Monday, May 2, 2016

PTSD Marines, The Few, The Proud, The Stigmatized

Marines, the few, the proud and the stigmatized. There is no other way to put it. I've talked to a lot of veterans over the last 30+ years but with the Marines, they seem to want to apologize for needing help more than others. Why hasn't anything changed in all these years? After all, we've been assured over and over again by brass that they have been taking care of our service members. Too bad they have yet to prove anything they say is true. How can we trust them after all these years of such miserable results?
Mental health stigma debilitates some Marines
The Daily News Jacksonville
By Amanda Thames and Michaela Sumner
Posted May 1, 2016

Lance Cpl. James Nuzzolillo knew he needed to seek help after he had a breakdown, crying and hyperventilating in an office at Camp Lejeune. Nuzzolillo hesitated to seek help. He didn’t want to be labeled as “that guy,” he said. He added that no one wants to be “that guy” who falls out of a hike, or “that guy” who can’t complete a run.

Essentially, no one wants to show any sign of vulnerability.

Mental health is often associated with a stigma and within the United States’ Marine Corps, that stigma is heightened by a need to eliminate weakness.

Marines need help, too

Marines protect their homes, their country, their families. They protect strangers who won’t ever thank them for the sacrifices they make on a daily basis.

The sacrifices begin in boot camp when recruits are first subjected to the demanding actions asked of them. They are screamed at and pushed to their limits through obstacle courses and rifle training. Recruits endure 13 weeks of boot camp before performing the ultimate test — The Crucible. In 54 hours’ time recruits survive on limited food and sleep to overcome obstacle after obstacle at the end of their boot camp journey. And that’s all before they officially become a Marine.

In return, society often views Marines as tough – so tough they shouldn’t need help.

While most agree Marines are some of the most resilient men and women in America, the daily strains of their jobs can take a toll on their mental well-being. Being away from their loved ones for months to years at a time, seeing combat and feeling the pressure of the image of strength they’re sometimes expected to portray affects them.
read more here

Linked from Stars and Stripes
Nothing has changed other than more suffering and dying by their own hands. The Brass cannot answer for those currently serving but they don't have to worry about the others they already discharged.
Back, but not at home
Battered returning vets struggle with transition
Boston Globe
By Charles M. Sennott
Globe Staff / November 11, 2007

The 878 men of the First Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment who came home have struggled to come to terms with the fact that 11 did not; that 68 others suffered combat wounds; and that many more were hit with injuries less visible but with long-term effects.

It is as if they all shared in those losses, and, in a real sense, most did. A Globe survey of more than 130 members of the battalion found that nearly 60 percent report one or more symptoms of war trauma - anger, depression, nightmares, hypervigilance - even if they have not been diagnosed with the disorder.

There is also a powerful consensus that while most of their neighbors appreciate their service, civilians don't quite get it. A sense of isolation grows out of that, particularly in New England, where military bases are few and hostility to the war runs high.

Camp Pendleton
Wounded Warrior Battalion focuses on injured Marines and sailors
June 20, 2008
"Eighty percent of our residents have some degree of PTSD," Lawhorne said, referring to the disorder that requires counseling and group therapy in mild cases and more intensive psychiatric treatment and medications in its more severe form. "At the same time, we're seeing a lot more TBI cases."

And then there is this from 2008
The number of Marines suffering from post-traumatic stress has risen each year since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The most recent statistics reported by the service to the Department of the Navy show there were 2,114 cases diagnosed in 2007, up from 1,366 in 2006 and 1,378 in 2005.

In their efforts to stem the increase, Marine Corps officials are increasingly relying on sergeants to monitor their troops and direct any of them with problems to get help.

A new directive that will spell out the responsibilities for commanders and those who report to them is due out the first week in September, Gaskin said.

Among the new efforts are assigning regional training coordinators to Marine bases around the country and expanding mental health teams deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Eliminating the stigma that troops themselves attach to the disorder is just as important, said Sgt. Maj. Dennis Reed, the top enlisted officer with Camp Pendleton's I Marine Expeditionary Force.

We have heard it over and over and over again as they continue to tell us one thing while Marines get a totally different message from their leaders. The stigma is alive and well but far too many veterans are not!

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