At the risk of being accused of being anti-military I again raise the issue of mental health care for America's military personnel and veterans.
The last time I raised this issue I was attacked because the source I cited was the New York Times, which my critics claim is biased against the military. Therefore, by extension, they reasoned, I should be attacked.
So today, I cite, not the New York Times, but an AP story which documents internal Army records. Records that show that Army suicides were up 20 percent in 2007. Another indicator that our members of the service need proper mental health care.
We are engaged in military combat. No one comes back from such an experience unchanged. I'm, of course, not suggesting that everyone who is ordered into a theater of war has mental health issues. But a significant number do. And veterans and veteran groups complain that the mental health services offered by the government do not meet the demand.
Another problem is a culture which makes soldiers and veterans reticent to seek this kind of help.
The Army says that it is actively addressing the problem. It conducted a study of that soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. And concluded that they needed to be screened twice to make it less likely that people needing mental health care are being missed.
"We found that the second screen is working," said study author Army Dr. (Col.) Charles S. Milliken, principal investigator, Division of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
The second medical survey "was created because a preliminary study, also done by Army medicine, suggested that we were missing soldiers by only screening as they were coming home, Milliken said.