Veterans' News

Loading...

Wounded Times

Where Veterans Get Their News

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Comprehensive Solider Fitness increased suicide warning ignored

Comprehensive Solider Fitness increased suicide warning ignored
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
February 26, 2013

Working on The Warrior SAW, Suicides After War, my new book on military suicides and reviewing some research I've done over the years has dropped a bombshell of a reminder of how we got the deadliest year of suicides connected to military service. While suicides within the military made headlines across the country and internationally, the results of a study done trying to figure out how many veterans have committed suicide produced a finding that their suicides are almost one an hour everyday.

What no one seems to be talking about is how did they get there from when nothing was being done? How is it possible with all the Bills Congress has passed and funded, these suicides have been allowed to increase without accountability from them?

In May of 2009, I offered this warning about what they were doing.
Comprehensive Soldier Fitness will make it worse
General Casey, now hear this, you cannot, repeat, cannot train your brain to prevent PTSD and until you understand this "Because it is scientifically proven, you can build resilience." does not equal the cause of PTSD, you will keep making it worse! Did the rise in suicides and attempted suicides offer you no clue that Battlemind didn't work? Apparently something told you it didn't or you'd still be pushing this. When you have a program in place to "train them to be resilient" beginning with telling them if they do not, it's their fault, what the hell did you and the other brass expect? Did you think they would listen to the rest of what the Battlemind program had to say to them? Are you out of your mind?

With all due respect, because I do believe you care about the men and women you command, this is just one more in a series of mistakes because it seems no one in the Pentagon or the upper rows of the food chain have a clue what causes PTSD.

While adversity does make some stronger, you cannot train them to do it. Life and character does that quite effectively on their own. Some will walk away stronger after traumatic events but one out of three humans will not. Some experts put the rate at one out of five walk away wounded but the best experts I've listened to since 1982 have put it at one out of three.

Do you think that this man could have "trained his brain" as well?
UK:WWII veteran finally diagnosed with PTSD
A D-DAY hero has been told he is suffering a stress related illness picked up in battle — 65 years AFTER he was the first Brit to storm an enemy beach.

WWII vet George McMahon, who was the first soldier on Sword Beach in Normandy, France, had revealed he is still suffering terrifying flashbacks from June 6, 1944.

And Army docs have told the 89-year-old war hero he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) picked up during WWII.

Mr McMahon's family first sought help from docs when the ex-soldier talked vividly about the war in the lead-up to the 65th anniversary of D-Day.

Mr McMahon of Kirk Ella, Hull, was then visited by the Service Personnel and Veterans' Agency — part of the Ministry of Defence — who said he was displaying PTSD symptoms.

The Scotland-born Army vet who served with The King's Regiment Army was awarded the Military Cross for storming two machine-guns.
Back then there were plenty of excuses to use for what happened to veterans but after Vietnam veterans came home and forced the wound to be treated, we ran out of excuses. How can you continue to dismiss what is so obvious? It is the nature of man, what is in their core, their empathy for others that is at the root of PTSD. I've talked to them long enough and enough of them to have understood this over 20 years ago. I also live with one.

I'm sick and tired of reading about what does not work being repeated. In all these years, people like me have already learned from the mistakes we made trying to help our husbands and others. To us, it wasn't a numbers game or a research project. This has meant our lives and the lives of the men we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with. Aside from that General Casey, I've spent countless hours attempting to undo the damage done because the troops are not being told what they need to hear in the first place.

I've held Marines in my arms crying because the military told them they were not strong enough and National Guardsmen told they were not cut out for combat. All of this because the military has been telling them it's their fault they didn't work hard enough to toughen their brains.

How many more suicides are you willing to live with? Has it not gotten thru to you yet that you are losing more men and women after combat than you do during it? This is only part of it because I doubt you have considered how many have committed suicide and tried it after they were discharged. You cannot order them to stop caring! You cannot order them to become callous or oblivious to the suffering of others. Between the members of their own unit to the innocent civilians that do end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, you cannot seriously expect them to just "get over it" and "toughen" their brains. These men and women walk away with their own pain compounded by the pain of others. This is what opens the door to PTSD and until you understand this is what the difference is, you will never get close enough to finding the best treatment for it and they will continue to pay for it.

Ever notice the vast majority of the men and women you command end up carrying out the mission they are given, fighting fiercely and showing great courage even though they are already carrying the wound inside of them? They fulfill their duty despite flashbacks and nightmares draining them because their duty comes first to them. Do you understand how much that takes for them to do that? Yet you think telling them their minds are not tough enough will solve the problem? What kind of a tough mind do you think they needed to have to fight on despite this killing pain inside of them?

I fully understand to you, I'm no one. I have been ignored by senators and congressmen, doctors and other brass for as long as I've been trying to help, so you are not the first. I've also been listened to by others trying to think outside the box, but more importantly to me, by the men and women seeking my help to understand this and their families. I tell them what you should have been telling them all along so that they know it's not their fault, they did not lack courage and they are not responsible for being wounded any more than they would have been to have been found by a bullet with their name on it.

If you promote this program the way Battlemind was promoted, count on the numbers of suicides and attempted suicides to go up instead of down. It's just one more deadly mistake after another and just as dangerous as sending them into Iraq without the armor needed to protect them.
Army Launching Program To Train Soldiers To Combat Post-Traumatic Stress
Sam Stein stein@huffingtonpost.com HuffPost Reporting

Faced with a growing number of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder cases in the armed forces, the U.S. Army will begin a program this summer to proactively address the problem by focusing on building the mental resilience of its personnel.

In a speech before the international affairs organization the Atlantic Council on Thursday, U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey laid out the virtues of the newly formed initiative, which he called Comprehensive Soldier Fitness.

"We have been looking very hard at ways to develop coping skills and resilience in soldiers, and we will be coming out in July with a new program called Comprehensive Soldier Fitness," said Casey. "And what we will attempt to do is raise mental fitness to the same level that we now give to physical fitness. Because it is scientifically proven, you can build resilience."

"The whole idea here is to give soldiers the skills they need to increase their resilience and enhance their performance," he went on. "A lot of people think that everybody who goes to combat gets post-traumatic stress. That's not true. Everybody that goes to combat gets stressed. There is no doubt about it. But the vast majority of people who go to combat have a growth experience because they are exposed to something very, very difficult and they prevail. So the issue for us is how do we give more people the skills so that more people have a growth experience... We thought it was important to get started on this because everything else involves you treating the problem. We need to be more proactive."
Yet this did little good. Researchers ignored this warning. In June, half way through the worst suicide record in 2012, there did come a warning from psychiatrists but again, most reporters failed to fully understand what this all meant.
Dangerous Ideas
How our core beliefs promote and prevent progressive change
by Roy Eidelson, Ph.D.
The Army’s Flawed Resilience-Training Study: A Call for Retraction
Claims about the CSF program’s effectiveness are not supported by the research.
Published on June 4, 2012 by Roy Eidelson, Ph.D. in Dangerous Ideas
Note: My thanks to co-author Stephen Soldz.

Ten years of continuous war, characterized by multiple deployments, elusive guerilla adversaries, and occupied populations seemingly more tilted toward resentment than gratitude — have taken a significant toll on US troops. In addition to those who have been killed, physically maimed, or neurologically impaired by combat, many soldiers have experienced debilitating psychological disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. Large numbers are on antidepressants and other psychotropic medications, while the suicide rate among troops has risen to alarming levels.

The sobering realities of the psychological effects of war pose a serious challenge for the US military tasked with simultaneously fighting multiple wars and anticipating years of “persistent conflict” ahead. The good news is that key sectors within the military have now identified the mental health of our troops as a major issue that must be addressed. Indeed, in addition to treatment for those suffering psychological impairment, the military leadership is pursuing intervention efforts aimed at preventing such adverse outcomes by increasing soldiers’ psychological resilience to combat exposure. The largest of these new initiatives is the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program, launched in 2009 and based upon the “positive psychology” framework of psychologist Martin Seligman. And that brings us to the bad news: despite the over-hyped claims of CSF’s leading proponents, at this point there is little evidence to suggest that CSF works.
I strongly suggest that if you are researcher or member of the media trolling this blog, you go to the link and read what else was in the report. When you do you'll understand what I've been screaming about all this time.

No comments: