Wednesday, November 09, 2011

PTSD, suicide

John Croman (KARE11 -- link has text and video) reports, "An Iraq war veteran from Minnesota took his own life Sunday at Fort Bliss, a US Army base near El Paso, Texas. Specialist David Mertz was 26, and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound according to his father, Craig Mertz of Chanhassen." Croman notes that before taking his own life, the soldier called his father and asked that he be a father to his (David Mertz's) two children (Kelly and Kristina) and that his father attempted to talk him into seeking help. Richard Crawford (Chanhassen Villagers) adds:

He started rehashing his time in Iraq and appeared to be obsessing about casualties there, his father said.
"There was a sergeant he was close to who suffered a brain injury from an IED and another soldier lost his foot. He was troubled by what happened to both soldiers," his father said.

In possibly related news, Mark Thompson (Time magazine) reports of a new PEW study, "Only one in three military veterans wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq wars says he or she is getting the help they believe they need from the federal government." Also addressing the study is Gregg Zoroya (USA Today via Tucson Citizen) who notes:

In comparison with ex-servicemembers who were either unharmed or suffered lesser injuries, badly hurt veterans report more difficulty readjusting to civilian life, wrestling with mental illness or holding jobs.
Twenty-eight percent of seriously injured veterans work full-time; half are jobless.
Within that group of seriously injured veterans, those who served after 9/11 are more likely than veterans from earlier eras to be dissatisfied with their lives and assistance.

Iraq War veteran James Douglas Ralls writes about PTSD and other topics in a column for the New Mexico Daily Lobo:

As a country we are ill-equipped to handle the number of veterans we will see returning home with PTSD. We need to recognize there is no quick fix, no one-size-fits-all cure for those of us diagnosed with PTSD. Each one of us is an individual, and requires individual plans of action to help us. I can't say I have any of the answers, but it will take more than just counseling or medication to help these men and women. Right now, however, those appear to be the only forms of help available.
The saddest part of this whole mess is that it is not just the veterans who are impacted by PTSD. Everyone who knows, is related to, or has met a veteran with PTSD is affected. Those people who I have met since returning home never got the chance to know the real me -- the me before PTSD. This will also be the case for those who return with PTSD. We will never know them for them, for who they were. We may see a glimpse of who they once were, but we will never fully understand the impact PTSD has made on them. We may never know if these changes are temporary, permanent, or if there will be some sort of combination thereof.
There are many veterans here on campus that have some degree of PTSD, and are going through much more than many people realize. If we miss a few classes, seem preoccupied or otherwise distracted in class, or maybe just seem standoffish, try not to hold it against us. It may be one of those days in which we are dealing with more than just the pressures of school. Veterans can't always articulate what is bothering them or why -- something just is. When around veterans, just be yourself; be supportive and try to be understanding. We may never be the people we once were, but hopefully we can one day be accepting and proud of the people we have become.

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan, Adam Kokesh, and the White House -- updated last night:

And we'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "10 MILLION AMERICAN FAMILIES SLIDING TOWARD FORECLOSURE" (OpEdNews):

Of the 55-million families with mortgages, 10.4-million of them “are sliding toward failure and foreclosure”---a tragedy that will depress the U.S. housing market for years to come, a result of too many houses for sale and too few buyers.
That’s the blunt conclusion of distinguished economics journalist William Greider, to be published in an article in the November 14th issue of The Nation magazine.
America’s “Economic recovery will have to wait until that surplus (excess houses) is gone, because the housing sector has always led the way out of recession,” Greider says. “The more housing supply exceeds demand, the more prices fall. The more prices fall, the more families get sucked into the deep muddy. The vicious cycle is known in the industry as the death spiral. So far, there’s no end in sight.”
Greider says the solution is to forgive the debtors: “Write down the principal they owe on their mortgage to match the current market value of their home, so they will no longer be underwater. Refinance the loan with a reduced interest rate, so the monthly payment is at a level that the struggling homeowner can handle.”
Forgiving the debtors is the right thing to do, Greider continues, “because the bankers have already been forgiven. The largest banks were in effect relieved of any guilt for their crimes of systemic fraud or for causing the financial breakdown---when the government bailed them out, no questions asked.”
Far from a show of gratitude, Greider notes the response of the banks has been ugly. “Right now, these trillion-dollar institutions are methodically harvesting the last possible pound of flesh from millions of homeowners before kicking these failing debtors out of their homes---the story known as the ‘foreclosure crisis.’”

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