by Kathie Costos
(April 28, 2013) – When bombs blew up in Boston on April 15th, they set off a chain reaction few want to talk about. We were all amazed when average people rushed to help total strangers even though they did not know if another bomb would blow up or not. We had out hearts warmed as a double amputee Marine took it upon himself to go and comfort a survivor who just lost her legs. What we failed to understand is this is what they went through in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There is an untold story that follows many home from combat. While they believe they have escaped the worst of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, many are only experiencing the time when PTSD is sleeping just gaining strength. When a “secondary stressor” like what happened in Boston takes them by surprise, they are not prepared for it.
You would think that after billions of dollars have been spent since 2008 in “resilience training” across the branches, they would not suffer. After all, that is what the Department of Defense has told us all these years. You would think that no one is going without help but again, that is only because of what they told us. The truth is far more shocking.
RAND Corp did a study on some of the 900 prevention programs the military has and found that aside from there has never been any proof to substantiate the claim made that people can be taught to become resilient, these programs do not work in military culture. As a matter of fact, they harm the ability to adapt. Other groups have come out and said the same thing and one psychiatrist, Bryant Welch said “From my vantage point I find CSF (Comprehensive Soldier Fitness abhorrent.” Because it was based on what some psychologist use for school aged children to help them feel better about themselves. The “trainers” get 10 hours of training and then they go out and teach it to other soldiers. The Coalition for Ethical Psychology said “These programs could undermine coping mechanisms developed by the troops who already successfully handle stress.”
Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly just submitted a Bill addressing military suicides that could in fact make all this worse. It was the way it was worded that would test the soldiers to see if they were “fit for service” which is a huge problem. When you have men and women thinking they may end up getting discharged, they will lie to stay in. Most of them have never thought of doing anything else but serving. Take that away from them and you take away part of who they are.
The ugly truth is these programs have proven to be harmful and we can see that in the numbers alone. When you have suicides go up even after all this money and “training” along with suicide prevention like the hotline, that is an alarm bell.
I work with veterans and families helping them understand what all this is and helping them heal aside from publishing Wounded Times. They do not have the basic knowledge of what PTSD is. Most of the time I get the calls from the Moms when it is too late to save the life of their son or daughter. These Moms blame themselves for what they were never told. They asked me to do something about it and that is how the book came to be. The strange thing is, there were things going on I did not know about because the media failed to cover it.
If you want to know where we are on suicides tied to military service, how we got here and what can be done, read the Warrior Saw so you can get Congress to hold people accountable for what they did to our troops and our veterans.
Editor and Publisher of Wounded Times Blog
Author of FOR THE LOVE OF JACK, HIS WAR MY BATTLE
THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR
Florida State Coordinator Point Man International Ministries