Gaps In Mental Health Screenings Stil...

Gaps In Mental Health Screenings Still Haunt Military

There are 19 comments on the Hartford Courant story from May 12, 2009, titled Gaps In Mental Health Screenings Still Haunt Military. In it, Hartford Courant reports that:

Chad Barrett had attempted suicide and was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder by the time his unit prepared for a third combat tour in Iraq.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Hartford Courant.

Bob

Charleston, SC

#1 May 12, 2009
ok

Since: Mar 09

Woodbury, CT

#2 May 12, 2009
Awareness of battle fatigue and the mental toll of war, taking every step essential to offer the best in help, and the saving intentions of those who devote their lives to the task, are never enough to overcome the demons that follow soldiers home. Never.
Doing what we can do, trying to do as much as we can, and creating a system by which the worst are attended to, leaves a dependable majority without corrective care.
It's an expense of war, and always has been. Something for a President to consider when obliging a generation to the battlefield. The lessons of every single war before this one are documented and dusty, needing to be appreciated, and typically not consulted.
Angel

Mckinney, TX

#3 May 12, 2009
When my husband enlisted he was clinically depressed, I called WEST HARTFORD RECRUITERS and discussed it with them.

They poo pood me, sidestepped me and began sending recruitment personnel to pick up my husband, take him to breakfast, dinner, simply spend time with him...THEY GOT THEIR WAY DESPITE THE INFORMATION I GAVE THEM

In 1997 my husbande committed suicide..THE WEST HARTFORD COMMANDER CALLED AND APOLOGIZED TO ME DIRECTLY, he said WE SHOULD HAVE PICKED UP ON HIS MENTAL STATE

I see nothing has changed.
Motherboard

Brunswick, ME

#4 May 12, 2009
Great reporting, real journalism.
h c ecco

Buena Park, CA

#5 May 12, 2009
so...more dots that the USA is unable to connect...let the troops fill out their own evaluation forms, tack one tour onto another and wait for the stress to have its effect...sometimes it will be spectacular like this shooting in the stress center and sometimes it will be more quiet in a suicide or a life off track that just dies with a whimper...so keep on saving the money (on services, body armour, medical care, etc.), let the profiteers keep their margins up and someday the "can-do" country won't even be able to connect, say, a warning of immanent attack from a guy in a cave, a list of the names of his killers (and their flight school enrollments) with the possibility of an attack on the homeland itself... someday.
Old Navy Gunner

Winsted, CT

#6 May 12, 2009
I'm sure this will draw all kinds of fire,but I had friends in WW2 that were gone for 2 and 3 years at a time,I'm sure were subjected to worse than today's soldiers(they didn't have body armor, cell phones and lived in mud holes for weeks at a time), yet I don't remember any of today's symptoms when they came home. Has something happened to our men in these 3 generations ?

Since: Apr 09

Bonita, CA

#7 May 12, 2009
The military is dramatically lowering their standards for recruits. They're taking in men and women with histories of mental illness and criminal records, and putting fire arms in their hands.

I've been hopelessly trying to bring awareness to this issue in my area lately. If anyone is involved in getting the word out or bringing action, please contact me. An ex of mine was accepted into the Army with three outstanding warrants and has a history of mental instability. Every article I read about a soldier killing me gives me the chills, because I have no doubt that it could easily be him one day. Something needs to be done.
doglove

Seattle, WA

#8 May 12, 2009
Jess 2009 wrote:
The military is dramatically lowering their standards for recruits. They're taking in men and women with histories of mental illness and criminal records, and putting fire arms in their hands.
I've been hopelessly trying to bring awareness to this issue in my area lately. If anyone is involved in getting the word out or bringing action, please contact me. An ex of mine was accepted into the Army with three outstanding warrants and has a history of mental instability. Every article I read about a soldier killing me gives me the chills, because I have no doubt that it could easily be him one day. Something needs to be done.
This is so sad, and yes, again Bush ordered the standards lowered so he could meet his recruitment numbers. More 'waivers' have been issued for this war than all others combined. Remember when the soldiers raped the 14 y.o. girl in Iraq and killed her and her family? ONe of them was mentally ill when he went in and they knew it(probably more than one of them). He had anti-social disorder, very serious stuff, especially for people being put in power situations. Lots of the atrocities of this war have not come out yet, but they will.

It wasn't that long ago that we had the best army in the wordl. Now, look at it. I feel sorry for you, you should be scared. I would search for a support group in your area for families of soldiers. Perhaps someone can help you with your plight.
doglove

Seattle, WA

#9 May 12, 2009
Old Navy Gunner wrote:
I'm sure this will draw all kinds of fire,but I had friends in WW2 that were gone for 2 and 3 years at a time,I'm sure were subjected to worse than today's soldiers(they didn't have body armor, cell phones and lived in mud holes for weeks at a time), yet I don't remember any of today's symptoms when they came home. Has something happened to our men in these 3 generations ?
In your day there were dozens of kinds of deferrments, ask John Wayne! Flat feet, bad eyes, overweight, underweight, too tall, too short. You could even get a deferrment to support your Mother, or if you were the only son.
The deferrments were more than generous - resulting in an army of QUALIFIED soldiers after the weeding. Now there is no such thing, they take the mentally ill, the borderline simpleton, criminals, felons, drug addicts. No one is turned away.

With this comes rapes, murders, suicides and problems for decades.
DJH

“Thinking critically since 1964”

Since: Mar 07

Winsted, CT

#10 May 12, 2009
Old Navy Gunner wrote:
I'm sure this will draw all kinds of fire,but I had friends in WW2 that were gone for 2 and 3 years at a time,I'm sure were subjected to worse than today's soldiers(they didn't have body armor, cell phones and lived in mud holes for weeks at a time), yet I don't remember any of today's symptoms when they came home. Has something happened to our men in these 3 generations ?
Actually this is not an unfair question to ask. But I'm not sure it's true ... as it may appear on its face ... that WWII vets were "unaffected."

I happen to know two WWII vets who never got over their service and were all but disabled on their return. They spent most of their time secluded, at home, drawing some kind of VA pay, although I don't have details on how much it was or what their diagnoses were. It was not something that was discussed openly by those who knew them, beyond an acknowledgment that whatever happened to them, had happened in the war.

So a slightly better question to ask is, what's the difference between then and now? How is it that recent wars' vets are, for lack of a better phrase, "more publicly and openly affected" by their service?

I think the differences were the times they lived in. WWII vets and others of their generation, grew up in a culture that sequestered anyone who was mentally ill; they did not discuss mental illness openly, and those who were mentally ill were not "out and about."

Care of the mentally ill, and society's approach to them, has changed since then. They're no longer kept out of view and taken care of quietly; they are expected to continue working and living as anyone else.

Not that I'm saying there's anything wrong with this, at least in theory. The mentally ill should be productive and active, to the extent they can be.

What mental health care does exist, has become minimized by restrictions imposed by Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance. Instead of being cared for to the fullest possible extent, care is dribbled out piecemeal and only a tiny bit at a time. Many are just not getting all the care they need at the time they need it. This is not just a problem for the military, it's everywhere.

At the same time, there's a general antagonism in society at large toward mental health care and psychiatry. Mental illness is largely viewed as either non-existent (since it's invisible to anyone but the sufferer) or as weakness, eccentricity, a character, flaw, etc. which can be alleviated if the person just "picked him/herself up by the bootstraps." Worse, there's a fringe view that psychiatry largely as a single large conspiracy cooked up to sell drugs which are otherwise dangerous to give to anyone.

Add all this up ... i.e. the mentally ill being expected to take care of themselves, yet not given sufficient care to do so, along with a growing denial that mental illness even exists in the first place or that the mentally ill even need any help at all ... and the result is that the mentally ill face too much pressure and get not enough help facing it.

Again, this is not just a military phenomenon. If you look around, you'll see the same attitude everywhere in the US. It can't be fixed in the military, until the rest of the country understands that mental illness IS, in fact, real; it NEEDS to be treated; it often requires aggressive treatment that must be funded fully; and it's NOT just going to go away because we choose to deny its existence.
DR_DUKE

New Britain, CT

#11 May 12, 2009
One problem in Iraq is that there is no place to party. During WWII men could go back to the rear maybe over to Paris and party. In the Nam, there were plenty of girls, booze, and drugs. This is not the case in the Middle East. There needs to be a better rotation system. Maybe the US military should have traveling whore houses like the French Foreign Legion.
Motherboard

Brunswick, ME

#12 May 15, 2009
Old Navy Gunner wrote:
I'm sure this will draw all kinds of fire,but I had friends in WW2 that were gone for 2 and 3 years at a time,I'm sure were subjected to worse than today's soldiers(they didn't have body armor, cell phones and lived in mud holes for weeks at a time), yet I don't remember any of today's symptoms when they came home. Has something happened to our men in these 3 generations ?
Maybe they just hid it better...or perhaps WWII was so much more dangerous that anyone with mental problems was unlikely to survive at all.
doglove

Seattle, WA

#13 May 15, 2009
Motherboard wrote:
<quoted text>
Maybe they just hid it better...or perhaps WWII was so much more dangerous that anyone with mental problems was unlikely to survive at all.
A few friends of mine had parents with what we used to call 'shell shock' but was most certainly P.T.S.D.
I remember one in particular, his hands shook, he trembled most of the time and nothing he said made any sense. HE was angry all the time. His wife said he came back that way. Anyone here old enough to remember that term,'shell shock"?

War is heII and always has been.
doglove

Seattle, WA

#14 May 15, 2009
Angel wrote:
When my husband enlisted he was clinically depressed, I called WEST HARTFORD RECRUITERS and discussed it with them.
They poo pood me, sidestepped me and began sending recruitment personnel to pick up my husband, take him to breakfast, dinner, simply spend time with him...THEY GOT THEIR WAY DESPITE THE INFORMATION I GAVE THEM
In 1997 my husbande committed suicide..THE WEST HARTFORD COMMANDER CALLED AND APOLOGIZED TO ME DIRECTLY, he said WE SHOULD HAVE PICKED UP ON HIS MENTAL STATE
I see nothing has changed.
I didn't know they were taking people with clinical depression prior to this war.
I am very sorry for your loss.
Chadsmom

Pigeon Forge, TN

#15 Jun 10, 2009
This reporter should come to TN and talk to Chad's family. I think he would hear a different story surrounding Chad's death. My son was a great person that lost hope in more than the Army.
ChadsBrother

Montgomery, AL

#16 Jun 12, 2009
This was an interesting article. Too bad you had to use Shelby as a source. I have a copy of the Army's report. Chad committed suicide after talking on the phone with her according to his co-workers. For someone that contributed to his death, I would caution and fact check anything she shares with the media.
John Grenier

Meriden, CT

#17 Jun 12, 2009
When I enlisted in 1981, there was no psych eval at all. If you were in fair physical health you were in. The marines first recruting station was in philly at a place called Tun Tavern. Recuriters got them drunk and next thing you knew you volunteered for the marines. I hope things have gotten better.
Alijah
#18 Sep 29, 2013
Canada Pharmacy ONLINEMEDOX. COM will always be the best pharmacy for me, whether I order prescription or non-prescription. Never failed me in delivery and quality of products.
Naysmythe

Marco, Italy

#20 Oct 1, 2013
I have ordered prescription drugs (without a prescription) from RXPILLHOME .COM about two years ago, and was pleased with the speed and quality of service.
I'm thinking of doing the same thing with my medication. The meds is expensive, but there is a generic version available overseas.
I love the idea of taking responsibility for my own health (or lack of health) and skipping the bureaucracy... to say nothing of having to drive to the doctor, wait in line, yet again, to get a prescription refilled.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Wethersfield Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
News Once slow-moving threat, global warming speeds ... (Dec '08) 19 min Into The Night 60,027
News Barack Obama, our next President (Nov '08) 2 hr Yeah 1,394,707
News Israeli troops begin Gaza pullout as Hamas decl... (Jan '09) 6 hr Ize Found 70,708
News Thousands Protest Roe V. Wade Decision (Jan '08) 12 hr cpeter1313 311,324
News Connecticut News - State, National and Local Ne... (May '07) Jun 22 ladyslipper 156
CAR Accident on Friday April 22, 2016 Apr '16 MarcusT20073 1
In The War on Police Traffic Stops Have Become ... (Aug '15) Dec '15 Anthony Wall 11
More from around the web

Personal Finance

Wethersfield Mortgages