pickup.
He was supposed to be heading back to Fort Hood. But he had no plans to make it that far. He'd already figured out what he would do - drive as fast as he could into an oncoming 18-wheeler. Less than three months after returning from a 14-month hitch in Iraq, Hounshell had come undone.
He could barely remember the excitement he carried to Iraq in early 2004. He was an excellent soldier, by most accounts, even though he was only 18 when he left. On one memorable night, his quick thinking helped his platoon defeat a group of insurgents in Baghdad.
Today, the same soldier, now 20, is wanted for desertion, a particularly loathsome act during wartime and one that could bring a prison sentence.
No where to turn / His family is desperate to get him help, but they have no idea where to turn. "We're not trying to hurt our soldiers overseas, and we didn't want this fight with the Army," said his mother, Bobbie Hounshell. "But my son had problems when he came home, and all he was told was, 'Drive on.'"


US Soldiers from Iraq with PTSD are not Getting Treatment
From Leonard Holmes, Ph.D.,
Jul 6 2004
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that large numbers of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanastan suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and other mental health disorders. Soldiers who were in Iraq were more likely to be exposed to combat, and they had more PTSD symptoms. Between 23 and 40 percent of those suffering from mental health problems had sought help, and many reported that they feared seeking treatment would make them appear weak or cause their peers treat them differently.

Rural America carries a heavy burden in Iraq
Posted: Aug. 6, 2005

“ It appears that small towns and farms have become major war suppliers.”
“All too many soldiers will return home to take their final rest under small tombstones in family plots on windswept hills overlooking the quiet countryside.”

Veterans returning from Iraq with problems too serious for local help

Need for counseling after Iraq,
Afghan service expected to rise


Many central Iowa soldiers have returned from combat in Iraq with health problems that Polk County veterans officials say they are not equipped to address.

"Almost every single Iraq vet who walks into our office has some kind of serious problem, many with mental health problems. So we just have to refer them on," said David DeBolt, director of the Polk County Commission on Veteran Affairs .