Sunday, September 26, 2010

I have a new story up at Reuters this morning, with Nick Carey, about veterans of the Iraqi and Afghan wars with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries:

More than one in four U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars in the state of Virginia say they have suffered a service-related head injury and two thirds reported depression, according to a report by Virginia Tech to be released on Tuesday.

The real numbers may be much higher, according to Mary Beth Dunkenberger, senior program director at the Institute for Policy and Governance at Virginia Tech and author of the report.

In focus groups many veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan said they were afraid to admit to suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during demobilization because it would keep them from their families and hurt their careers, she told Reuters.

"During demobilization troops are kind of on a high and just want to see their families," she said. "If they admit to having PTSD, they know it could be weeks until they see their families so there is a tendency to minimize their symptoms."

"Also career soldiers are reluctant to speak up because they're afraid it could hurt their future prospects in the military," she added, "while those returning to civilian life are afraid that no one will employ them if they're known to suffer from PTSD."

The report was compiled for the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program, which is operated by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, and was provided in advance to Reuters. It found that 66 percent of veterans of these two wars reported suffering from some form of depression, second only to Vietnam veterans. Ten percent cited a high level of depression. Thirteen percent said they had suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and 26 percent said they had sustained a service-related head injury...

Read the whole story here. Other Reuters stories by Murray Waas: Murray Waas(Editor: Ed Tobin), "Obama, Politicians Decline to Return Obama Money," Reuters, Feb. 13, 2002. Murray Waas(Editor: Martin Howell), "How Allen Stanford Kept the SEC at Bay," Reuters, January 26, 2012. Murray Waas, "How Allen Stanford Kept the SEC at Bay," Reuters, January 26, 2012. Murray Waas(Editor: Jim Impoco),"Tea Party Candidates Only a Democrat Could Love," Reuters, Dec, 27, 2010. Nick Carey and Murray Waas, "Virginia Veteran Report Shows High Depression Rate", Reuters, September 27, 2010.