Tuesday May 10, 201101:02 PM GMT
US troops morale at 5-yrear low
Tue May 10, 2011 1:3PM
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U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan are experiencing some of the greatest psychological stress and lowest morale in five years of fighting, reports a military study.

 

"We're an Army that's in uncharted territory here," said Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Army vice chief of staff, who has focused on combat stress.

 

Mental health strain was most severe among veterans of three or more deployments, with a third of those showing signs of psychological problems defined as either stress, depression or anxiety, the report obtained by USA Today says.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

The research, based on a survey of soldiers and Marines in 2010, says decline in individual morale is significant: 46.5 percent of troops said they had medium, high or very high morale, compared with 65.7 percent who said that in 2005. USA Today

 

The report said a third of the veterans with three or more deployments to Afghanistan show signs of stress, depression or anxiety. UPI

 

Half or more of those surveyed said they had killed the enemy, and 75 percent-80 percent described the death or wounding of a buddy. Half also said that an improvised explosive device detonated within 55 yards while they were on foot patrol. The study's researchers also found evidence of physical wear-and-tear with a third of the force experiencing chronic pain. USA Today

 

The report also found that while mental health staffing has doubled in Afghanistan since 2009, many troops are fighting too far from the facilities to seek help. Truth Out

 

FACTS & FIGURES

 

According to an Army survey conducted in July 2009, soldiers in combat units said deployment had a direct effect on family life -- 16.5 percent faced divorce or separation. Nextgov

 

Just over half of all veterans' post-deployment health visits address lingering pain in their backs, necks, knees or shoulders said Dr. Stephen Hunt, national director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Post Deployment Integrative Care Initiative. Myhealthnewsdaily

 

Of the 289,328 veterans who entered Veteran's Affair healthcare from 2002 to 2008, nearly 37% had mental health problems, including post traumatic stress disorder (about 22%) and depression (roughly 17%). Guardian

 

A 2010 June study in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry found that one in 10 Iraq war vets develop serious mental problems, including violent behavior, depression and alcohol abuse. Myhealthnewsdaily

 

In 2010, more than 134,000 people made calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Of those callers, 61 percent identified themselves as veterans. News.medill

 

Figures released by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2010 show a dramatic increase in suicide among veterans aged 18 to 29 years old, due in large part to multiple deployments and the overall stress of combat. Truth-out

 

HJ/SM/MMN

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