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SOLDIERS’ RIGHT TO HEAL 06/30/2012

Posted by landfallprods in Purple Mind.
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Purple Mind” has been a supporter of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) for years.  Today, we received a letter addressed to supporters which deserves to be shared in its entirety…

“With 10,000 service members currently deployed to Afghanistan from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Washington State and another 4,000 set to deploy this fall, we are preparing to launch a historic outreach drive at JBLM to directly challenge the practice of deploying traumatized troops and stand up for service members right to heal.

“I’m writing to you today as a former infantryman in the United States Army stationed at JBLM who deployed to Iraq in 2009.  Part way into my deployment to Iraq and continuing through my last year in the Army, I had psychological and emotional troubles related to my time in Iraq and in the Army.  I tried to resolve these problems on my own to the point where what was bothering me pushed me to the edge of what I felt like I could control.  I felt like I was going crazy, and I felt like I was close to doing something I’d regret, or something that would hurt my wife and family in the process.

“When I tried to get help from the Army I found the deck was stacked against me from the beginning.  Attempting to seek care in the Army was like jumping over a series of hurdles.  I had to figure out everything on my own.  First, where did I even need to go to talk to someone?  From there it was an uphill battle to get in front of a doctor that would provide me with meaningful help, rather than relaying the same, standard-issue script or pamphlets they they’d been given by the Army to provide to anybody who walked through the door.

“Along the way, it was a struggle with my superiors to attend my once a week therapy sessions.  They would ask me if I could reschedule as the appointments were getting in the way of work.  It was as if having to go to a psychologist once a week was the largest, most inconvenient problem in the world.  Ultimately, that last year and a half in the Army when I was going through the mental health system was harder for me than the year I spent in Iraq.

“My situation is not unique.  A IVAW, we’re preparing to talk to thousands of service members during our August outreach drive.  We’ll be educating them about their rights, encouraging them to stand up for themselves, and providing them support in partnership with Coffee Strong.  By doing this we will directly challenge the continued occupation of Afghanistan and support veterans healing from trauma.  Signed Greg Miller, USA, 2008-2011

Anyone wishing to contact Greg or support Operation Recovery may contact them at:  IVAW Washington State – 5515 Steilacoom Blvd. #112 – Lakewood, WA 98499, or on the web http://www.ivawwashington.org / facebook.com/seattle.ivaw

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