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Monday, March 06, 2006

The Tennessean: Support Troops Long Term

Today's much-recommended editorial in Nashville's Tennessean:

The good news in a study of soldiers returning from active duty is that they seem to be more willing than ever to seek evaluation for their mental and emotional state. The discouraging news is that one in every eight soldiers coming back from service in the first year of the Iraq war has been diagnosed with a mental illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

The editorial continues:

Just as soldiers often have trouble adjusting after harrowing experiences in war, the military has come to grips with the fact that such problems should be expected and addressed. It remains a compelling obligation for government to help those veterans when the need arises. Sometimes, the problems may come much later than anticipated after the return home. ...

Mental problems from war experience are not new. The illnesses were once called names such as shell shock or combat fatigue. What has changed over the years is that society has begun to understand the problem better and that the stigma associated with such ailments is subsiding. Soldiers should be no more hesitant to ask for help in coping after battle than they are in seeking medical help when physically wounded. Tragically, this nation did not embrace such understanding when soldiers returned from the Vietnam War. Some lessons have been learned, as evident in utilizing soldiers' contacts with families through the Internet or telephone when away.

Veterans have a wide array of needs far after their battle experience. It is important that the nation stand at the ready to meet those needs long after their service is over. That's a way to truly support the troops, whenever they need it, not just in the heat of battle.

Please join me in saying thanks by contacting The Tennessean, letting them know you appreciate their strong show of support for our troops. We need to see much more of this in our newspapers, far and wide.

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