Wednesday, December 06, 2006
PTSD Troops Shafted
Posted by Melissa McEwan at 6:17 AM on December 5, 2006.
Hazed, threatened, arrested, ignored
You know, there were many times I've told my wife -- in just a state of panic, and just being so upset -- that I really wished I just died over there. Cause if you just die over there, everyone writes you off as a hero. -- Iraq veteran Tyler Jennings
Jennings is only one of many soldiers whose post-traumatic stress disorder has been exponentially complicated by dark despair as they have been denied the help they need and subjected to ridicule, hazing, and even imprisonment.
Almost all of the soldiers said that their worst problem is that their supervisors and friends turned them into pariahs when they learned that they were having an emotional crisis. Supervisors said it's true: They are giving some soldiers with problems a hard time, because they don't belong in the Army.
Jennings called a supervisor at Ft. Carson to say that he had almost killed himself, so he was going to skip formation to check into a psychiatric ward. The Defense Department's clinical guidelines say that when a soldier has been planning suicide, one of the main ways to help is to put him in the hospital. Instead, officers sent a team of soldiers to his house to put him in jail, saying that Jennings was AWOL for missing work.
"I had them pounding on my door out there. They're saying 'Jennings, you're AWOL. The police are going to come get you. You've got 10 seconds to open up this door,'" Jennings said. "I was really scared about it. But finally, I opened the door up for them, and I was like 'I'm going to the hospital.'"
A supervisor in Jennings' platoon corroborated Jennings' account of the incident.
Jennings is being discharged for "patterns of misconduct," along with other soldiers whose misconduct includes symptoms of depression, slashing wrists, and drug use -- and whose files indicate that they, also like Jennings, have sought help for mental-health issues. Instead of support and treatment, they're thrown out of the Army with less than an honorable discharge.
In other words, the Army is pushing them out in disgrace.
Quite a homecoming for our troops.
(Via Erik at Alterdestiny)
Tagged as: troops
Melissa McEwan writes and edits the blog Shakespeare's Sister.
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