Gov't Watchdog Criticizes Pentagon Center for PTSD, Brain Injuries
The Pentagon's Defense Centers of Excellence has been slow to deliver on its obligations to soldiers who bear the invisible wounds of war. Why? A joint report from ProPublica and NPR explains the mess described by the Government Accounting Office (GAO). []
Congress to Investigate Pentagon Decision to Deny Coverage for Brain Injured Troops
The Pentagon's decision to deny treatment for traumatic brain injury justifies a Congressional investigation, says Sen. Claire McCaskill. ProPublica and NPR have persisted in tracking responses. They report hearings will be held to dig into this, a decision made in conjunction with Tricare, the military insurance offered to vets. TBI has been called the signature injury of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. []
Pentagon Told Congress It's Studying Brain-Damage Therapy
The Pentagon acknowledges the seriousness of brain damage requiring cognitive rehab, but doesn't commit to interventions. That's Tricare's decision. And Tricare is unconvinced that it's effective despite evidence to the contrary. ProPublica and NPR follow-up. []
Pentagon Health Plan Won't Cover Brain-Damage Therapy for Troops
Dukehart,TriCare.jpgAfter Tricare, the military insurance for troops and veterans, denied coverage for cognitive rehab for brain injuries, ProPublica and NPR wanted to know why. The decision to deny this service seems especially confusing given evidence pointing to the importance of early interventions for brain injuries. Gaps in services, inconsistent policies, and congressional hearings are driving tenacious advocacy and investigations such as this. []
Going AWOL to get help "a walk of courage," writes Lorre Leon Mendelson
The following comment comes from a reader who refers to a story about a soldier named Jeff Hanks who was deployed in Afghanistan and now faces disciplinary action. It appeared in the Tennessean on Veterans Day. "It was the desperate act of a father/husband/soldier: going awol to obtain mental health assistance: not borne of fear but a walk in courage. Millions are diagnosed with anxiety disorders, one of which is PTSD. Many of us try to "pass" as someone without... []
Veterans Day -- a reminder of mental health prioirities
salute-flag.jpgWith Veterans Day comes a salute to soldiers. And a reminder of the obligations to meet the inner wars many bring home. From a selection of articles addressing the mental health scars of battle, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction and suicide. . . []
106,000 Soldiers are prescribed some form of pain, depression or anxiety medications.
Read Army Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention from the United States Army.... []
Congress Questions Military Leaders on Suicides, Traumatic Brain Injury
Reprinted from ProPublica WASHINGTON, D.C.--Senators pressed senior military leaders last week to improve their efforts to address traumatic brain injuries, suicide and other wounds suffered by soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Responding to what he called "disconcerting" reports by NPR and ProPublica, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said at a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the military needed to better address the wide range of medical and behavioral problems affecting troops. . . []
Sol Wachtler's essay, "When the Scars of Battle"
. . .a recurring theme []
Sol Wachtler's essay, "When the Scars of Battle"
. . .a recurring theme []
Witnesses spar at hearings over anti-depressant -- suicide risks
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Calling PTSD and Traumatic brain injury "the signature wounds of the current war in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Rep. Bob Filner who opened House committee hearings about military suicides. . . []
Mental health professionals needed by military
Despite dramatic need, evidenced by suicide rates and a rise in substance abuse, the armed services remain short staffed, according to Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli. []
Soldier suicides prompts senator's inquiry
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Alarmed by the Wall Street Journal's report about 16 active-duty military committing suicide in October, Pharmalot reports Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) asked Sec.of Defense Robert Gates for numbers of soldiers taking anti-depressants. []
Chronic PTSD affects brain functions
Can time alone heal the impact of combat in Iraq? Not likely, according to the results of a study published in the September issue of Archives of General Psychiatry. . . . []
Military shifts ideas about mental health
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The military is preparing soldiers to anticipate the mental health impact of combat and multiple deployments, writes Benedict Carey of the New York Times.. . . []
Obama outlines military health challenge
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In a conversation with military reporters and Gen. Eric Shinseki, transcripts reveal Pres. Barack Obama understands the mental health challenges facing the military . . . []
Medical care for military women
Improvements in mental health treatment for women veterans were part of a bill (HR 1211) the House passed by unanimous vote, 408 to zero. Among the provisions are special training for mental health professionals to treat women for sexual abuse and PTSD, and a study of the barriers, including stigma, to seeking treatment. Reports indicate sexual harassment of military women has increased and is often unreported.... []
Military launches site for PTSD
The normalization of stress around military matters, such as the length and number of deployments, may ironically reduce seeking help for problems such as PTSD, according to the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress. When a mental health provider is part of a treatment team, the burden on patients or families to ask for help is greatly reduced. To make it easier for soldiers to seek help, the defense department launched a website, Real Warriors outside the military's domain.... []
Underreporting PTSD unfounded
A report from the Veteran's Administration Office of Inspector General concluded that therapists at a Texas facility did not stop diagnosing PTSD after an email from a staff psychologist suggesting cost and time saving modifications. The report was requested by a congressional committee after the psychologist's email was made public. Diagnosis has a direct impact on eligibility for benefits, and PTSD has a higher compensation than adjustment disorder. The investigation also confirmed that aftercare groups which had been meeting... []
PTSD doesn't earn Purple Heart, disability
The Pentagon has decided that PTSD is not worthy of a Purple Heart, saying it was not intentionally caused by an "outside force or agent." According to Stars and Stripes, which reported some of the story in May, a military spokesperson explained that the Purple Heart has never been awarded for mental disorders or psychological conditions resulting from witnessing or experiencing traumatic combat events (e.g., combat stress reaction, shell-shock, combat stress fatigue, acute stress disorder, or PTSD). The Purple... []
Book details military mental health crisis
Aaron Glantz, author of the The War Comes Home: Washington's Battle against America's Veterans, discussed the military mental health crisis, now a signature of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. During a radio conversation with Lenny Lopate, Glantz said failures to address PTSD, suicides, long waits, and a shortage of professional help all reside within a military system which has historically overlooked mental health concerns. This is his third book about Iraq, and it adds to growing alarm, also apparent... []
"Another Kind of VALOR"
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The failure to anticipate the mental health needs of vets has led to public outrage. Filmmaker Dan Weisburd released "Another Kind of Valor" a docudrama with a rich set of resources that communities can use to help veterans and families who struggle. []
General talks about PTSD and stigma
On the eve of Veterans Day, Army Maj. Gen. David Blackledge is reminding the country that soldiers suffering from war-related trauma can benefit from treatment. Blackledge received psychiatric counseling for the symptoms of PTSD while recovering from combat injuries he received in Iraq. ... []
In the journals. . .focus on youth
From the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine: In the 1960s an anti-war poster read, "War is not healthy for children or other living things." A study in the Nov. issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine confirmed this sentiment with a study of 169 families: "Children age 3 and older who had a deployed parent had significantly higher scores on measures of externalizing and overall behavior problems than children of the same age without a deployed parent."... []
Mental health in Obama and McCain proposals
With health care reform topping the list of voters' concerns, the Kaiser Family Health Blog created a chart comparing the proposals of Senators Barack Obama and John McCain. Click here to read their positions and learn who "supports housing for seriously mentally ill veterans," who calls for halting the discharge of military for "having a service connected psychological injury." Also included are statements about SCHIP, generic drugs, retired veterans. ... []

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