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Mar 22, 2009

PHYSICAL INJURIES, deformities, and limitations such as blindness can be perceived easily and addressed medically, although those who are thus afflicted frequently have lifetime impairments that require ongoing treatment.  Mental scars after wars and other traumatic events can also last a lifetime, and people who suffer enormous mental agony after harrowing experiences also need professional attention and special allowances for their conditions.

NO MAN LEFT BEHIND

homeless on the corner
Homeless Veterans with PTSD
(Click on picture to see gallary)

.
Gratitude:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSfFYxSdKdo&feature=player_embedded 

People who are blind, paraplegic, or have other physical limitations usually find the public to be sympathetic to their physical handicaps, and society makes allowances to benefit those who are physically afflicted.  There are laws to ensure that public buildings are wheelchair accessible.  News broadcasts and many other television shows offer the option of having the printed text running at the bottom of the screen for the sake of hearing-impaired viewers, and sign language is commonly used in public meetings.  Many books are available in Braille, and large libraries usually have a Braille section.  Handicapped parking spaces are reserved for people with mobility issues, and these set-aside parking spaces are protected by levying heavy fines against people who use them illegally.  All of this and more is done to help enable physically impaired people to function better in society.

 

Mental dysfunctions are not perceived with the naked eye, as physical handicaps are.  After wars and traumatic events, victims of PTSD may find immediate help and sympathy among family and friends.  Counselors are made available to people who live through plane crashes and other catastrophic events because everyone understands that profound tragedies can cause those affected to be mentally and emotionally scarred.  People who need help adjusting after losing loved ones are encouraged to go through grief counseling.  However, the outpouring of sympathy and understanding has a short timeline.

Society seemingly lacks the willingness to make long-term allowances for mentally afflicted persons' inclusion in regular society that it makes for people who are physically handicapped. Instead, people who suffer extended psychological damage are expected to "snap out of it," and "pull themselves together."  Individuals who "go crazy" after falling victim to permanent psychological damage are likely to eventually be treated like most other mentally ill people in society and are eventually given the same three options:  homelessness, prison, and death. That is why America's inmates and homeless population includes many veterans from the Viet Nam War, the Gulf War, and other conflicts.
.

Iraq War Memorial in Mass.
Many soldiers who saw
their comrades die suffer PTSD
.

 

Below is an excerpt on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder from Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_traumatic_stress_disorder 

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to one or more traumatic events that threatened or caused grave physical harm. 

It is a severe and ongoing emotional reaction to an extreme psychological trauma.  This stressor may involve someone's actual death, a threat to the patient's or someone else's life, serious physical injury, an unwanted sexual act, or a threat to physical or psychological integrity, overwhelming psychological defenses. 

In some cases it can also be from profound psychological and emotional trauma, apart from any actual physical harm. Often, however, incidents involving both things are found to be the cause.

************************************ 

A STUDY SHOWS that 54.1% of soldiers who were involved in the Balkans conflict have mental health issues.  An article about that study is at the link below:
.
Balkans: A Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Study
http://my.nowpublic.com/world/balkans-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd-study  

The Obama administration announced that American troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by 2011.  Our soldiers will transition back home, and many of them will be no different from the Balkan soldiers, among whom 54% were mentally damaged by their war experiences.  Our soldiers who exited recent conflicts in the Middle East already have a heightened suicide rate.  Additionally, many ex-military personnel, like other civilians with mental health issues, have a propensity to use drugs and alcohol in efforts to "get their heads on straight." 

Two American Soldiers
Two American Soldiers

By 2011, American soldiers in Iraq
are coming home; 54% may suffer PTSD

 

Think of the rate of soldiers who are likely to be affected by PTSD according to the Balkan study:  54.1%.  Hopefully, a good many soldiers who transition back to the United States from Iraq by 2011 and are suffering from PTSD will avail themselves of the mental health services offered to them.  The U.S. military has taken steps to increase and improve services offered. 

Some returning soldiers will be able to meet society's expectations of people who have endured trauma and "pull themselves together."  Some will adjust in a short amount of time to civilian life.  They will have the support of family, friends, perhaps their churches and other community support.  Many of the soldiers were actually in the Army Reserve, and they should be able to resume their regular employment.  As time goes on, most sufferers of PTSD will experience reduced symptoms of the disorder over time, especially if they also get professional help.  But what about those who don't adjust after a short time?  What about our veterans who will never "bounce back"?  Many will be permanently afflicted mentally. 

Soldiers who are amputees or otherwise permanently handicapped during wars get lifetime benefits and are afforded all of the allowances society willingly makes to ensure the inclusion of physically handicapped persons in society:  wheelchair ramps, reserved parking, special services for the hear impaired, and more. 

QUESTION:  What is America willing to do for veterans who are permanently scarred mentally after serving in military conflicts?   Will we offer them the same pitiful outcome that is available to other chronic mental patients in America:  homelessness, prison, and death? 

Approximately 1.25 million mentally dysfunctional citizens (including many veterans) are currently in prison because of offenses arising out of their mental illness.  Is this to be the eventual outcome for our soldiers returning from Iraq between now and 2011, also?  We need a program like Kendra’s Law in place across America.  Not only would Kendra's Law help our mentally challenged citizens who are in the civilian population avoid becoming prison inmates, but Kendra's Law would also help many of our veterans avoid becoming "prisoners of war" after returning home.  Kendra's Law is outpatient commitment for mentally ill participants that combines subsistence assistance and mandatory treatment for mental illness.

Here is bill that has been introduced to improve mental health services to veterans of particular conflicts. One can track its progress through Congress online at http://congress.org/.

(H.R.1544) : 'To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for unlimited eligibility for health care for mental illnesses for veterans of combat service during certain periods of hostilities and war. '

This bill is commendable and necessary to removing financial barriers to treatment for certain vets - a very important bill that needs to pass.  Keep in mind, however, that such legislation will not keep veterans out of prisons or restore those who are already in prison back to freedom and wholesome living like Kendra's Law can.


Veterans suffering PTSD who break
laws are subject to incarceration.  Many
vets are already behind bars along with
1 in every 99.1 other Americans
Hands on Bars in Shadow

 

 

HIGH SUCCESS RATE:  Kendra's Law program participants in New York experienced over 80% decrease in incidents of homelessness, incarcerations, and re-arrests.  Over 80% proved success rate!  Kendra's Law works.

Non-violent mentally ill offenders who are currently imprisoned should be immediately released under an outpatient sentencing law, such as Kendra's Law, thereby eliminating overcrowded prison conditions in one day.

We already have the remedy to the high rates of homelessness among the mentally ill, high incarceration rates, and many senseless deaths that involve psychiatric patients who are not undergoing treatment.  Please call your representatives and let them know that you support Kendra's Law across America.  Homelessness, prison and death must cease being America's answer to chronic mental illness. 

Psychiatric patients who were sentenced to prison for violent crimes should be transferred from prisons where they are inmates to secure mental hospitals, where they would become inpatients, as they should be.  They should be kept hospitalized for the length of their prison sentences, even if they were serving life without the possibility of parole.  Doctors should NOT have the authority to release mental patients who committed violent crimes.  That privilege should remain with the sentencing courts after the patients have been hospitalized for the minimum sentencing period according to their crimes.  This would prevent many relapses among psychiatric patients that endanger patients and the community.
 

All psychiatric patients who commit violent crimes or nonviolent offenses and are released from prisons and mental hospitals should be mandated to participate in an outpatient commitment program like Kendra's Law - at least for the length of their parole or probationary periods.  If this is done, our rates of incarceration for the mentally ill behind bars will quickly become practically nil. 

Psychiatric patients and society as a whole would be safer and costs to taxpayers lower with Kendra's Law applied across the country.  Give our veterans who are returning home psychologically scarred for life the help they need to avoid spending their lives homeless or as POWs in America's prisons.  Insist that Kendra's Law replace homelessness, prison, and death as America's answers to chronic mental illness.

PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO BENEFIT OUR RETURNING TROOPS AND OUR NEIGHBORS WHO WRESTLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS TODAY.  OUR SOLDIERS DID MUCH MORE FOR US THAN SEND A SIMPLE E-MAIL.  Here is a link to contact your representatives and insist on Kendra's Law today:
 
http://www.house.gov/writerep





Link: Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill
 

 Jail

 


HOMELESSNESS, PRISON, AND DEATH MUST CEASE BEING AMERICA'S ANSWERS TO MENTAL ILLNESS.  COME OUT OF THE DARK AGES!  WE NEED KENDRA'S LAW TODAY.


Support mentally ill Americans, including veterans suffering PTSD today.  Don't sit back and watch our veterans who voluntarily answered America's call for recruits return HOME to become POW's.  Call and write your representatives today and support Kendra's Law.  Replace prisons with inpatient and outpatient treatment programs for mentally ill Americans. Please send an e-mail for our vets with PTSD.  They did so much more for you:  http://www.house.gov/writerep.

USA Flag  click the flag to visit our photo album, or use this link:
http://www.care2.com/c2c/photos/view/217/513396753/AIMI_Photo_Album/ 


REMEMBER:  NO MAN LEFT BEHIND

Statute - Soldier Carries Wounded or Dead Friend

Statute - Soldier Carries
Wounded or Dead Comrade


READ MORE ABOUT KENDRA'S LAW HERE:

BRIDGE THE CHASM FROM IMPRISONMENT TO TREATMENT FOR THE INCARCERATED MENTALLY ILL
http://www.care2.com/c2c/share/detail/1070724

Bridge to Springtime   Be someone's bridge today! 

 

 

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Posted: Mar 22, 2009 12:41am

 

 
 
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Author

Mary Neal
, 5, 2 children
Atlanta, GA, USA
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