"Veterans abandoned to private hells"
Paul Toohey September 28, 2009
Article from: The Australian
IT hurts "Jim" that when he was medically discharged from the army with psychiatric problems in 2007, he was left for six weeks without any money.
It pains him that he was asked to work 20-hour days in Iraq, facing constant mortar barrages without any protective armour.
But what plays most on his mind is that since returning from Iraq in 2006, when he crashed into a depression that has seen him attempt suicide more than 10 times -- including by trying to hang himself in full uniform -- no one from the army has ever rung him.
No one -- not from his unit, not from the command -- has ever called to say: "How are you going, mate?"
He does not feel part of the brotherhood. He does not feel he can talk to veterans his own age.
The army has washed its hands of him. He is seen as a head case. And those who have taken an interest in this young man -- namely, veterans from earlier conflicts -- are now seeing great numbers of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with post-traumatic trauma syndrome and major depression.
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