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 Senator slams DoD suicide prevention

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Dr.Hannani Maya
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تاريخ التسجيل : 21/09/2009
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مُساهمةموضوع: Senator slams DoD suicide prevention    السبت 20 أغسطس 2011, 04:45

Senator slams DoD suicide prevention

It’s been a year since a blue-ribbon commission on military suicide prevention issued its final report and a list of recommendations for major changes at the Pentagon. But many of its key recommendations — including the creation of a Pentagon-level office to coordinate the roughly 900 suicide prevention programs across the force — have not been implemented.

Now a U.S. senator is ratcheting up pressure on the Defense Department to set those proposed changes in motion. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., fired off a letter Wednesday after the Army reported that suicides among soldiers had reached a new all-time high.

“The Army’s recent announcement of 32 suicides in July — the highest on record — is a tragedy which demonstrates that the demanding challenge of suicide prevention continues to exceed the programs and policies currently in place,” Blumenthal wrote in a letter to Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

Blumenthal’s letter comes as Stanley’s office is under investigation by the Defense Department Inspector General following complaints that his office was ineffective and has failed to take action on several initiatives, including the creation of a formal suicide prevention office.

Another task force recommendation called on military officials to investigate suicides more thoroughly in an effort to identify high-risk groups and more effective tactics for stopping them.A Pentagon spokeswoman said some of the suicide task force recommendations are being implemented.

“The department is aggressively pursuing strategies to get ahead of this problem and we are currently implementing several of the Task Force recommendations,” said spokeswoman Cynthia Smith. “These include enhancing our training and education practices, focusing on leadership building resilience among the force and improving available data to help identify predictive indicators.

“Finally, and in direct response to the task force, we are standing up the Defense Suicide Prevention Oversight Council to provide the senior leader focus this issue demands. Every suicide represents a tragic loss to our the department and nation,” Smith said.

By Andrew Tilghman,
The Navy Times

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Labels: Barak Obama, DOD, PTSD, suicide, The Navy Times

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Denied Help - The Iraq Vet

Fifteen months in combat left Army Sgt. Robert Anthony Quinones, 29, diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder.When all the help he could get from the Veterans Administration were 10-minute counseling sessions via video, he walked into a Ft. Stewart hospital ER, pointed his 9 mm at a medic and demanded to be admitted into the psychiatric unit.According to Stars and Stripes Quinones told hospital staff, “I need to see a psychiatrist or someone right now.”

When the officer in charge Major Sabon Sheldon entered, Quinones told him, "Every time I talk to somebody, they just throw meds at me, throw meds at me. Do you know how bad these meds make you feel? These meds make you feel horrible."Sheldon talked to Quinones for two hours at gunpoint about what led him to the hospital that night. When he was done Quinones put down his weapon and was handed over to the military police.

He's now in a jail cell facing a string of felony charges, including threats against the president when he was in a delusional state.The son of a retired Sergeant Major Quinones joined the Army at 23 and the 15 months he spent in Iraq between 2006 and 2008 were the bloodiest of the war.Engaged in daily firefights, his squad cleared villages of hostile forces for units that would come in and establish a permanent presence. On any given patrol his unit would see 10 to 15 bodies littering the road. His vehicle was hit by more than a dozen roadside bombs and he lost countless friends to IEDs and explosives.

When he got home he couldn't sleep. “I’m back in Iraq when I’m in those nightmares,” he told Stars and Stripes. “Being scared and it’s ... am I up to the challenge of actually kicking in that door?”His recollection clouded by alcohol and sleeping pills, he barely recalls the day he entered the Ft. Stewart hospital.Finally getting the treatment he'd requested, he is also facing up to 20 years in prison.

by Robert Johnson,
The Business Insider

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Labels: Barak Obama, Mental Health, PTSD, The United States Army, The USA

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Bombs give lie to Iraq security

A series of co-ordinated explosions killed at least 74 people and wounded 250 more across Iraq on Monday, shattering the calm during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and showing that extremists remain a threat more than eight years after the fall of Baghdad.The bombs were detonated in largely Shia Muslim areas of the country and casualties were mostly Shia-led security forces. A Sunni extremist group, the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq, was blamed.

A jihadist site praised the attacks and said they targeted "Shi'ites, Christians and the apostate awakening councils", in reference to the United States-backed Sunni groups who turned on al-Qaeda in 2007.In total 13 bombs exploded; many were apparently detonated by suicide bombers. If so, this would ­further undermine Iraqi and US military claims that al-Qaeda and its Iraqi jihadist groups are a spent force after almost a decade of war.

The deadliest blast was in the southeastern city of Kut, where 37 people were killed by a roadside bomb and then a car bomb, which detonated as bystanders gathered following the first explosion.In the Shia shrine cities of Kerbala and Najaf up to 11 security officers and members of the public were killed by car bombs. Bombs rocked Baquba, Tikrit and Kirkuk and there were at least six explosions in Baghdad, although only three people were killed in the capital.

The ease with which car bombs were moved around Iraq is a further blow to the standing of Iraq's security forces, which insist they have contained sectarian violence and have Sunni and Shia extremist groups under control.Despite monthly death tolls now sharply below those during the sectarian war of 2006-2007, large-scale violence still occurs quite frequently in Iraq, which has convinced some local politicians to ask departing US forces to remain after the mandated end of their mission in December.

The US military is prepared to consider an unspecified number of troops staying on in Iraq as trainers but with roles that would likely have a broader mandate. US advisers are wary of the fragile security gains in Iraq unwinding when they leave. This would be a bitter setback after the more than 4 000 lives lost and an estimated $500-billion spent fighting a war that aimed to reshape Iraq as a pluralist democracy.

Whether US troops stay or go is unlikely to be decided until at least November, with many MPs appearing to fear the future without the safety blanket of well-armed and better-trained soldiers on call for any crisis. But Shia extremist groups, including the Sadrist party, which has 39 seats in Iraq's 325-seat parliament, have vowed to oppose any troop extension violently. Militia killed at least 12 US soldiers in June in a series of rocket and roadside bomb attacks, widely interpreted as an attempt to create the impression that troops were being forced to flee.

Guardian News & Media 2011

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