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POLL: Is the Army, Federal Government Doing Enough To Help Soldiers With Mental Health Problems?

The recent killing of 16 Afghan civilians, allegedly by a Joint Base Lewis-McChord staff sergeant, has raised questions about whether returning soldiers with mental health problems are getting enough attention. We put the question to you, Patch users.

The recent nighttime killing of 16 Afghanistan civilians, allegedly by a Joint Base Lewis-McChord staff sergeant, is prompting questions about whether the Army is doing enough to help soldiers returning from war with mental health issues.

The lawyer for Robert Bales, the Lake Tapps man accused of the killings, says his client suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and did not want to be redeployed on the mission in which he allegedly killed innocent Afghans.

The News Tribune reports that neighbors didn't see any outward signs of Bales, 38, suffering problems with mental illness. for failing to properly care for mentally ill soldiers.

So we put the question to you, Patch users. Do you feel the federal government does enough to care for returning soldiers who are suffering from mental health problems? Take our poll and talk about it in the comments section.

Andrea Veilleux March 18, 2012 at 05:48 PM
The person has to want the help for it to work. So you can push mental health appointments on them right after deployment but almost everyone knows how to lie their way out of more appointments. It took me almost 2 years after my deployment to speak up. Yes not many people have the kind of break between deployments like I did, but if I didn't get injured the first time I am sure there would have been many more deployments. After being home for so long and I was still having problems sleeping, being in large crowds, and many other issues I went in and I am working on getting better. It has been about a year of appointments and I have made a bit of hedge way, I still have a lot to work on but I am trying. People can fall off the wagon very easy and if they don't see what they are doing it may take a very long time to get back on and find the help they need. It isn't just soldiers who are having problems these days and that needs to me addressed just as much, if not more. How many office stabbibgs, or shootings in front of courthouses, or children getting guns and other children getting hurt or dying, or all these robberies, and so on go on around the country and none of the suspects were ever in the military, never deployed but yet still had a mental breakdown. So throwing all of this on repeated deployments with not enough done when they are home getting help is the easy way out. Like I said before, they have to want the help. If they don't want it then nothing an be done.
Mike Venuto March 18, 2012 at 06:01 PM
As a Vietnam Vet...during the Administrations following Nixon I was often asked by those working at the upper levels of government what to do about active duty and returning veterans from a war that was unpopular at the time and had a very hight KIA ratio...and suicide. Often I would advise that they have a neutral place to go voluntarily without pressure or recrimination to them personally... so someone came up with the idea of the store front Vet Center to bridge the trust gap between active duty personnel, veterans and the federal system. This gave everyone (seeking help) an opportunity to stand back discuss the issues they might be going though without fear of being branded by the system or recrimination. The Catholic faith has "Confession" and the "secrecy" of confession...this guarantees that nothing goes out of the Confessional, what is said there stays there. Active duty personnel and veterans should also be guaranteed this confidence, it could make a difference.

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