Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are effecting soldiers who have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars at an alarming rate. In 2009, the Department of Veteran Affairs calculated about 37 percent of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have mental health problems. Nearly a 50 percent increase from the last time the prevelance was calculated. The study examined 289,000 veterans who sought care at the VA between 2002 and 2008, found higher rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression.
RAND Corporation released a study that showed about 300,000 U.S. troops sent to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD or major depression, and 320,000 suffer from TBI. PTSD is said to be the most prevalent mental disorder arising from combat. The approximate suicide rate in the Army is 20 suicides in every 100,000 soldiers.
According to AmericanProgress.org, as of April 2008, 1 in 5 troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan show signs or symptoms of PTSD. Over 40,000 veterans have been treated at VA hospitals for substance abuse. 150,000 to 300,000 veterans have suffered a TBI during the war. 30 percent of soldiers have been admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center who suffer from TBI. 121 suicides in 2007 and 150 percent increase in VA disability pay for PTSD among veterans between 1999 and 2004. ($4.2 billion)
Suicide is not the only issue soldiers are facing who suffer from PTSD. Soldiers are also being charged with murder, manslaughter or homicide involving fatal car crashes resulting from drunken, reckless or suicidal driving. Soldiers are coming home with anger, depression, drug and/or alcohol problems.
As of January 2008, the New York Times found 121 cases in which Iraq and Afghanistan veterans committed murder in the United States. Three-quarters of these veterans were still in the military at the time of the killing. (More than half of them involved guns.) 121 war veterans received no more than a cursory mental health screening at the end of their deployments. (According to interviews with the veterans, lawyers, relatives and prosecutors.) This showed an 89 percent increase in murders during the present wartime period, from 184 to 349 cases.
"The real tragedy in these veterans' case is that, where PTSD is a factor, it is highly treatable," said Lawrence Sherman, director of the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania. "And when people are exposed to serious trauma and do not get treated, it becomes a serious risk factor for violence."
PTSD, TBI, depression, anger, addiction, suicide and murder are resulting behaviors that our soldiers are facing today. The VA does not offer enough help for these men and women to get back to living a normal life. With this petition, "A Soldiers Silent Cry" we hope to correct that. We want to give the soldiers their dignity and self-respect; to rid the stigma of soldiers feeling weak amongst their commrades for seeking help. "A Soldiers Silent Cry" is designed to help the soldiers see the truth about PTSD and the reality that lies beneath it; to give them the opportunity to seek help, and the chance to get back to a healthy life.
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