June 14, 2007

iraq-soldiers-ptsd15dec04.jpg Paddy at Cliff's blog alerted me to a story that I suspect is being wildly downplayed. From the AP wire:

Overwhelmed by the number of soldiers returning from war with mental problems, the Army is planning to hire at least 25 percent more psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers.

A contract finalized this week but not yet announced calls for spending $33 million to add about 200 mental health professionals to help soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health needs, officials told The Associated Press on Thursday.

"As the war has gone on, PTSD and other psychological effects of war have increased," said Col. Elspeth Ritchie, psychiatry consultant to the Army surgeon general.

It's not a new story, but without a doubt, this is going to be a growing issue for us, one that I'm sure the administration did not factor in at all. Daniel Zwerdling has done a series for NPR on PTSD in returning vets and the way they've been mistreated.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking is this Memorial Day blog by the wife of an Vietnam war vet who took his own life and her ongoing work to recognize and help vets suffering from PTSD before they act as her own husband did. Now that the administration is floating the concept that this will be a "generational" conflict, imagine the exponential damage and pain we're looking at...both here and in Iraq.

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