Friday, June 25, 2010

Sunday is PTSD Awareness Day

Even during Thursday's ribbon-cutting at the Bethesda facility, called the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, the Pentagon's alleged negligence was brought up. That morning, Loree Sutton, director of the Defense Centers of Excellence, had unexpectedly stepped down.
Sutton's resignation and the criticism levied against the program have emboldened the Intrepid Center's directors, who built the facility -- called a cooperative effort between private and public sectors -- with contributions from 125,000 donors.

The above is from Kevin Sieff's "Center to treat troops with brain injuries opens in Bethesda" (Washington Post). It's a strong article that opens with a look at Iraq War veteran Robert Carras who suffers from PTSD. Where the article falters in all the 'hope' focus which fails to note that ONLY 500 veterans a year are expected to be treated at the new facility and even then you're looking at each one getting two weeks and then being sent bac to their region's VA centers for treatment (the center's really doing assesstments and devising treatment plans) -- VA centers which may or may not be staffed with appropriately trained staff and facilities.

Sunday June 27th will be PTSD Awareness Day. Senator Kent Conrad issued the following statement:

Washington -- In an effort to bring greater attention to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the United States Senate last night passed a resolution authored by Senator Kent Conrad designating June 27 as National PTSD Awareness Day.

"The stress of war can take a toll on one's heart, mind and soul. While these wounds may be less visible than others, they are no less real," Senator Conrad said. "All too many of our service men and women are returning from battle with PTSD symptoms like anxiety, anger, and depression. More must be done to educate our troops, veterans, families and communities about this illness and the resources and treatments available to them."

The Senator developed the idea for a National PTSD Awareness Day after learning of the efforts of North Dakota National Guardsmen to draw attention to PTSD and pay tribute to Staff Sgt. Joe Biel, a friend and member of the 164th Engineer Combat Battalion. Biel suffered from PTSD and took his life in April 2007 after returning to North Dakota following his second tour in Iraq.

Earlier this month, Senator Conrad visited the Fargo VA Medical Center and met with physicians and social workers to discuss their capabilities for helping those suffering from PTSD. He also met with friends of Sgt. Biel and presented them a copy of the resolution designating June 27 -- Biel's birthday -- as National PTSD Awareness Day.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, accidents, and military combat. From 2000 to 2009, approximately 76,000 Department of Defense patients were diagnosed with PTSD.

"This effort is about awareness, assuring our troops -- past and present -- that it's okay to come forward and say they need help. We want to erase any stigma associated with PTSD. Our troops need to know it's a sign of strength, not weakness, to seek assistance," Senator Conrad said.

To learn more about PTSD and locate facilities offering assistance, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' National Center for PTSD at

Veterans in need of immediate assistance can call the VHA Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.

Turning to military deaths, Spc Jacob P. Dohrenwend died Monday while serving in Iraq. WLWT reports (link has text and videos):

Dohrenwend's friend, Catherine Perry, said he was her first kiss and she still considers him her first love.
"I really do hold him really close to my heart," Perry said. "I'll miss his voice, his goofy little things he used to do, the way he'd hug you."

Cincinnati's WKRC adds (link has text, videos and slide show):

The family says the Lt. Commander called and told them Jacob was an exemplary soldier who took care of his fellow soldiers. "He told us that Jacob was very concerned about the children of Iraq and used his own money to buy them whatever he could."
"He was a wonderful brother, son, and friend. He loved his family, friends, his country, and the Army," said his family in the e-mail. "When he wasn’t playing video games with friends, he was serving the community by volunteering at the library or a nursing home."

The Cincinnati Enquirer has a slide show
of yesterday's candlelight vigil for Jacob Dohrenwend. Yesterday, Iraq War veteran Spc Christopher Opat was buried. Adam Belz (Des Moines Register) reports, "About 230 people attended the Mass, and dozens of patriotic motorcycle riders with flags lined both sides of the street corner outside. After communion, the congregation sang the song 'Quietly, Peacefully,' as a priest circled the white-clad coffin swinging incense." Karen Heinselman (WCF Courier) adds, "Iowa's first lady Mari Culver attended the funeral. The Iowa National Guard carried out full military honors. Area veterans also attended as did several dozen Patriot Guard Riders from a tri-state region."

The following community sites updated last night:

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends