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Army (Finally) Hires More Shrinks

Posted on Jun 14, 2007

The Army plans to hire roughly 200 additional mental health workers to help care for ailing soldiers. Thirty-five percent of troops seek mental health care a year after coming home and between 15 and 20 percent of soldiers in Iraq show signs of post-traumatic stress. The latest Pentagon study found military mental health care to be inadequate.


The new hiring, which [Col. Elspeth Ritchie, psychiatry consultant to the Army surgeon general] said could begin immediately, is part of a wider plan of action the Army has laid out to improve health care to wounded or ill veterans and their families. It also comes as the Defense Department completes a wider mental health study—the latest in a series over recent months that has found services for troops have been inadequate.

Ritchie said long and repeat deployments caused by extended wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are causing more mental strain on troops. “At the time that the war began, I don’t think anybody anticipated how long it would be going on,” she said.

Surveys of troops in Iraq have shown that 15 percent to 20 percent of Army soldiers have signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress, which can cause flashbacks of traumatic combat experiences and other severe reactions.

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Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, June 16, 2007 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

Gee, I wonder why soldiers suffer from a high rate of mental illness and suicide?

Maybe it starts with boot camp, where the express purpose is to strip everyone of their individuality.

Maybe it continues with constant training on how to more efficiently kill people you’ve never met (and would probably even like if you had a chance to sit down and talk with them over a cup of coffee).

Maybe it continues with being put into a kill-or-be-killed situation (patriotically called a “war”).

Maybe it gets worse when the soldier realizes he’s fighting, not for “freedom” or to “defend the homeland,” but for the benefit of businesses whose main “marketing strategy” is “partnership with the government.” (For more details, see the writings of CMH honoree Smedley Butler: “War is a Racket.”)

Maybe it gets worse when the soldier realizes this ain’t like the movies, where John Wayne dies heroically in his buddy’s arms, praising “freedom.” The reality is your best friend being turned into a spray of blood and chunks of meat.

Maybe it gets even worse when you “liberate” people, and then realize they hate your guts for it.

Then, the people you’ve “liberated” start killing your buddies.

Maybe it gets worse when your best friend gets hit by an IED, and you end up having to feed him, get him dressed, and help him clean himself. Oh, and he no longer recognizes you, anyway.

Those who stood in the street waving the flag and demanding war with Iraq—well, they just make me want to throw up. Of course, they didn’t join the army; they’re still living in the John Wayne fantasy world.

Someday, people are going to wake up to this con game called “patriotism” and its practical result: war.

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By Hammo, June 15, 2007 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

According to recent news stories, the privately administered TRICARE military health insurance program is unable to provide adequate numbers of qualified behavioral health professionlas too.

According to reports, the fees they pay are so low that good health care providers do not participate, leaving fewer and possibly lower quality therapists available.

Food for thought in the articles . . .

“U.S. troops in Iraq taking drugs to cope with stress, trauma”

-  -  -

“American troops are cracking under horrors, deception and lies of Iraq war”

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By moni, June 15, 2007 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ritchie, (as well as Rice, Rumsfeld, Cheyney, et al) said she didn’t think ANYBODY anticipated that the WAR would go on for so long ?  What kind of gibberish is that ?  All the hundreds of thousands of War protesters, across the globe who took to the streets against the war DID ANTICIPATE that invading Iraq was a huge mistake.  Most people with a minimum of education could see the blunder of pre-emptive attack.  Most people who have travelled or lived abroad could see the sheer FOLLY of an UNJUST WAR. Most compassionate people with a grasp on reality and a concern for our fragile Planet Earth understood the complexities of the society that BU$H & Co were intent on destroying.

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By GW=MCHammered, June 15, 2007 at 9:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gotta chance to get this close to right… Offer psychological services to families too ‘cause everyone’s coping skills will need upgrading. And instead of elevating politicians, the media could better serve the public by covering some of these true American hero tales.

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By Dick - Lil Fat Buddy - Cheney, June 15, 2007 at 12:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mental Health Workers were employees of Halliburton KBR or Titan Corporation.  One more money making scam for the friends of the Bush/Cheney Dynamic Duo.

Will these Mental Health Workers be Ex-Abu Gharib Interrogators?

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G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, June 14, 2007 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment

I don’t understand, is it to keep them from our soldiers from comitting suicide?

Or is to to patch them up psychologically so they can go back to War?

It it was up to me, I’d certify all the soldiers as psychologically unfit to serve, and send them right home. The best therapy for them is knowing, their tour is over when it’s over, hugs of their children and loved ones, and two feet on terra firma in the Good ol USA.

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By Anthony Martin Dambrosi, June 14, 2007 at 10:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I find the use of the Secretary Rice Defense of: “I don’t think anybody could’ve anticipated how long it would be going on.” with respect to this uncalled for war dispicable. The AP could use some backbone here as well with some cogent follow up questions. Such as:

You mean no one in the Bush Administration?
No one in the Pentagon?
No one in the Joint Chiefs?
No one who wanted to keep their job?
No one in the Congress?
No one in the entire US?
No combat veterans?

How about this for a closer.
Is’nt it your job to anticipate casualties?
If it is then Why do You still have Your job?

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By Tom Doff, June 14, 2007 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great idea, and if these shrinks work out, they ought to hire another 100 or so as permanent counselors for the General Officers, to work on their masculinity, truthiness, and wimpiness psychoses, and perhaps alleviate the need for PTSD counseling for our soldiers, by eliminating the causes of the traumas.

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