A drumbeat of recent news reports has called attention to rising rates of suicide among soldiers, post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and hardships of military families facing multiple deployments to war zones. How communities can help address these often shattering effects of war is the focus of public forums in several cities on or around Veterans Day.
In Hoboken, NJ, the Nov. 11 event is being held at the high school under the sponsorship of Mayor Dawn Zimmer and the Board of Education. It features a showing of “Leave No Soldier,” a documentary by Donna Bassin about veterans helping one another deal with troubling war legacies; a staged reading from a new play, “Flashback,” by Penny Coleman, about the emotional turmoil in families of veterans who killed themselves; and a panel discussion of veterans and counselors with the audience. Make the jump»
Netroots Nation has posted a video of my panel, Organizing as a Healing Process: A Fresh Look at PTSD.
Panelists discussed PTSD as a soul wound, an altered spiritual state that enables the sufferer to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances such as war, and severe personal or historical trauma. We related troop PTSD to the symptoms suffered by refugees and the survivors of disaster or genocide. People experiencing soul wounding have witnessed the naked face of humanity stripped of the divine. They are messengers, encouraging awareness of injustice and all that is wrong with our ordering of our world. Organizing heals the wounds of the sufferer, empowering her to tell her personal story, and allowing the rest of us to listen. Make the jump»
Cross-posted with permission of Penny Coleman from Alternet. The first of a series of three articles bY Penny Coleman.
How the justice system has been manipulated to put astonishing numbers of vets with PTSD and other psychiatric injuries behind bars.
Wayne McMahon was busted on gun charges six months after he got out of the Marines.
He was jumped by a gang of kids in his hometown of Albany, N.Y. , and he went for the assault rifle he kept in the back of his SUV.
He's serving "three flat, with two years of post-release" at Groveland Prison in upstate New York.
Maybe it's tempting to write McMahon off as just a screwed-up person who made the kinds of mistakes that should have landed him in jail, but maybe that's because his injuries don't show on the outside.
Unlike physical injuries, psychiatric injuries are invisible; the burden of proof lands on the soldier (or sailor or Marine), and such injuries are easy for the public to deny.
Posted on behalf of ClammyC. Welcome Back!
In all seriousness, I am extremely excited to even be in the same room as the most excellent people noted below, for a panel entitled Organizing as a Healing Process: A Fresh Perspective on PTSD, which is not only an incredibly important issue that touches people in all walks of life, but also includes DailyKos and netroots superstars such as Ilona Meagher, Mike Shriver (also known as dadanation), VetVoice’s Richard Smith (RockRichard), ePluribus Media’sDenise Ford and most importantly, Lauren Reichelt (TheFatLadySings), without whom, this panel would never have happened.
THURSDAY NIGHT IS HEALTH CARE CHANGE NIGHT, a weekly Health Care Series (cross-posted at Daily Kos)
A radical change in the social infrastructure of any society must be preceded or accompanied by a change in its consciousness. This week, I will talk about PTSD symbolism in Michael Jackson's music videos as it relates to America's changing collective awareness. Next week, I will discuss our "Thursday Night is Health Care Change Night" panel at Netroots Nation on organizing as a means of healing PTSD.
I particularly want to discuss Jackson's frequent invocation of two powerful archetypes central both to the experience of PTSD, and to the evolution or maintenance of empire: playful Hermes, puer aeternus, child genius, trickster, thief, messenger, god of healing, the lyre and all that is liminal; and the more menacing Dionysius, lychenthrope, trickster, Lord of the Animals, Beast Within. Make the jump»
This comes from Nadia McCaffery who's son Patrick was killed in Iraq. Her campaign to Honor her son, and all that serve:
Sgt Patrick Ryan McCaffrey May 26 1970 * June 22 2004
In Central Minnesota, there is a 244 acre facility with a history of providing healing and training to those in need. For ten years, it has been waiting for a new vision. Valley Forge Village is a vision of a place of peace and beauty for Veterans to heal. Either alone or with their families, they can allow the spirit of nature to soothe and heal, while learning new training skills in a rapidly changing workplace. We desperately need funding to keep this vision alive. Please visit us at Valley Forge Center for more information and/or to make a donation.
Promoted. Originally posted 2009-06-06 08:15:56 -0400. -- GH
Back on the 25th, of last month, for Memorial Day I put up a post to cover an interview about a new book release I caught on NPR's WBUR Here and Now, out of Boston.
While waiting for them to put up the stream link after the show I did some searching, for information on the book as well as some back information on what's covered in same.
Below you will find that post but UpDated, with a few more links and audio discussion, I've found since the posting.
Today is the Celebration for Europe and the United States of D-Day President will address veterans at American cemetery on Omaha Beach, this is not to celebrate but to Remind, and in many cases Instill in everyones minds, there's other sides, long living results, of All Wars Waged and not only for those who serve in them!
I had a first hand view, though very young than, and like the rest of the extended family didn't realize it, of what War does to those that serve in them, and you then have to extend that to those that live in where they occur. Make the jump»
Promoted. -- GH
How to handle traumatic war events has famously ranged from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address—exhorting survivors of fratricidal, in some cases suicidal Civil War battles to “resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain”—to General Patton slapping a soldier hospitalized for psychoneurosis, a term used in World War II for what is now called post-traumatic stress disorder.
Now we have a general screaming at soldiers back from multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan that they better not dare commit suicide. "It's bad for soldiers, it's bad for families, bad for your units, bad for this division and our army and our country and it's got to stop now. Suicides on Fort Campbell have to stop now," Brigadier General Stephen Townsend recently told 101st Airborne Division paratroops, according to news reports. Townsend is the commander at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, which “has recorded the highest rate of suicide in the army, with at least 11 confirmed or suspected suicides,” Agency France-Presse reported in May.
“Last year 128 soldiers took their lives, up from 115 in 2007, as tours of duty since 2001 have come ever more frequently and last longer. With 64 confirmed or suspected suicides so far this year, the army looks likely to surpass last year's record numbers,” the AFP report added. Why so many soldiers are killing themselves should be no mystery to military leaders. “Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said he believes the suicides are tied to the repeated deployments that have put a strain on soldiers and their families.” Mullen has ordered the military to “look at ways to relieve that stress.”
But the macho posture of military culture hasn’t changed much since Patton slapped a soldier and called him a coward. “In a 2008 poll by the American Psychological Association (APA), 61 percent of servicemen and women said that asking for help to treat psychological problems would have a negative impact on their career, and 53 percent said it would decrease their status among their peers,” AFP noted.Make the jump»
Like a recent tragic event in Iraq brought out a number of reports on PTSD around the country there have also been a number of other reports as well that focussed on the homeless veterans, the first one just below is in and around this Nations Capital:
A new report is giving sobering statistics about how homeless veterans are treated in the Washington area.
The report says beds are available for only 10% of the homeless vets in Virginia, 8% have beds in Maryland and in the District, there is room is less than 2%.
From the Iraq War with the Army's First Calvary Division to fighting a battle to find homes for fellow veterans, Chad Lego says he never imagined when he came home, he would find some 200,000 service members homeless. >>>>>More
A number of reports have sprung up in the last few days following the very tragic shooting by one soldier in killing five of his fellow soldiers at an in country military stress clinic, of which he himself was receiving care.
Military training alone starts the process of the change needed from how most are brought up and what they are taught and told to be able to serve and defend, if needed, this country.
Place these now trained soldiers in a War Zone creating the Occupation of same lasting many years and now in these times many tours being served and not only in one but two and for many the stress of war, what they experience, their individual incidents, what they see, feel, and just know, is overwelming!
They aren't the only ones, think of those who live in these occupied countries! It also isn't only a war that creates the traumatic nightmares, individuals that experience trauma in theirs lives also can suffer, most silently, from those traumas!
Below is a number of recent reports, this subject should have been takin seriously many years ago after finally realizing what War and Trauma can do to a Human Being!
The day after the shooting at a combat stress clinic in Iraq, new data released to Salon shows soldiers committing suicide at a record-setting pace. Is combat stress the reason?
The Army is on a pace this year to shatter the record suicide rate set among soldiers in 2008, according to data released by the Army to Salon. And the numbers, obtained a day after a patient at a combat stress clinic in Iraq killed five, suggest that combat stress may be contributing to the spike in suicides.
We're killing ourselves.
The nation's armed forces were put into Iraq on false premises, with poor judgement by the senior officials of the Bush Administration, and then subjected to extended stop-loss rotation extensions, reduced recovery times and abysmal medical care track records.
It's taking a toll. Not only in terms of damage (physical, emotional, spiritual and financial) but in terms of our ongoing security, both foreign and domestic.
And now this:
Deadly shooting at US base in Iraq
Five US soldiers have been killed by a fellow soldier at their base in Baghdad, according to the US military.
The shooting was the highest death toll for US military personnel in a single attack since April 10, when a suicide blast killed five US soldiers near a police headquarters in the northern city of Mosul.
There have been a number of previous incidents in which US soldiers have attacked their colleagues in Iraq.
The last such report was on September 14 when US sergeant Joseph Bozicevich shot dead two of his superiors at a base south of the capital.
We need to get out. And we need to prosecute those who put us in there to begin with, because they're the same people who also created the torture program, the illegal warrantless wiretap program, the fiascos tied to the politicalization of the DoJ and hiding the problems with veteran's healthcare...and they were supposed to be setting an example.
Not destroying the rule of law, or breaking our military.
Not invading other countries or trying to score political points at the expense of our nation, our laws or our people.
Haven't we had enough yet, folks? Make the jump»
Promoted. Originally posted 2009-04-25 06:33:43 -0500. -- GH
Four soldiers navigate the difficult path to recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI), the signature injury of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Season 2, Episode 2: In Their Boots: Fractured Minds
HomePage, In Their Boots: Watch the first and second episodes of this years series, second is the one above. And watch the episodes from last year at the site, as well as all the referring links for veterans, military, military families and civilians. Make the jump»
Originally posted, 2009-04-19 07:40:19 -0500, bumped by carol. Checking out recent comments, I realized that this commentary had been overlooked. Thanks to Dadanation for his comment. I'm going to add a comment from an email that came to me today. A crucial vote on Health Care comes up today in the Senate, to do with the rules.
PTSD sufferers can't always leave the war behind.
Sergeant Nicholas Horner and his Wife Tragedy and war-inspired Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can meet like a head on crash when the nation's care providers at the Veterans Administration, notorious for lies and deceit, deny our combat veterans the care they need.
This story of deadly, senseless shootings in Altoona, Pennsylvania April 6th is possibly the most tragic story I have ever reported, and if it isn't, it is among the very worst.