Veteranclaims’s Blog

November 18, 2009

Depressant Use Among Combat Troops

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — veteranclaims @ 2:15 am

These are some sobering numbers, especially the number of active duty combat personnel on medications.
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Mental health problems and suicide appear to now be systemic in the military.

By October 2007, data within the Army’s fifth Mental Health Advisory Team report indicated that approximately 12 percent of combat troops in Iraq and 17 percent of those in Afghanistan were coping by taking prescription antidepressants and/or sleeping pills to cope.

In 2008, the Daily Telegraph of London reported that two out of five suicide victims among troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have been found to be on antidepressants.

In April 2008, the RAND Corporation released a stunning report revealing, “Nearly 20 percent of military service members who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan – 300,000 in all – report symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression, yet only slightly more than half have sought treatment.”

A 2008 court case in California revealed a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) email that revealed 1,000 veterans who are receiving care from the VA are attempting suicide every single month, and 18 veterans kill themselves daily.
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Full Article at: U.S. Army Underreporting Suicides, Says GI Advocacy Group
By Dahr Jamail

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Nov 16 (IPS) – According to a soldiers’ advocacy group at Fort Hood, the U.S. base where an army psychiatrist has been charged with killing 13 people and wounding 30 in a Nov. 5 rampage, the official suicide figures provided by the Army are “definitely” too low.

Chuck Luther served 12 years in the military and is a veteran of two deployments to Iraq, where he was a reconnaissance scout in the 1st Cavalry Division. The former sergeant was based at Fort Hood, where he lives today.

“I see the ugly,” Luther told IPS. “I see soldiers beating their wives and trying to kill themselves all the time, and most folks don’t want to look at this, including the military.”

Luther, who in 2007 became the founder and director of the Soldier’s Advocacy Group of Disposable Warriors, knows about these types of internal problems in the military because he has been through many of them himself.

Luther told IPS that he believes the real number of soldiers at Fort Hood committing suicide is being dramatically underreported by the military.”

“Mental health problems and suicide appear to now be systemic in the military.

By October 2007, data within the Army’s fifth Mental Health Advisory Team report indicated that approximately 12 percent of combat troops in Iraq and 17 percent of those in Afghanistan were coping by taking prescription antidepressants and/or sleeping pills to cope.

In 2008, the Daily Telegraph of London reported that two out of five suicide victims among troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have been found to be on antidepressants.

In April 2008, the RAND Corporation released a stunning report revealing, “Nearly 20 percent of military service members who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan – 300,000 in all – report symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression, yet only slightly more than half have sought treatment.”

A 2008 court case in California revealed a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) email that revealed 1,000 veterans who are receiving care from the VA are attempting suicide every single month, and 18 veterans kill themselves daily.”

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