Top officers calls for mental tests ignored

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by CharlieBubbles, Apr 11, 2009.

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    Colonel's report on formal assessments for injured soldiers is filed away

    Urgent calls by a senior army officer that there should be targeted psychological assessment for seriously wounded soldiers returning from Afghanistan have been ignored for 18 months.

    In an internal document dated November 2007, Lt-Col Andrew Whiteley called for immediate action to deal with the mental anguish of troops suffering from horrendous wounds, but his appeal was met with a "deafening silence".

    In 2007, during one of the bloodiest tours of Helmand, Lt-Col Whiteley, a senior officer in charge of welfare for 12 Mechanised Brigade, conducted a study on the psychological impact of trauma injuries. In his report he recommended that: "A systematic approach to the early diagnosis of mental health problems in service personnel who have suffered trauma injury is introduced as a matter of urgency."

    While the document commended the physical care given to men returning with amputations, burns or gunshot wounds, it found that little was being done to handle the mental devastation of such life-changing injuries – in contrast to American procedures.

    It pointed out that there did not appear to be a system of formal mental health assessment for wounded soldiers, or any UK research into the mental impact of such injuries.

    Lt-Col Whiteley wrote that as many as 10 per cent of British soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan would develop mental health problems.

    The report was passed to the Deputy Chief of Staff, then Major Neil Allison, and to the headquarters of 3rd (UK) Mechanised Division for "action". But no system was implemented. It appears the report has simply been filed away.

    "From the response I had while writing it, I doubt it was ever taken any further," Lt-Col Whiteley told The Independent. "The fact is the UK MoD [Ministry of Defence] had been in denial about this issue since the Falklands."
  2. I believe there is a legal definition for this. Criminal negligence.
  3. Therefore WHAT is DECOMPRESSION and HOW does it work?
  4. Three days in Cyprus, throwing as many beers down your neck as you can before headbutting and in some cases, making love to in front of an audience, your oppo who you've been fighting alongside the previous 6 months.
  5. Sorry CB, i don't understand the context of your question. please clarify.

    (I could give you my definition, but WTF do i know about it!)
  6. My view is that decompression is a damage limitation exercise, certainly not a short/medium/long term approach to the mental fall out from Ops

    We are saving up a lot of problems
  7. Three days just means it is four days before the guys that need it flip out and get p1ssed and kick off with a civvie whilst on leave.

    Load of b0llocks
  8. Some one needs to work out some percentage figures and sell them hard to the powers that be. Its a mahoosive issue, one that will bend service personel and produce problems far in to the future

    Can some one post all the relevant links for PTSD below cheers
  9. A good few links can be found on this thread.

    edited to add my 2d.

    Decompression is most useful if the people can share the adjustment to a peaceful environment. Knowing that others are having issues (dreams etc) helps individuals to understand that they are not alone and not 'mad' or weak. The dreams and rages are normal and the reduction in stress for the individual from knowing that others are going throught the same thing, can help to reduce the overall stress levels and thereby aid in the adjustment.

    All wounded soldiers should have training on what PTSD is and how it effects you. If anyone has had a proper flashback, they will know it can be a most unsettling experience. Knowing what a flashback is, and that it too, can be a 'normal' reaction, helps to reduce it's impact, so the individual does not dwell on it.
  10. Three days in Cyprus - the norm last year was 24 hours! Less in many cases by the time flight delays, baggage loss, admin, on the bus off the bus, etc was taken into account.

    The Canadians have seen real value in using decompression as a tool to identify and reduce risk of PTSD. As always we try to do it on the cheap - sheer tokenism.
  11. Exactly right, we had less than 24 hrs. Turned up in cyprus completley hooped from the flight, went to tunnel beach for "activities" but was to windy to do anything. Had a burger then got back on the transport, to watch a film in the mobile cinema. Come 1900hrs for the smoker and f**king hit the Keo big time, got absolutley sh*t faced and woke up for my flight back. That was delayed. Oh, we had a brief of a Padre and some geezer about driving at home. To be honest most of us wanted to get back, all at least stay there and have a few days on the lash down town.

    Decompression is a good idea, but the way we do it is complete shite.
  12. A mate of mine got his missus (Who he managed to work with for 6 months without banging) pregnant on decompression. They quickly declared their undying love and became a couple. They're both now out of the army as she had no intentions of being a service mum and neither of them wanted to live on the sh1tty Pad estate. Oh and they have split up.

    All for the sake of a token show of "Oh look aren't we aware of PTSD."

    Decompression is mainly Drinking, Fighting and Shagging where available.

    Operational stand down during tours and regular reviews on return are what is needed. Not an end of tour p1ss up in Cyprus.
  13. Given in the early years of the toubles in NI, the ONLY way most dealt with what they had done, seen, smelt was to get hammered, I would have thought at least in principle 'Decompression' that is much talked about would now be working for all those o their return from Herrick & Telic?

    Obiously not! Nor did I feel given the Mod track record on the denial of any Mental Health problems real or percieved, did I feel that what should be done IS done in the real world.

    Another case of WE have this, WE have that in place to support all servicemen and women through their transition from Combat to Normal duties back home, for those who know the "Jack Mizon" story, will accept there is a big BLACK hole where the services are suppose to be!

    Given one of the ideas was to get each and everyone in the troop to look for the signs and symptoms of Combat PTSD, so now we have a military full of Psychologists. do WE?

    British soldiers victims of a mental conflict without end

    It was nobody's fault, he said. Anthony Montgomery was a 21-year-old Royal Marine when he was ambushed by his own side on regular reconnaissance in the Falklands. Minutes later, he was trying to revive his friend who had been cut in half by British guns.

    “It was confusing and awful,” he said. “We were both firing at each other. I saw Bob, Keith and Pete [surnames omitted] cut down. I tried to put Keith back together but I couldn't. He died in my arms. They were good brothers.” The incident was dealt with brusquely. “Back to business,” the commander said the next day.

    Two years on Mr Montgomery was discharged with deafness and asthma brought on by stress, having been offered no treatment for trauma. Outside the Army, he quickly developed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His doctor said that they would go away. They didn't.

    Mr Montgomery is only one casualty of a hidden war, a cruel conflict that takes place long after the physical battle, in ways that are seldom obvious and often ignored. Thousands of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are failing to benefit from government compensation for the mental scars inflicted by military service. Many feel abandoned by the society that sent them to war.