Monday, February 25, 2013

Australia Defense Ill Prepared for PTSD Time Bomb

Defence 'ill-prepared' for PTSD time bomb
Sydney Morning Herald
February 24, 2013
Tim Barlass

Soldiers who have served in Afghanistan say the Defence Department is unprepared for the number of servicemen who will return with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Ray and Pam Palmer, the parents of commando Scott Palmer, who was killed in Afghanistan, are among those who believe the impact will be much higher than Defence's estimates of about one in 10 serving staff.

Private Palmer was among the first on the scene when his colleague Private Damien Thomlinson drove over an improvised explosive device, which was to claim both his legs.

Mrs Palmer, from the Northern Territory, said she noticed a big change in her son before he returned for his third tour of Afghanistan in 2010. He later died in a Black Hawk helicopter crash.

''He developed a twitch, a sense of nervousness and was reluctant to go out in case a car backfired,'' she said.

''The government is not ready for the number of people that are going to come back with PTSD. They think it is going to be a ripple but it is going to be an enormous wave.

''The government should realise they stuffed up with Vietnam; not helping the guys when they came back. Let's not make the same mistake twice,'' she said.
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