Friday, July 29, 2016

Veterans Court Helping Veteran Stay Alive

A report out of Michigan on Veterans Courts covers the issue of redeployments and the increased burden veterans carry on their shoulders.
Bringing the war home

Suicide has killed more American veterans than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Veterans often return from combat tours accustomed to violence and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, Eling said. A soldier serving multiple combat tours has become more common than it was in previous generations, increasing the risk of mental illness.
Reminder on this part. The Army did a study back in 2006 on redeployments and found they increased the risk of PTSD by 50%. They did it anyway.
U.S. soldiers serving repeated Iraq deployments are 50 percent more likely than those with one tour to suffer from acute combat stress, raising their risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Army's first survey exploring how today's multiple war-zone rotations affect soldiers' mental health.
The findings reflect the fact that some soldiers -- many of whom are now spending only about a year at home between deployments -- are returning to battle while still suffering from the psychological scars of earlier combat tours, the report said.

How a high-risk combat veteran is overcoming suicide attempts via special court
MLIVE
By Malachi Barrett
July 28, 2016

MUSKEGON, MI — When Dana Harvey talks about his experience with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, his warm tone becomes heavy and listless.

His voice drops deeper and sometimes trails off toward the end of a sentence. There is more weight to his words; each is carefully chosen and seems to sit next to him in the room.

Harvey joined the U.S. Navy at 19 because he wanted to do something that would let him hold his head up high. After he got out, the disabled veteran's experiences in war led to the lowest point of his life.

"I had become real depressed and was drinking a lot and kept having nightmares, like war dreams and night shakes," he said. "I had a little bit of survivor's guilt, they tell me. I guess that's true. I ended up attempting suicide. Actually I attempted it a few times. Six times."

The Battle Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center taught Harvey techniques to deal with his depression, but he didn't stop medicating with alcohol. For the majority of his adult life, he drank to sleep, to stop thinking and cope with trauma.

In the summer of 2014, it caught up with him. Harvey blacked out and became unresponsive while taking care of his daughter Gwendalynn. He was charged with fourth degree child abuse, a misdemeanor charge that could mean up to one year in jail.
read more here