Thursday, June 14, 2007

Jun 14, 6:27 PM EDT

Army Hiring More Psychiatrists

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Overwhelmed by the number of soldiers returning from war with mental problems, the Army is planning to hire more than 25 percent additional psychiatrists and other medical workers.

A contract finalized this week but not yet announced calls for spending $33 million to add about 200 psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers to help soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health needs, officials told The Associated Press on Thursday.

"As the war has gone on, PTSD and other psychological effects of war have increased," said Col. Elspeth Ritchie, psychiatry consultant to the Army surgeon general.

"The number of (mental health workers) that was adequate for a peacetime military is not adequate for a nation that's been at war," she said in an interview.

There is nothing I could add.


At 6:51 PM, Blogger Paddy said...


At 8:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to share with you a story that was in our local paper in Honolulu and my follow up letter to the "reporter".

Stabbed boy, 14, accuses dad via 911 call

Dear G. Park,

After reading your front page article in today’s Star-Bulletin, Stabbed boy, 14, accuses dad via 911 call, I was as I am sure most of your readers were sadden by this tragic event. After however reading the article to its end, my sadness quickly turned to disgust once I read the last paragraph; “He served with the 29th Brigade Combat Team in Iraq from February 2005 to January 2006”. My disgust emanates from experiencing once again, our fourth pillar of society (that’s, you, the news media in case you did not know) failing us on the real story here. The real story being that a US combat veteran returned home from Iraq and killed his wife, 14-year old boy and their young unborn child with a knife I am assuming was the same one he used on the battlefield. A more appropriate title of this story may have been something like “US combat veteran from Iraq murders family”.

Your form of journalism sickens me as it feeds off the sensationalism of the story however fails to dig into any real, substantive value that may benefit your readers / our society. Since you seem to be oblivious to this, the lesson to be learned here is that there are real costs to our society that this illegal war will bring that we are only just beginning to see. That is, many of our veterans are returning home with serious mental illness that go undiagnosed and with little help in terms of rehabilitative resources. A family destroyed, the costs associated with his pending court proceedings and subsequent incarceration. My dear friends’ mother works at Tripler as an MD and she alone is responsible for a 1500+ person case load.

I challenge you to do a substantive follow up story that explores these and other areas of this tragedy came to be. What did Mr. Vespers do in Iraq? What was his military record? Did he seek help? Was it made available to him? Were there warning signs? How did his behavior change when he returned?


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