Whenever you read the bad news about PTSD, remember Reset. Remember that there are huge numbers of veterans who sincerely want to heal, and that the tools exist to help them return to normal lives. That's the big picture, and as a society, we can accomplish what Reset does. In the words of one veteran, "It gave me my life back."
The week since the bloody terrorist attack on a San Bernardino holiday party hasn't gone well for American politics. It's mostly been a disconcerting combination of the uncertain and the shrill, the latter crossing the line into outright fascism.
It is extremely challenging to get service members (and others) to get treatment for the symptoms of PTSD with the negative connotations people already heap atop mental illness, let alone with the insinuation that these people are somehow killers in waiting.
Despite much official talk about dealing with the mental health of military men, women, and veterans, the military itself remains open to yet more insider attacks. After almost 13 years of failed wars in distant lands, think of us as living in Ameraqafghanica.
Ivan Lopez's killings at Fort Hood, while on a scale not often matched, are one more marker on a bloody trail of death that leads from Iraq and Afghanistan into the American heartland, to bases and backyards nationwide.
Whether the press is good or bad, if the officer is male, his gender is never in the headline. But if the officer is female, it is always part of the headline. And if a woman police officer performs both heroically and exactly as trained? Stop the presses!
Whenever a person with a mental disorder (or assumed to have a mental disorder), veteran or civilian, commits a violent act that makes headlines, there is a call to address the "mental health issue" in violent crimes. However, what is meant by the "mental health issue" is generally unclear. The fact is that killings and overall violence are extremely rare by people with serious mental illness.
So often when we suffer, we feel alone or as if ours is the most insurmountable pain there is, but our fellow man also suffers; we are not separate, but rather bound by paralleled sameness
This week reminded us once again of the costs of accepting lowered expectations as the new normal. On Wednesday, a 5-4 Supreme Court decision struck down overall limits on campaign donations, further ceding our political system to the highest bidder in the guise of "free speech." On the same day, Ft. Hood, Texas suffered its second mass shooting in five years, as a married father of four, in a fit of anger, killed four people, including himself, and wounded 16 others. Senator Harry Reid introduced a background checks bill the next day, but it will likely suffer the same fate as the one that failed last year even with the support of 90 percent of Americans. The week ended with yet another middling jobs report, with just 192,000 added in March. All three of these things should spark urgent calls for reform and change, because accepting them as the new normal only guarantees more of the same.
I believe, that regardless of diagnosis, all veterans need support in the transition from military life to veteran and civilian life and that this transition is not often an easy one.
The National Rifle Association propaganda has it all wrong. Most violent acts are committed by people who are not crazy. And even when mental illness does play a role, we do not have the tools to identify which person will go berserk or prevent it from happening.
These kinds of subtle connections, floated out in headlines, ledes and in repeated questions to experts in endless cable news coverage, result in reinforcement of stigma and a lost opportunity to educate viewers and readers on what mental illness and PTSD really are.
America is saddened by the tragic shooting a Fort Hood on April 2, 2014. The loss of life of anyone is difficult but there is an added level of traged...
With news that another shooting tragedy has hit Ft. Hood, my heart is breaking for the families of those who were wounded and killed by a gunman who is said to have purchased a gun, off-base, brought it on to the base, and unleashed carnage. While many details are still unknown, it is too early to talk about what may have triggered this incident and what, specifically, could have stopped it. But even when we do know all the details, until civilian law matches military law on guns, we unfortunately must brace ourselves for the possibility of more of these tragedies.
Answers to this puzzle are more known than is generally appreciated. Taking an approach that identifies and addresses risk and protective factors in violence, whether it be directed against the self or others, is one thing we can do right now.
One of the oddest aspects of Barack Obama's presidency is its sometimes quite strange mix of the ultra-politically correct and the anti-politically correct. They've led to some of the most crashingly boneheaded things this White House has done.