What's wrong with these people? Not the soldiers with mental health problems, I mean. But rather the authorities who are so breathtakingly ignorant.
A report released by a congressionally ordered mental health task force suggests that the military's handling of mental health problems in its ranks is even worse than Mother Jones previously reported (with little to no cooperation from the DoD, by the way). According to NPR, 40 percent of troops returning from Iraq or Afghanistan have some sort of psychological problem. Nearly a quarter show signs of serious mental health disorders.
It gets worse: Soldiers reporting psychological problems are not only not helped, but actually get punished for their illnesses. Some are sent to clean the latrines; others, in an image disturbingly resonant of Abu Ghraib, must sit in a corner wearing a dunce camp for long periods of time. At one army base, many soldiers were kicked out of the services following psychological complaints.
The Pentagon doesn't spend enough on mental health services, nor doesn't train troops, officers or even mental health care providers adequately. Believe it or not, even military doctors aren't well trained about the links between war and PTSD.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Mental health and the military
Frank Ford sent me a very disturbing post from the Mother Jones blog. It's called "The Military Is Going Nuts". Here's part of what it says: