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News stories tagged with "ptsd"

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) meets the press at Fort Drum Monday
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) meets the press at Fort Drum Monday

Gillibrand focuses on military families at Fort Drum

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand focused on the wellness of soldiers and their families at Fort Drum yesterday. It was the Democrat's first visit to the Army base near Watertown. Gillibrand praised Fort Drum's role in protecting the country and revitalizing the local economy. But she said soldiers need more downtime and more mental health resources. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Story 2.0: drunk driving still problem at Fort Drum

Last year, Fort Drum began posting the names and photos of soldiers who were arrested for drunk driving while intoxicated in the post newspaper. The unusual step was taken by Drum's commanding general when he was alerted to high DWI rates among his soldiers. Today, Major General Michael Oates says the situation has not improved. He's taken another unusual step: asking his troops for answers on his blog. Martha Foley and David Sommerstein revisit this story for our series, Story 2.0.  Go to full article

Facing rising soldier suicide rate, vet groups call for more mental health help

Last week, the U.S. Army announced 2008 saw the highest soldier suicide rate on record. Now, the news is even worse. The Army believes 24 more soldiers committed suicide just last month, six times the number from January 2008. One Army official told CNN, "this is terrifying, we do not know what's going on." Inside the Army and out, experts agree back-to-back deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan are taking a devastating toll on mental health among soldiers. The Army has been trying to catch up on treating post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Tom Tarantino says it's still not enough. Tarantino is an Iraq veteran and is a policy associate for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. The group was lobbying Capitol Hill last week for more mental health care for veterans. Tarantino told David Sommerstein there is still a stubborn stigma among soldiers attached with seeking help.  Go to full article

Ft. Drum draws attention to soldier suicide

The United States Army is facing a particularly grim statistic. After a record number of soldiers killed themselves last year, the number of suicides is on pace to be even higher this year. According to the Associated Press, there are 62 confirmed suicides among active duty soldiers and Guard and Reserve troops called to active duty in 2008. Another 31 deaths appear to be suicides but are still being investigated. Army Secretary Pete Geren told the AP, "Army leaders are fully aware that repeated deployments have led to increased distress and anxiety for both soldiers and their families." Friday morning at Fort Drum, officials are drawing attention to the danger of suicide with a memorial walk at 11 am. The public is invited to attend. David Sommerstein spoke with Ralph Marcellus, the coordinator of Fort Drum's suicide awareness and prevention campaign.  Go to full article
A scene from "Virtual Iraq" (Source:  University of Southern California)
A scene from "Virtual Iraq" (Source: University of Southern California)

"Virtual Iraq" aims to help soldiers overcome Post Traumatic Stress

New Pentagon figures show 40,000 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder since 2003. But Army officials believe many more are keeping their illness secret. A study released last month by the Rand Corporation puts the number much higher. It found that 300,000 - one in five veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan -- suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or major depression. Army Surgeon General Eric Schoomaker says officials are encouraging troops to get help, military or civilian. Fort Drum in Watertown has begun expanding its mental health programs. The VA is also scrambling to create new therapy methods to treat PTSD. In the May 19 issue of The New Yorker magazine, North Country writer Sue Halpern profiled one experimental new treatment called "Virtual Iraq."

Halpern told Brian Mann the story of one Marine named Travis Boyd who used the "virtual reality" computer simulation to heal from his wartime experience.  Go to full article

Advocates want coverage for PTSD

Mental health advocates are asking New York's legislature to expand unlimited mental health coverage for people with post traumatic stress disorder, including returning war veterans and victims of domestic violence. Karen DeWitt reports from Albany.  Go to full article

More soldier DWIs at Fort Drum

Late Friday night, a 23 year-old Fort Drum soldier injured seven pedestrians when he plowed into a crowd leaving a music club in Watertown. Kristopher Hendricks hit a parked car, then drove the wrong way down a one-way street. He was charged with drunk driving. Watertown police say all the people Hendricks hit are fellow soldiers. All but one has been released from the hospital. The incident came a week after Fort Drum's weekly newspaper began publishing the names and photos of soldiers arrested for DWI. The policy has touched off a debate over the best way to handle the misdeeds of combat veterans who have recently returned from Iraq or Afghanistan. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

10th Mtn. soldier seeks mistreatment probe

A 10th Mountain Division soldier planned to turn himself in Friday after he went AWOL to avoid deployment to Iraq. But according to the Watertown Daily Times, 21 year-old Specialist Brian Currie became agitated as he approached Fort Drum and decided he couldn't go through with it. Currie says a military doctor ruled him unfit for deployment from injuries sustained in Afghanistan. He and 4 other soldiers are requesting a military court of inquiry investigate allegations of harassment and mistreatment. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Substance abuse increases at Ft. Drum

Fort Drum's commander says an increase in drunk driving, drug use, and other crimes among soldiers is unacceptable. And he's using public pressure to deal with it. The base newspaper will publish the names and photos of soldiers charged with DWI. 3500 Fort Drum soldiers returned from Iraq last November. It was the second or third tour of duty for many of them. As David Sommerstein reports, substance abuse is often associated with combat trauma.  Go to full article

Drum Headquarters trains for Iraq

Fort Drum's main headquarters is getting ready to take control of the south-central area of Iraq. Major General Michael Oates, the base's commander, will lead more than a thousand troops to Iraq in May. While they're there, three other 10th Mountain Division brigades will be preparing to deploy this fall. Yesterday, General Oates gave some members of the media a tour of a training war room that's a replica of the real thing in Iraq. David Sommerstein was there and has this report.  Go to full article

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