Category Archives: MST

The ‘equal opportunity war’ bring equal opportunity trauma

Much of the information below was gleaned from a well written USA Today story entitled Mental toll of war hitting female servicemembers.   Early in the story the writer tells about Master Sgt. Cindy Rathbun who began losing hair in clumps within 3 weeks of arriving in Iraq.   She is now enrolled in the first group of a new Women’s Trauma Recovery Program which is a 60 to 90 day program for female warriors. 

Cindy is suffering from the stress and trauma of war, but also from sexual trauma from prior to her deployment by a military superior.

Some tidbits of information directly from the article cited:

More than 182,000 women have served in Iraq, Afghanistan and the surrounding region — about 11% of U.S. troops deployed, the Pentagon says.

That dwarfs the 7,500 who served mostly as nurses in Vietnam and the nearly 41,000 women deployed during the brief Gulf War.

Although some of those women suffered PTSD, few saw actual fighting or were subjected to the stress of multiple deployments.

In Iraq, “there are no lines, so anybody that deploys is in a war zone,” Rathbun says. “Females are combat veterans as well as guys.”

 To be sure, women are barred from ground jobs, technically assigned to support roles, but guess what?   Those support roles include guarding checkpoints, driving supply convoys and searching women in neighborhood patrols.   Dangerous duty just the same. 

Attacks come from IED’s, mortars, and suicide attacks on checkpoints as well as from enemy fighters.   The stress is there.  The fear is there.  The fatigue is there, the unknown is there, the worry about the home folks is there.  Death and destruction are evident every day.   More than 100 of our female warriors have died and almost 600 wounded.

 More from the article cited:

The ranks of psychologically wounded from this war are far larger. In 2006, nearly 3,800 women diagnosed with PTSD were treated by the VA. They accounted for 14% of a total 27,000 recent veterans treated for PTSD last year.

In June, the Defense Department’s Mental Health Task Force reported that the number of women suffering from combat trauma might be higher than reported. It cited “a potential barrier” for women needing mental-health treatment as “their need to show the emotional strength expected of military members.”

The report also said that after leaving the military, “many women no longer see themselves as veterans” and might not associate psychological symptoms with their time in the war zone.

Did you notice that?  Women represent 11% of the deployed but have 14% of the cases, even though the DoD thinks they are under reported.  Battle lines or not, they are being affected at a much higher rate than men, some possibly due to MST, Military Sexual Trauma that was being diagnosed and treated as PTSD.

Here is a link to Oldtimer’s PTSD Videos which includes a video on MST.

It is about time that this problem is being addressed early in the process for our returning heroes.   Our warriors are the best and deserve the best, black, white, male and female.    

Wear the uniform, deserve the best

Our programs should never be just about the men. 

It should be about our heroes.

Oldtimer

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Video – The Soldier’s Heart – PTSD a Frontline Video Series

The Soldier’s Heart is a 60 minute PBS “Frontline” video series in four parts.  It is available for viewing online here on the PBS Frontline web site.

“Soldier’s heart”  or “nostalgia” are the names given for PTSD after the Cival War.  Later from various wars it became “shell shock”,”battle fatigue”, Post Vietnam Syndrome” and now commonly diagnosed as Post-Tramutic Stress Disorder or PTSD for Combat Trauma and there is a just-as-damaging subset called Military Sexual Trauma or MST. 

Click on the link above for the full introduction and production information from the PBS Frontline Series.    Click on any of the pictures below to watch any of the 4 segments of the video.  Each is 15 minutes long.  Visit the PBS site anyway to get insight and background.  It is interesting and informative reading.   If you have low speed internet, you will need to go to the PBS site link above.  The links below are all high-speed links.

PBS Frontline Homecoming

Homecoming
For three returning Iraq war veterans, it’s when they got home that the feelings, images, smells and nightmares of war began haunting them

The Impact of Combat

The Psychological Impact of Combat
Decades of records have tracked the psychological toll of war on those who fight it. Today, what happens to a soldier who admits to emotional distress and asks for help?

Needing Help

Needing Help
One young Marine, in a downward spiral, keeps his torment and pain bottled up. Another, showing symptoms of PTSD, joins a Camp Pendleton support group.

Need for Change

A Need for Change
A young Marine takes his own life. In January 2005, the military announces plans for better mental health screening of returning vets. Will it be enough?

This series from Frontline is astounding.  If you have not seen it before, please take the time to look at it now.  Visit them here for program notes, insights, background. and links to other videos and excellent programming.

Honor Our Troops

Honor Our Veterans

Help our Homeless Veterans

 

They Are All Heroes!

Oldtimer