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Feb. 28th, 2009 | 08:11 pm

Least surprising result of research so far this week:

Figures published by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in November showed... personnel sent to Afghanistan or Iraq were more likely to suffer post traumatic stress disorder (BBC)

Well blow me down.

If you've not read it, this is in the context of a guy who won two medals, and thus is pretty much unsmearable, saying that treatment of returned soldiers is bollocks:

L/Cpl Beharry, who was given the VC for twice leading comrades to safety during attacks in Iraq, called on the government to give more help to his comrades suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, depression and mental breakdowns.

The whole thing gets to me for three main reasons. Firstly, psychiatric resources on the NHS are insufficient anyway, whether you're a soldier or not. Secondly, it shouldn't make a difference whether he has medals, but clearly it does - they've spent so long implying that you can't criticise "our men and women in uniform" because it's bad for morale and they're great that there is no way they can start slagging this bloke off, and it can hardly be implied that he's some sort of coward if he's been given two medals for rescuing people under fire. ("Not criticising the military" has always been meant to mean "not criticising the government that controls the military" obviously, but they can't say it like that, and are thus now stuck when soldiers start making a nuisance of themselves.)

And thirdly, while they blatantly don't give a shit about soldiers, it seems to be that they're rubbing it in. If you care about the wellbeing of soldiers you don't make up a war and send them off to kill people and get blown up in it for a start - there's no getting around that particular point. But they seem to go out of their way to say "thanks bye" once people get back home. It would surely not be hard for them to actually treat soldiers for physical and mental injuries they've sustained - there aren't that many soldiers and it would be great PR - but no, off you go sunshine, and talk to your GP if you're having trouble. It's not limited to this war either; just as a result of wars in my memory, Falklands vets are noted to be disproportionately alcoholic, suicidal and generally fucked up, and I suspect that's not a coincidence somehow.

edit: and no, they should not be "treated as a special case" in the NHS, which is the excuse proposal by the government that I've been hearing on the radio just now. They should be treated based on need, like everyone else; their need may well be pretty significant and so they get to the front of the queue on that basis, but everybody should be treated regardless of their social status. That's the point of the NHS, and the government doesn't get to prioritise certain groups for a bit just to avoid bad PR.

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Comments {3}

Pallas

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from: pallasathene8
date: Feb. 28th, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
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And fourthly, if my friend who is currently interning as a therapist treating returned soldiers and her coworkers are any indication, there are not enough therapists who are competent and qualified enough to effectively deal with the kinds of fucked-up that warring creates in people. So, even if given unlimited access to these ninny therapists, they are probably still doomed to suffer anyway.

I believe one suggested that her group of suicidal and homicidal soldiers would benefit from having a fancy dinner and learning table manners.

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fridgemagnet

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from: fridgemagnet
date: Feb. 28th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
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There isn't the capacity to properly deal with all the fucked-up people who are here _without_ wars, let alone those with any experience in dealing with "battle damage".

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Nina

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from: janinazew
date: Mar. 2nd, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
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PTSD is an area that requires really specialised training and while any therapist should be able to recognise it they should also refer people who need that type of therapy to someone who has that training. After care needs to be provided by the government because there's no guarantee that there will be enough trained therapists without their funding.

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