Archive for April, 2010

29
Apr

Who wouldn’t want a soldier suffering PTSD to get the help he or she needs?  Our attitudes and awareness have evolved light years since World War II when we saw “battle fatigue” as an excuse for cowardice and treated it with either Thorazine or an ice pick to the brain.  Today the term “PTSD” is universally familiar, and the success of movies like “The Hurt Locker” and “Brothers” reveals a deep vein of sympathy and compassion towards our soldiers who suffer from war’s traumas.

So how is it that soldiers like Eric Jasinski cannot get the mental health care they need?  Rather than treating his severe PTSD, the Army courtmartialed him for refusing to go back to Iraq, and he spent twenty-five days of this month in Bell County Jail near Fort Hood in Texas.

Eric enlisted in 2005 and was deployed to Iraq in 2006 where he collected intelligence that helped determine the location of air strikes. “What I saw and what I did in Iraq caused my PTSD,” he told reporters before his trial.  “I went to get help and had an eight hour wait to see one of five doctors.  I ended up getting a letter that instructed me to go see a civilian doctor, and she diagnosed me with PTSD.  I began taking the medications (Zoloft, Seraquil, Periactim, and Ambien), and they were helping, because I thought I was to get out of the Army in February 2009 when my contract expired.” 



But in late 2008 the Army extended his service and gave him a 90-day supply of meds to get him back to Iraq.  (As if the meds alone could take care of his PTSD, let alone enable him to return to Iraq.)  When he told a counselor “I don’t know what I’m going to do if I go back to Iraq,” the counselor asked if he was suicidal.   When Jasinski responded, “I’m not planning on going home and blowing my brains out,” the counselor told him he was then good to go to Iraq.

“There was no way I could go back with my untreated PTSD.  I needed more help.”  He went AWOL during his pre-deployment leave break, and on December 11, 2009 turned himself in to authorities at Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas. 



His civilian lawyer, James Branum, believes that Jasinski’s case highlights the need of the military to provide better mental health care for its soldiers.
 Even while the Army has seen a record number of suicides since 2006 and an escalation of soldier-on-soldier violence, it still does not provide its veterans meaningful mental health treatment. Practitioners are overwhelmed, the demand far outstripping the supply of qualified professionals.

Eric Jasinski is not an isolated individual.  He represents countless service men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who see no choice but to go AWOL when the military does not provide them meaningful mental health care treatment for their PTSD. 
According to a 2008 Rand Corporation report, at least 300,000 veterans returning from both wars have been diagnosed with severe depression or PTSD. 



Eric Jasinski offers advice to his fellow service members: “Do not, do not let a 5-10 minute review by a military doctor determine if you go to Iraq.  Even if you have to pay out of pocket, go to a civilian doctor.  Even then I’m not sure that will help… but you have to take that chance.” 

He believes we need a total overhaul of the military’s mental health care and more experienced psychiatrists– ones who are first and foremost dedicated to the well-being of their patients rather than the “good ole boy” system of their superiors.

We civilians must open our eyes to the treatment our combat vets are receiving.  In our names they have served, and because of that service, they are suffering.  We are all implicated in their suffering.

The Multigenerational Ripple of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
12
Apr

Last week I attended the Association of Writers Program annual conference- a glorious feast of writers talking about craft, business, trends, discoveries.  To be amongst so many fellow writers exhilarated and replenished me.  On the last day I attended a panel discussion about teaching writing to veterans.  Though I had begun realizing that many people around the country have been dedicating themselves to helping vets re-integrate themselves back into civilian life and healing spiritually and emotionally, this panel discussion opened my eyes to how deep and wide the river of attention is running.

The Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project: the mission of which is “to encourage veterans to write, through the coordinated efforts of volunteers and/or VA medical center staff. Veterans often experience traumatic and life-changing experiences in the service of their country. Writing serves as therapy for many veterans who participate through VA medical centers.” www.veteransvoices.org/mission

The National Endowment for the Arts’ Operation Homecoming: brings “the transformative power of writing to men and women who have undergone enormously challenging experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. In historical terms, it gives voice to the troops who have served in this war.” “Since 2004, the NEA Operation Homecoming writing program has collected the stories of U.S. military personnel and their families. With support from The Boeing Company, Operation Homecoming has brought more than 60 writing workshops to troops at more than 30 domestic and overseas military installations from Camp Pendleton in California to USS Carl Vinson in the Persian Gulf and Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.” www.arts.endow.gov/national/homecoming/index.html

VetArt Project – “creates opportunities for veterans and their family members to work in collaboration with artists from all disciplines to create new art about war for public performance and viewing. Our goals are to support our veterans, create stronger voices among our veterans, provide new opportunities for artists, and offer a venue to hear the voices of our veterans and artists, and foster discussions about how war affects us all.” vetartproject.com/

Warrior Writers – “creates a culture that articulates veterans’ experiences and provides the opportunity for a creative community for artistic expression among veterans. We provide witness to the lived experiences of warriors. Through writing/artistic workshops that are based on their experiences in the military, Afghanistan and Iraq, participants connect with other veterans on a personal and artistic level. Art is compiled into books, performances and exhibits that provide a lens into the hearts of people who experienced war. www.warriorwriters.org/

The Iraq Veterans Writing Workshop: a free, non-partisan outreach program offered by the New York University Writing Program to the veterans’ community in and around New York City.  contact person- zachary.sussman@nyu.edu

Many other colleges and universities– too many to list- also now offer writing workshops and classes specifically for veterans, who are attending school after deployment in record numbers.  If you are a veteran attending school and are interested in exploring how writing can help you, contact your veterans’ co-ordinator or the school’s writing program.

Vet’s Midwest Writing Workshop – April 23-25, 2010 midwestvetswritingworkshop.com/

VetsWrite4Life – “Veterans of war, ANY war, or veterans of the wounds of living, particularly if you are suffering from PTSD, join with a community of people who are WRITING their way back from shame. We’re following method developed by Maxine Hong Kingston in her ongoing veterans writing workshops. Tell your story as it happened or in fiction. Prose, poetry or whatever is OK as long as it’s honest. You can request feedback or not. You can ask for comments or critiques about a specific aspect of your writing that will make it clearer and stronger.” groups.yahoo.com/group/VetsWrite4Life/

The plethora of writing and art programs for veterans is testimony to the healing power of art.  As one panelist said last week at the AWP conference, “Writing kept me alive.”

If you are not a veteran but wish to be of service to those who are, almost all of the programs listed above need volunteers.  Contact them.  My work and conversations with veterans have been invaluable to me.  I hope I have given to them as much as their honesty and courage to reveal their pain have given to me.

The Multigenerational Ripple of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
فروشگاه اینترنتی خرید ساعت مچی ساعت مچی مردانه ساعت مچی زنانه قهوه نسکافه