More Suicides Among Guard, Reserve Soldiers

More Suicides Among Guard, Reserve Soldiers, 9 Jan 2011, USA Today

By Gregg Zoroya

The U.S. Army vice chief of staff, Peter Chiarelli, speaks at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., last month. Army leaders must heighten efforts to reduce suicide rates among National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers, he says.

 

An increase in suicides among National Guard soldiers largely in states across the Midwest — such as Missouri and Wisconsin — is responsible for a 24% increase in Army suicides last year, the service reported Wednesday.

Missouri and Texas each reported seven suicides among their National Guard troops in 2010, Wisconsin had six, and there were five each in the National Guard units of Minnesota, Ohio, Arizona, California and North Carolina.

Soldiers, both active duty and on inactive status, died by suicide at the rate of 25 per month in 2010, Army figures show.

“All of us are stunned by it, and we wished we knew why,” says Army Lt. Col. Jackie Guthrie of the Wisconsin National Guard. “It is especially hard when it’s suicide, when it’s someone hurting in our ranks.”

USA TODAY reported in November that suicides had doubled among National Guard soldiers who were on inactive duty in a year when the Army was seeing a slight decline among active-duty soldier suicides.

The Army released final year-end statistics Wednesday. There were 301 confirmed or suspected soldier suicides in 2010, including those on active duty and reservists or National Guard troops on an inactive status, the Army reported Wednesday. This compares with 242 in 2009.

 

FULL ARTICLE AT: http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2011-01-20-suicides20_ST_N.htm

Study: Help Upfront Reduces Troops’ Mental Ills

Study: Help Upfront Reduces Troops’ Mental Ills, 18 Jan 2011, USA Today

By Gregg Zoroya

 

A battlefield study conducted by the Army on 20,000 soldiers during the troop surge in Iraq shows that more aggressive efforts to question and counsel GIs about their mental health reduce by nearly 80% the number who develop behavioral health illnesses during combat.

The results of the study, to be published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry, also show that 54% fewer soldiers contemplated suicide and that the number who needed to be sent home from Iraq with mental health problems dropped by nearly 70%.

“We’re excited about what this study shows,” says Maj. Gen. Patricia Horoho, Army deputy surgeon general. “It is the first direct evidence that a program (of more aggressive screening and treatment) is effective in preventing adverse behavioral health outcomes.”

The Army will begin using screening and treatment methods from the study within six months, Horoho says.

 

FULL ARTICLE AT: http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20110118/iraqscreening18_st.art.htm

Report Examines Combat Stress Care Of Women Vets

Report Examines Combat Stress Care Of Women Vets, Newport News Daily Press, 10 Jan 2011 

By Veronica Chufo

 

The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General released a report studying the growing number of women who suffer from combat stress.

Among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, a smaller pecentage of women than men were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, while a higher percentage were diagnosed with depression.

That’s according to a report requested by Sen. Mark R. Warner and prepared by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General.

Although women aren’t assigned to units primarily engaged in direct ground combat, many female veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from the same combat stress as their male counterparts.

Warner was hearing that the Department of Veterans Affairs was not fully taking care of those women, so he called for a study of the growing number of women who suffer from combat stress. He will tour the Hampton VA Monday to talk about the report.

Genevieve Chase, executive director of the nonprofit American Women Veterans, applauded Warner’s effort to get the study funded.

“Now that we have the facts, we need to analyze it,” she said.

The study looked at 246,976 veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and 246,080 who served elsewhere.

Among those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, about 12 percent of active female veterans and about 16 percent of reserve unit female veterans were diagnosed with PTSD, compared to about 17 percent of active and reserve male veterans.

 

FULL ARTICLE AT: http://articles.dailypress.com/2011-01-09/news/dp-nws-va-women-20110109_1_female-veterans-direct-ground-combat-combat-stress

 

A year at War: Families Bear Brunt Of Deployment Strains

A year at War: Families Bear Brunt Of Deployment Strains, New York Times, 31 Dec 2010

By James Dao and Catrin Einhorn

Sgt. First Class Brian Eisch embraced his sons, Joey, 8, left; and Isaac, 12, before returning to his deployment in Afghanistan after a two week midtour leave

 

WAUTOMA, Wis. — Life changed for Shawn Eisch with a phone call last January. His youngest brother, Brian, a soldier and single father, had just received orders to deploy from Fort Drum, N.Y., to Afghanistan and was mulling who might take his two boys for a year. Shawn volunteered.

So began a season of adjustments as the boys came to live in their uncle’s home here. Joey, the 8-year-old, got into fistfights at his new school. His 12-year-old brother, Isaac, rebelled against their uncle’s rules. And Shawn’s three children quietly resented sharing a bedroom, the family computer and, most of all, their parents’ attention with their younger cousins.

The once comfortable Eisch farmhouse suddenly felt crowded.

”It was a lot more traumatic than I ever pictured it, for them,” Shawn, 44, said. ”And it was for me, too.”

The work of war is very much a family affair. Nearly 6 in 10 of the troops deployed today are married, and nearly half have children. Those families — more than a million of them since 2001 — have borne the brunt of the psychological and emotional strain of deployments.

Siblings and grandparents have become surrogate parents. Spouses have struggled with loneliness and stress. Children have felt confused and abandoned during the long separations. All have felt anxieties about the distant dangers of war.

Christina Narewski, 26, thought her husband’s second deployment might be easier for her than his first. But she awoke one night this summer feeling so anxious about his absence that she thought she was having a heart attack and called an ambulance. And she still jumps when the doorbell rings, worried it will be officers bearing unwanted news.

”You’re afraid to answer your door,” she said.

 

FULL ARTICLE AT: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/31/world/asia/31families.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1311686020-DFQfRXdPrGTC+NYYDk9yXw

 

 

For Many Returning Veterans, Home Is Where The Trouble Is

For Many Returning Veterans, Home Is Where The Trouble Is, New York Times, 3 Jan 2011

By Lawrence Downes

 

UTICA, N.Y.–Across the country a tide is reversing. Soldiers deployed to two long wars are coming back, bringing some of the anguish home with them. Those who leave the service are trying to restart civilian lives, rejoining their families, going to college, trying to find jobs. It doesn’t always work out.

The challenges for returning veterans are particularly visible in upstate New York, around Fort Drum, home to the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, and some of the most frequently deployed combat units anywhere. Since 9/11, tens of thousands of Drum soldiers have seen two or three, sometimes even four tours of duty. Most who return disperse around the country, but a significant percentage stay nearby. Veterans are 13 percent of the population in the Fort Drum area, compared with 9 percent in the rest of the state.

In that band of fading cities and rural communities, the governmental safety net is stretched thin. With more veterans needing help, a growing network of nonprofit organizations is rising to meet the demand.

Business is booming in the veterans outreach center in downtown Utica. The center, once a YMCA, was bright and bustling on a recent gray, snow-dusted day. Staff members proudly showed the strands of a new safety net being woven into place: dormitory rooms upstairs that will soon be converted to transitional housing, a basement full of donated clothing, housewares and furniture. Classrooms. A boxing ring and exercise room. An Internet cafe.

On Dec. 10, the center celebrated the ribbon-cutting for a new program in which veterans meet other veterans for outings, conversation, friendship. The simple idea behind it: if you haven’t been there, you don’t know.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/03/opinion/03mon4.html

Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Sustaining Member of the Month

Association of the United States Army (AUSA) has selected the firm as the Sustaining Member of the Month

Dear Steptoe Group Supporters,

The Steptoe Group, LLC is please to announce that the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) has selected the firm as the Sustaining Member of the Month (Jan 2010). There are over 550 Sustaining Member companies. AUSA only bestows this honor on twelve companies in a given year.  You may view the AUSA feature at the link below or via the attachment.

http://www.ausa.org/membership/sustaining/members/Pages/TheSteptoeGroup,LLC.aspx

 

Thank you for your continued support and prayers,

 

Ronald J. Steptoe, CMR

Steptoe Group, LLC

President

443-324-1030

ron@thesteptoegroup.com

www.thesteptoegroup.com

The Experience of Children from Military Families

Views from the Home Front

The Experience of Children from Military Families, Rand Corporation, Dec 2009

This study highlights that deployment is a period of transition and potential stress for military families; however, there is limited understanding of the experience of children from military families. In addition, there is little information with respect to their overall well-being. Although studies have begun to explore the impact of the current wars on child well-being, none have examined how children are doing across social, emotional, and academic domains. In this study, we describe the health and well-being of children from military families from the perspectives of the child and non-deployed parent. We also assessed the experience of deployment for children and how it varies according to deployment length and military service component.

http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9488/index1.html


Young Vets with PTSD more Prone to Heart Risk Factors

Adolescent Brain Development and Juvenile Justice – Fact Sheet

47 percent of the soldiers in the Army are between the ages of 17-24 years. 67% of the Marines in the Marine Corps are between the ages of 17-24 years. This article states that recent magnetic brain imagery technology has shown the brain does not complete its frontal lobe development until the age of 25. The frontal lobe of the brain is responsible for executive function and higher lever thinking. The emotional stressors and traumas of war may have a more deleterious impact on the mental and behavioral health conditions of adolescent service members, and veterans.

http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/healthday/2009/08/04/young-vets-with-ptsd-more-prone-to-heart-risk.html