Tuesday, May 16, 2006

part iii of the hartford courant story on mental health in the military

there will be one more day of reports on this subject from the courant. i think they did an incredible AND excellent job on this story (stories actually). bravo to the reporters who worked on this!

Health Chief Responds
Assistant Secretary Of Defense: `Comprehensive Process' Determines Fitness


Assistant Secretary Of Defense: `Comprehensive Process' Determines Fitness

By LISA CHEDEKEL
And MATTHEW KAUFFMAN Courant Staff Writers

May 16 2006

The Defense Department's top health official and the Army Surgeon General on Monday defended the military's screening and treatment of mentally troubled troops, saying the mental health of service members is a top priority for the Armed Forces.

Responding to a series of articles in The Courant, Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said he was satisfied that troops with serious mental illnesses are not being deployed to Iraq, and service members who develop mental problems in the war zone are receiving appropriate care.

"Our policy and our practice is to ensure that every deploying service member is fit, both physically and mentally," he said. "We have a very comprehensive process to do this.".........

Amid Patriotism, Anger And Questions

By MATTHEW KAUFFMAN
The Hartford Courant

May 16 2006

WILLARDS, Md. -- Just off the two-lane main street of this southern Maryland town, a couple doors shy of the big lumber mill that rumbles all day like thunder, Ann and Jim Guy's modest dwelling is the picture of a patriotic American home.

Out front, atop a tall white pole that dominates the postage-stamp yard, a scarlet and gold Marine Corps flag flutters in the wind, bearing the essence of the elite fighting force: eagle, globe, anchor and the venerable motto "Semper Fidelis."

Inside the house, that iconic emblem is stitched into quilts and pillows, engraved into picture frames, and printed on the only coffee mug Ann will put her lips to. "My son," the mug proclaims. "One of the few, the proud." The same Marine emblem adorns the gold ring on Jim's finger, the buckle on his belt, the watch on his wrist, the cap on his head.

And in the small living room, just above the piano laden with yet more Marine mementos, is the emotional epicenter of this home - an oversize portrait of Pfc. Robert Allen Guy in his Marine dress blues - his jaw rigid, his eyes determined.

It is a recruiting brochure fantasy of a proud, faithful military family.

But that family doesn't live here anymore.

They began to vanish at 4:15 p.m. on April 22, 2005, the precise moment Ann pulled open her front door, looked up from her wheelchair and found a somber trio of men in uniform staring back at her............

Potent Mixture: Zoloft & A Rifle

The military told Congress that medications aren't used to keep soldiers with serious mental illness in combat. But a Courant investigation reveals that drugs are increasingly being handed out.

STORY By LISA CHEDEKEL And MATTHEW KAUFFMAN
The Hartford Courant

May 16 2006

When Army Sgt. 1st Class Mark C. Warren was diagnosed with depression soon after his deployment to Iraq, a military doctor handed him a supply of the mood-altering drug Effexor.

Marine Pfc. Robert Allen Guy was given Zoloft to relieve the depression he developed in Iraq.

And Army Pfc. Melissa Hobart was dutifully taking the Celexa she was prescribed to ease the anxiety of being separated from her young daughter while in Baghdad.

All three were given antidepressants to help them make it through their tours of duty in Iraq - and all came home in coffins.

Warren, 44, and Guy, 26, committed suicide last year, according to the military; Hobart, 22, collapsed in June 2004, of a still-undetermined cause.

The three are among a growing number of mentally troubled service members who are being kept in combat and treated with potent psychotropic medications - a little-examined practice driven in part by a need to maintain troop strength.

Interviews with troops, families and medical experts, as well as autopsy and investigative reports obtained by The Courant, reveal that the emphasis on retention has had dangerous, and sometimes tragic, consequences............

1 comment:

Daniel said...

If you are a victim of minor depression, it is possible for you to get rid of it with little effort but once you fall prey to serious depression, it may become altogether impossible to tackle this disorder without opting for medications. And among the medicines available in the market to treat depression, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder, Xanax and Zoloft are highly popular.