Some Combat Vets Face Life-Death Struggle at Home: PTSD Video by NYT

A short op-ed video posted this weekend by the New York Times explores the death of an Iraq war veteran who overdosed on drugs in a possible suicide in 2010.

In early February, Sonny Joseph Mazon of San Jacinto, a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan, died after he reportedly tried to take his own life at Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

Mazon was accused of attempted murder for allegedly beating his girfriend in January, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

Mazon, 24, served with the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan, and he suffered a "," Mazon's infantry platoon leader said earlier this year.

This weekend, the New York Times posted an op-ed video, "Good Night, Ryan," with a short essay by filmmaker Timothy Grucza. The video is embedded at the top of this report. Click to view.

Grucza's video explores the death of Army Specialist Ryan Yurchison, who served in Iraq in 2006 and returned with PTSD. After seeking help at a V.A. hospital in Ohio, he died of a drug overdose in a possible suicide.

"In the United States, many people's understanding of the effects of war are limited to terms like shell shock, battle fatigue and Hollywood tales such as Rambo and Deer Hunter," Grucza said in his essay. "These terms immediately conjure images of adventure, stoicism and heroism.

"Today's clinical term is post-traumatic stress disorder. P.T.S.D. is hard to prevent, though it is treatable. I completely agree with Cherry, Ryan's mother, that the military takes these guys, uses them, and then sends them home as damaged goods without doing enough, if anything, to help them.

"Ryan's death was preventable and treatments exist, but veterans aren't getting the help they need and deserve."

Grucza is a New York-based filmmaker who has directed two feature-length documentaries from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Op-Ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof added perspective in "A Veteran’s Death, the Nation’s Shame," also published this weekend by the New York Times.

For information about PTSD and treatment available near the San Gorgonio Pass, visit www.ptsd.va.gov and www.lomalinda.va.gov

tony April 16, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Who defines the legitimacy of war(use of armed forces)? Methinks it's the wrong people. I was an angry young man before I went to Vietman so the violence there just stoked my anger and subdued any guilt or remorse accured there. I was probably an exception. Most don't realize the coping required to handle the experience for an ongoing length of time. Alcoholism drove me to my own brush with suicide but I was fortunate, my Redeemer lifted me above that. Treatment of psych issues with drugs is a tricky issue and Specialist Yurchison was taking Oxycodon, a synthetic opiate, a highly addictive pain killer. To any vets who think they have to wait to get into VA treatment for addictions=== find a meeting! There are millions of friends you haven't met yet waiting for you at AA/NA/CA etc, meetings to help you. And many are veterans like yourselves who "been there, done that"!
Mariana Zuelsdorf April 16, 2012 at 06:00 PM
PTSD is not adequately treated nor recognized. Part of the problem is diagnosis but every military member, who served in a war zone, should automatically be treated for PTSD. Serving multiple tours in a war zone is wrong. My heart aches for these brave men and women.
gewisn April 16, 2012 at 07:26 PM
If we begin to think of PTSD as a PUBLIC health problem, affecting the lives of the family, coworkers, and the public at home - then we'll see that everyone returning from a combat theater needs screening before and after arrival home. Just like if we were concerned about a contagion entering the US, we need to do real objective and clinical screening BEFORE returning home and again 2-3 times AFTER returning home, including discussions with family, close friends, etc. who've had contact with the Vet. How many wives/kids have to die, and Vets have to become addicted, isolated, ruined before we recognize the fact of this CONTAGIOUS illness?
Daniel Haszard April 16, 2012 at 07:30 PM
PTSD treatment for Veterans found ineffective. Eli Lilly Zyprexa can cause diabetes. I took Zyprexa Olanzapine a powerful Lilly schizophrenic drug for 4 years it was prescribed to me off-label for post traumatic stress disorder was ineffective costly and gave me diabetes. *FIVE at FIVE* The Zyprexa antipsychotic drug,whose side effects can include weight gain and diabetes, was sold to Veterans,children in foster care, elderly in nursing homes. *Five at Five* was the Zyprexa sales rep slogan, meaning *5mg dispensed at 5pm would keep patients quiet*. *Tell the truth don't be afraid*-- Daniel Haszard FMI zyprexa-victims(dot)com


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