Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Surgeon General of the U.S. Army Speaks About PTSD

This is the beginning of the edited transcript of the interview of Lt. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker, the surgeon general of the U.S. Army, conducted on March 15, 2010:
Interviewer: The RAND [Corp.] report in 2008 cited more than 300,000 soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan either suffering from PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder] or major depression. [Was] the military or the Army really ready for the mental health crisis that was going to come out of Iraq and Afghanistan?
Lt. Gen. Schoomaker: I can't speak to whether we were ready or not. I think we knew from prior wars that combat and deployment is associated with post-traumatic stress reactions. I think the magnitude of those reactions -- that is, the number of soldiers that would experience them -- has only really been fully explicated by some of the studies that we've conducted over the last six years or so.

We conduct on an annual basis now a study known as the Mental Health Advisory Team, or MHAT studies. They started early in the war, and they've continued on in part because they've given us such good information about the effects on the behavioral health and the mental health of our soldiers, and indirectly their families.

And that has shown us that, in fact, anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of a unit returning, depending upon the intensity of combat and the degree of austerity of the deployment, may be associated with at least transient post-traumatic stress reactions.
Read the entire transcript now.

Then visit the PTSD Walk Across America Facebook page and read the comments there. They indicate how serious a mental health issue PTSD is as well as the enthusiastic response to the upcoming PTSD Walk Across America to raise awareness of and funds for PTSD help for active-duty military personnel and veterans.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION. Her newest military-related project is supporting the upcoming PTSD Walk Across America.Phyllis' social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing combines traditional marketing principles and Internet marketing strategies to put power in your hands. Read her social media marketing blog.

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