Sunday, March 16, 2008

did you know we had 11,000 returning troops

in our state (from the war)? i didn't. that's a HUGE number. did you know that at the VERY LEAST 1/4 of them have symptoms for ptsd? i didn't.

Many Returning Troops Struggle To Reconnect
By LISA CHEDEKEL Courant Staff Writer
From a distance, the more than 11,000 state residents who have returned from war in the past five years have disappeared seamlessly into the Connecticut landscape — back to colleges, spouses, civilian or military jobs.But up close, the transition has not been so smooth.A first-ever survey of returning state troops shows that at least one-quarter of them meet the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, while many cite problems with a spouse or partner and difficulties "connecting emotionally with family" as major concerns. A state mental health hot line has fielded more than 300 calls for assistance from Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their family members in the past nine months. Recently, the state veterans' affairs commissioner has begun working with the courts to ensure that increasing numbers of recently returned troops who are arrested for domestic violence, drunken driving or other offenses are flagged and referred to counseling programs."There's a lot of real high risks here — not only for the military members themselves, but for their families," said Linda Schwartz, commissioner of the state Department of Veterans' Affairs. "We have people in almost every town in our state who have served deployments, and the VA is just not going to be able to get to them all. We have to do more to reach out to them … to catch them when they fall."............

......The state's mental health hot line for military members who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and their family members is 866-251-2913................

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