As the granddaughter of an Air Force general, there are few stories that make me angrier than the treatment of the troops at the hands of the government who put them in harm's way. A RAND study came out recently that had just horrifying statistics: 300,000 U.S. veterans are suffering serious mental health issues, including clinical depression and PTSD. CBS News revealed the results of an investigation on Wednesday that showed suicide is epidemic, with 2,200 among active-duty service since the invasion. But what Dr. Ira Katz, the VA's head of mental health, didn't reveal to CBS is that there are an average of 1,000 suicide attempts per month, an unthinkably high number. VetVoice is asking for your support in asking for Katz's resignation.
Olbermann: More shocking than that misrepresentation or whatever you want to call it, there are other facts that go hand in glove with this. 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan vets either with clinical depression of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The suicide rate of among veterans is anywhere between three and seven times higher than the rest of the country and this number of suicide attempts at a 1000 per month. Why are the numbers so terrifyingly high?
Rieckhoff: I would say it boils down because of the fact our country is not ready to receive these people, Keith. We’ve sent 1.7 million people to war in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. Hundreds of thousands of them are coming home with serious mental health problems. This Rand study that came out last week verifies it. We’re passed the point of canaries in the coalmine. Everybody knows there are serious mental health issues across the veterans’ population. And we’re not taking care of them. They’re backlogged at the VA, the average claim takes 183 days and it’s not a pro-active system.
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