Monday, December 04, 2006

Tune in: NPR finds soldiers have limited access to mental health services

As an intern with media relations, I am sometimes asked to transcribe an interview or story. Typically, they are just important or interesting sections that NPR wants to include in press releases that we send to journalists. I had the opportunity to transcribe the interview portions from an amazingly interesting investigative piece by NPR’s National Correspondent Daniel Zwerdling.

In the story, which airs today on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Daniel investigates soldiers who return to Ft. Carson (an army base in Colorado) from Iraq with emotional problems including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Now, there have been similar stories about Iraq veterans - as somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 to 25 percent of people who’ve served in Iraq return with serious mental health problems (including depression, substance abuse and PTSD). However, in his investigation, Daniel discovered that not only do soldiers who feel distressed or helpless have a difficult time receiving help but these soldiers are often punished by their superiors and even forced out of the army.

I highly recommend listening to this investigation if you have the opportunity. It is both fascinating and unsettling to listen to the stories of these troubled soldiers, the officers who admit to mistreating them and the pattern of Ft. Carson officials forcing these troubled soldiers out of the army without receiving any benefits or treatment. Tune in today on All Things Considered (and, frankly, every day).

-Kyle Lowden

You can also listen to the story here.

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