Military Falls Short Dealing With Returning Soldiers' Mental Health

Many of the soldiers returning from Iraq are experiencing mental healh issues. Their loved ones say the military is not helping to the extent it could or should be helping.

The psychological toll from the war in Iraq is climbing, according to new research and experts who cite the severe stress of fighting a deadly insurgency. Though the Pentagon says mental health care, including battlefield counseling, is expanding, critics counter that military suicides and post-traumatic stress disorder cases have exposed gaps in how treatment is delivered to soldiers.

"There have been improvements..... "But it's still the military's dirty little secret that lives are shattered and often we don't do enough when the war is over and these people have to deal with the consequences of what they saw and did."

According to a study by the New England Journal of Medicine, one in eight returning soldiers suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms include "flashbacks, feelings of detachment, trouble concentrating, sleeplessness and more." Many of those afflicted don't seek help because they fear it will negatively impact their military careers.

Last May, Last May, National Guard Sgt. Jeffrey Sloss committed suicide.

[Mrs.] Sloss believes her husband didn't receive proper counseling before he was released from active duty. She told the House Armed Services Committee in a letter that "services did not seem readily available" when her husband mentioned he was having trouble with focus and concentration.

....the military, she added, has done a poor job of teaching soldiers and their families about where to turn for help. "These guys are going over there and fighting for their country and come back and don't have their country fighting for them," she said.

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