As troops return home from 12 months of deployment, experts warn of what many refer to as "the invisible wounds".The military tends to let people fall through the cracks once they're back on US soil, living 'normal' lives after months or years of experiencing horrible things on a daily basis. I hope the brass is waking up to this problem, and that our government is appropriating more resources to help save our veterans' lives and sanity, both in country and back home.
Depression, isolation, stress, anger, divorce and suicide are just part of the emotional challenges facing some of the troops.
Scott Swaim, a Gulf War veteran and a therapist at Spring Valleys in Washington DC, says when troops first come home they initially go through "the honeymoon period"
But the images of horror many of them have seen are not memories they can easily leave behind.
"The depression is huge and suicide rates are off the charts," says Mr Swaim.
"Because there's a lot of stigma with mental illness. A lot of people never understand it and in the military there's a double stigma - we're soldiers, not victims," he adds.
Just this month a US Department of Defense task force reported that between 2005 and 2009, more than 1,100 members of the Armed Forces committed suicide.
Monday, August 30, 2010
For some, the war lingers for a long, long time
US soldiers returning from Iraq face 'invisible wounds'