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Posts Tagged ‘PTSD Suicide’

Officer Down: Police, PTSD and Suicide

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 13, 2012

Left untreated, the effects of PTSD on law enforcement can be terrible. In 2012 so far, more police have died by their own hand than by gunfire.

Workers Comp Insider  August 13, 2012

Thanks to Workers Comp Insider for this timely and important article

Last month, there was a story about a South Carolina sheriff who was denied workers comp benefits for metal distress that he suffered after fatally shooting a suspect. In Brandon Bentley v. Spartanburg County, and S.C. Association of Counties SIF, the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld a lower court denial saying that “…the use of deadly force is an expected and standard part of being a sheriff and is “not an unusual or extraordinary employment condition” that might qualify for workers’ compensation under the state’s restricted coverage for purely mental injuries. In citing statistics, the Sheriff had unsuccessfully tried to demonstrate that such a shooting was indeed an extraordinary event in Spartanburg County. “

The Court noted that it made its decision according to the law as it is written but “… the court did say the state law related to mental injuries should be updated. If South Carolina lawmakers revised state law, it would join a handful of others, wrote the court. Hawaii, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Oregon already do not require that the conditions of employment be unusual and extraordinary in order for someone to collect compensation.” (Source: Court brings new focus on mental health of law enforcement.)

Hopefully, his community or his police force sees the wisdom of extending some counseling to this officer, despite the denial of full benefits. Re-examining this issue makes good sense. While risks may well be part of the job, people are not automatons that can shut out the emotional residue of terrible events, regardless of training. PTSD is very real, and we must get better at dealing with it. This story was brought to mind again after watching the hard-working police Chief of Aurora Colorado reporting on the gruesome task that his staff faced in responding to the tragedy. In one of his daily updates, his voice broke when he spoke of the stress and toll this took on first responders.

Left untreated, the effects of PTSD on law enforcement can be terrible. In 2012 so far, more police have died by their own hand than by gunfire. According to Badge of Life, a police suicide prevention program, there have been 73 police suicides this year vs. 19 officers killed by gunfire. Badge of Life is conducting A Study of Police Suicides. The first full study of police suicides in all 50 states was published in 2009 in the International Journal of Emergency Mental Health. At that time, the suicide rate for police officers was 17/100,000, compared to the rate for the general public of 11/100,000 and 20/100,000 for the Army.

Badge of Life points us to a documentary that is in progress on the topic, Code 9 Officer Needs Assistance. It’s being co-produced by the wife of a retired state trooper suffering with PTSD, exploring the darker side of law enforcement as it tells the stories of police officers and their families who are now suffering the mental anguish of the careers they chose, which has led some to suicide. Click the above link or the image below to see a powerful excerpt from the documentary. You can get more information on the Code 9 Facebook page.

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Iraq war veteran, 25, shoots himself after battle with PTSD

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 27, 2012

Once every half hour in America, a veteran tries to commit suicide according to VA figures for 2011

We’ll never know how many Civilian Contractor Suicides , how many could be prevented

The Daily Mail  July 27, 2012

On a warm summer afternoon, Michael Ecker, a 25-year-old Iraq war veteran, called out to his father from a leafy spot in their backyard.

Then, as the two stood steps apart, Michael saluted, raised a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

‘His eyes rolled back,’ his father, Matt, said softly as he recounted the 2009 suicide. ‘There was just nothing I could do.’

Weeks before he killed himself at the family’s home in Champion, Ohio, Michael received a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs accusing him of ‘over-reporting’ the extent of his psychiatric problems.  Read more here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Dropping the DBA Ball, PTSD and TBI, Suicide | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wade Dill AIG/KBR PTSD DBA Casualty July 16th, 2006

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 15, 2012

After many years of surviving an extremely abusive and Overly Zealous Defense

Wade Dill’s  family was finally provided death benefits under the Defense Base Act

These benefits were recently taken away by the Benefits Review Board when Attorney Bruce Nicholson, who was actively pursuing a settlement with KBR/AIG’s Attorney Michael Thomas, had a contract with the widow, was an attorney with the Law Firm of Peyman Rahnama, was the attorney of record with the BRB, did not as much as respond to the Appeal.

While Bruce Nicholson is the one who apparently purposely abandoned the claim, Michael Thomas and the BRB were more than happy to carry on without notifying the widow that AIG’s appeal of her claim was unopposed.

The man I married was my prince charming.
We had grown up together.
High school sweethearts, we were married 17 ½ years.
I believe that if he had never gone over there he would still be
here today.
Something happened in Iraq.
He committed suicide the morning of July 16th, 2006
He left behind a lot of pain and two ruined lives.
I never dreamed I would be without him
my daughter without a father.

Our thoughts are with you today Barb

Posted in AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Iraq, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Misjudgements, PTSD and TBI, Racketeering, T Christian Miller, Veterans, War Hazards Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

CNA’s Deadly Paper Games, Just another CNA DBA Suicide in the making

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 21, 2012

It is certainly going to have the desired result. 

They are going to kill him and it is going to be soon. 

Before the year is out I believe this man is going to commit suicide.

PTSD Claims to be Expedited

CNA’s Deadly Paper Games do not begin or end with this Injured War  Zone Contractor

Nearly 14 months to the day of a Department of Labor District Director signing an Order approved by an ALJ stating that CNA must provide medical for a  severely Injured War Zone Contractor’s injuries, the details of which were gagged…..

And 3 1/2 months after Injured War Zone Contractor asked the District Director to find them in Default for not doing so……..

CNA produces a stack of  FAXES supposedly sent to Injured War Zone Contractors Doctors stating that they have “re-approved” payment of diagnoses and treatment, most of which were never approved, ever, much less “re- approved”.  In fact for most of the Doctors CNA denied diagnoses and treatment for blast injuries for many years.

Several Doctors stated that yes they received a FAX but that it did not mean they accepted the approval and that it did not guarantee payment.  Payment would have to made in advance.  CNA’s reputation for non payment is no secret.

The rest of the doctors state that they never received “approval” at all.

Unemployed and otherwise uninsured Injured War Zone Contractor pays for some visits via credit card as they are so vital.  Doctor then sends a bill to CNA for payment despite not having received an approval,  which CNA refuses.  Injured War Zone Contractors scheduled visits are then cancelled due to non payment by CNA.

These are deadly games CNA plays in order to continue to deny medical even after a hard won order is produced.

And who do they claim is vague, ambiguous, and whose claims are not supported by Facts, or should we say FAX?

It must be the very well respected and credentialed doctors, or the Attorney, or the Injured War Zone Contractor

This negligent paper game continues despite a recent medical report from February stating:

“I do not understand the entire bureaucracy issue.  He tells me that CNA has written to us and that we are approved for Workers’ Compensation.  We have no record to that effect.  We are just not going to be paid and they are not going to authorize treatment.  Bureaucracies have their problems but this almost seems to be purposeful.

It is certainly going to have the desired result.  They are going to kill him and it is going to be soon.  Before the year is out I believe this man is going to commit suicide.

And he’ll be just another CNA DBA Suicide.

Note:   CNA’s response is to ask for an informal conference.  Several informal conferences, a settlement conference with a Judge, orders signed by a Judge and the District Director, and yet another informal conference after an 18 month default is even a consideration???  Let’s just run this out until the end of year and we won’t have to worry about this guy anyway!!!!

Posted in AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Hope that I die, Injured Contractors, Interviews with Injured War Zone Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Suicide, Uncategorized, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

PTSD Casualty-Hidden war zone scars claim another soldier/civilian contractor’s life

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 5, 2012

Another Defense Base Act PTSD failure.

McIntosh took his own life in February in Harlingen, Texas. He was 35

Doug Robinson at Deseret News  June 5, 2012

Dale McIntosh stands with children in Central America. McIntosh did private security work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dale McIntosh was no stranger to death. When it wasn’t everywhere around him, it was a constant threat, something that kept him literally looking over his shoulder for months at a time.

A former Marine, he hired himself out as a privately contracted bodyguard in the Middle East, where he lived on the edge and saw and did things so terrible that it haunted him. He survived firefights, ambushes, exploding cars, road mines, snipers and rocket-propelled grenades. In the end, he escaped without any wounds, or at least none we could see.

When he returned, he seemed to be the Dale that his friends remembered — charming, gregarious, warm, outgoing — but inside, he was hurting and disturbed. McIntosh brought demons home with him.

In 2006, I wrote a lengthy profile about McIntosh, then a student at Westminster who took time off from his studies to pursue quick money and an adrenaline fix in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the postscript: McIntosh took his own life in February in Harlingen, Texas. He was 35

After graduating from Utah State, Dale served five years in the Marines — part of it in special ops — but felt unfulfilled because he never saw action. He compared it to being an athlete who never got in the game. Eager to use his military skills and see action, he signed on to do private security work. At the time, there was a big demand for security firms, the most famous and controversial of which was Blackwater. With a shortage of manpower, the U.S. government hired the firms to protect American interests and personnel in the Middle East. They were largely ungoverned by law, which did not make them popular at home or abroad. McIntosh spent six months in Afghanistan, five months in Iraq, two months in Bosnia and then another two months in Iraq before returning to Utah in the fall of 2005.

Doug Robinson has written at length about his friend Dale.  Please read the entire story here


Posted in Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Department of Labor, Iraq, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, PTSD and TBI, Veterans, Xe | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

All’s Fair in Love and AIG WAR? No Ethics ?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 14, 2012

Defense Base Act Claimants really are in another War Zone when they must file a DBA Claim.

As it turns out many, too many, of the Plaintiff’s own Attorneys are aiding and abetting the enemy

Last January ALJ  Berlin awarded the Dill Widow DBA Death Benefits in a very important PTSD/Suicide Claim.

This claim was denied for five years while Wade Dill’s  widow Barbara’s integrity was brutally attacked as though she had pulled the trigger herself.

KBR refused to supply Wade Dill’s medical records and other reports which would have exposed the state of mind he was in while still in Iraq.  But it is OK to defy discovery if you are AIG/KBR-SEII.  Do not try this yourself, you’ll lose your claim.

Dennis Nalick was the Attorney who brought this claim to a successful decision. 

Barbara Dill’s next Attorney, Bruce H Nicholson, refused to address misinformation in the records saying “you won the claim why would you want to mess with it”.

Mr Nicholson refuted any suggestion that this very important decision would be appealed.  He went so far as to tell the Widow that she should discontinue corresponding with those who assured her it would be.  Bad people we are, just trying to upset her needlessly.

AIG KBR SEII via Michael Thomas appealed the decision.

Mr Nicholson never responded to the Benefits Review Board on behalf of the Widow though he assured her he was on top of it and he and the widow corresponded regularly.

On February 28 the BRB overturned the ALJ’s decision, unopposed.  The widow was not represented at all.

Mr. Nicholson was though, prior to this decision, negotiating a “settlement” with Michael Thomas and AIG which would take this important PTSD Suicide decision out of this WAR as case law for all impending and future PTSD Suicide claims.  The same Mr Nicholson who posted here at the blog in response to the award:

“The decision represents a sound road map for work related contractor suicide claims and is unlikely to be overturned when followed.”

We ask, is no one in this wretched biased system held to any standard of ethical practice?

Mr Nicholson was responsible for representing the Widow and he did not.

Would it not have been a requirement of those who were involved in this to make the widow aware, to speak up?

We do not kid ourselves that this was simply a case of friendly fire.  There was too much at stake here.

Posted in PTSD and TBI, AIG and CNA, KBR, Misjudgements, Department of Labor, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Political Watch, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Follow the Money, Iraq, Delay, Deny, Dropping the DBA Ball, Defense Medical Examinations, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Lawyers, AWOL Medical Records, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Suicide, Chartis | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

PTSD Suicide Joseph R Clyde

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 5, 2012

Joseph R Clyde – “JC”, Clydesdale
Jan 14, 1970 – Jan 28, 2012 – RIP
Iraq 2005 -2009 BT – Anaconda

Tribute to those who gave all

Posted in AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Dropping the DBA Ball, PTSD and TBI, Suicide | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

A Marine’s Suicide And A Family’s Fight For Compensation

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 28, 2012

“Danelle will say her husband died of a battle wound, it just took him 2-and-a-half-years to die.”

Here and Now Boston  February 28, 2012

There is no doubt the U.S. military has beefed up its suicide prevention efforts in recent years, adding mental health staff to deal with the huge influx of returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan but the suicides continue–an astonishing 18 veterans killed themselves each day, according to a recent Washington Post article.

The piece was written by the paper’s military reporter Greg Jaffe and it centers on the 2010 death of a former Marine, Maj. Jeff Hack, who killed himself more than two years after he left the military.

As Jaffe writes, Hackett was a standout Marine, plucked from the enlisted ranks to become an officer. But serving in Iraq, when 13 men under his command were killed, turned him on himself. After his first tour, he tried to retire early, but the Marines said “no” and sent him back for that second tour.

Once he came home for good, what happened will sound familiar to the families of other returning vets with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Heavy drinking, erratic behavior, and finally suicide in an America legion hall in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

What happened after Hackett’s death is really the subject of Greg Jaffe’s story, because while the Veterans Administration acknowledges Maj. Jeff Hackett died as a result of chronic PTSD connected to his Iraq experience, it still denied his widow Danelle a $400,000 life insurance claim.

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, PTSD and TBI, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Iraq vet shoots and kills wife; himself in Daytona Beach

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 6, 2012

“It’s an horrific tragedy,” said Chief Chitwood. “You have a 25 year old woman who never set foot in Iraq, yet she is a casualty of the war. Clearly, the staff sergeant had issues as a lot of returning veterans do.”

Police in Daytona Beach say a decorated Iraq War veteran shot and killed his young wife before turning the gun on himself.

Fox News Orlando  February5, 2012

Neighbors of the couple’s apartment off of Jimmy Ann Drive thought they heard two gunshots late Saturday night, but didn’t think anything was wrong Sunday morning. “When they didn’t see or hear from them, they went knocked on the door, no response around 11 a.m. and they called us,” says Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood.

Officers kicked in the door and found 25 year old Tiffany Pemberton dead from a gunshot wound in the living room. Her husband, 28 year old Jason Pemberton was dead in the bedroom about 10 feet away with what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head from a rifle.

“He was a man that had a big heart and he just snapped,” said neighbor Rick Lang of Pemberton. “He was highly decorated, three purple hearts, was really not happy about the way he was being treated by the V.A.”

A photo online shows then Staff Sergeant Jason Pemberton during an operation in Iraq in August of 2007. The U.S. Army sniper served with the 82nd Airborne Division and Lang says served two tours of duty in Iraq. “He’s got ribbons like you wouldn’t believe…it’s real sad, very sad.”

Daytona Beach Police say it does not appear the war vet left behind a note. Investigators will still have to examine his military and medical records. “It’s an horrific tragedy,” said Chief Chitwood. “You have a 25 year old woman who never set foot in Iraq, yet she is a casualty of the war. Clearly, the staff sergeant had issues as a lot of returning veterans do.”

The couple, originally from North Carolina and Alabama, has only been married a short time. They had been living in Daytona Beach while he went to school to become a motorcycle mechanic.

Neighbors say the couple had a history of arguments. Police had only been called to the apartment once before last summer. Pemberton called police on his wife, but when officers arrived he met them at the entrance to the apartment complex to tell them he no longer needed their help.

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

War Widow Blames VA Neglect for her Husband’s Suicide

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 18, 2011

Sadly this reads like so many  Defense Base Act  PTSD Suicides, Neglect and unreasonable demands….

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. Courthouse News   October 18, 2011

Neglect and unreasonable demands from the Veterans Administration caused another Iraq war veteran to kill himself,

his widow claims in Federal Court. She says that despite a doctor’s “clear diagnosis” of post-traumatic stress disorder, from roadside bombs, including one that killed 93 people, the VA refused to admit he suffered from PTSD, with excuses such as “the diagnosis ‘does not specify which Diagnostic and Statistical Manual was used'”; and that he “‘failed to provide dates of the incidents or names of any casualties.'”
Tracy Eiswert says her husband Scott suffered substandard care from the VA hospital in Mountain Home, Tenn., before he killed himself in 2008. He was 31. She survives, with their two young children.
It’s the latest in a string of lawsuits from families of veterans nationwide, who say the VA was less than helpful after veterans returned from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The VA in July 2010 relaxed requirements for veterans seeking service-connected PTSD benefits, but the agency still faces criticism for its mental health services.
The 9th Circuit ruled this year in a California class action that the “VA’s failure to provide adequate procedures for veterans facing prejudicial delays in the delivery of mental health care violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment,” according to Tracy Eiswert’s complaint.
Scott Eiswert joined the National Guard in 2001 and served in Iraq in 2004 and 2005.

Tracy Eiswert says her husband first sought help for his symptoms after he was honorably discharged in November 2005.
She says Scott saw a professional counselor at a private mental health facility in Greeneville for almost 4 months. Scott’s symptoms included depression, acute insomnia, extreme stress and irritability, according to medical records described in the complaint.
His counselor recommended individual psychotherapy and reported to Scott’s physician that he “certainly appears to meet the criteria for PTSD,” the complaint states.
According to the medical records, in May 2006, Scott’s counselor wrote a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs, stating: “After meeting with Mr. Eiswert for several appointments, we have established a diagnosis of PTSD, per the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual Criteria.”
The widow says her husband applied to the VA for service-connected PTSD benefits based on the counselor’s diagnosis.
The complaint states:
“In the application Scott describes a number of incidents in Iraq as follows:
“Various Route Clearances – Roadside Bombs, Raids
“Convoy Escorts, all the Outside Wire Dangers and Stresses.
“Close Calls on Roadside Bombs
“Car Bombs and the Destruction they Cause, Including Civilian Fatalities (Body Parts)
“‘I was on a Raid with Fellow Soldiers when they got Blown-Up by a Massive Roadside Bomb. (93 Dead, 1 Crippled)” [Punctuation as in complaint.]
But the VA denied his claims three times before he killed himself, his widow says.
In its September 2006 denial, the VA stated that Scott’s counselor “does not specify which Diagnostic and Statistical Manual was used.’ The denial analysis also states that even though Scott provided ‘sufficient details concerning a stressor …’ it ‘failed to provide dates of the incidents or names of any casualties.'” (Ellipsis in complaint).
Tracy Eiswert says the VA doctor who assessed Scott did not have access to the records of Scott’s private counselor and “relied entirely on Scott’s narrative to make his assessment.” She says the VA doctor “concluded that ‘veteran has current diagnosis of depression, NOS. He does describe symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, however not enough to meet criteria.'”
(NOS apparently indicates “not otherwise specified.”)
The VA denied Scott’s claim a second time in November 2006, after receiving additional medical records from the Tennessee National Guard.
Tracy Eiswert says VA doctors gave Scott medications for depression and insomnia, but he did not tolerate them well.
By early 2007, Scott reported increased marital and family problems, increased irritability, nightmares, night sweats and difficulty sleeping, according to medical records in the complaint

Please read the entire story at Courthouse News

Posted in AIG and CNA, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Medical Examinations, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Hope that I die, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, PTSD and TBI, Suicide, Veterans, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Nearly a year after her husband committed suicide, Air Force widow still wonders why

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 25, 2011

Melissa hates that a man that heroic is judged by friends, family and strangers. She braces herself for judgment every time she has to tell someone how Jeremy died.

NWF Daily News    September 17, 2011

MARY ESTHER —Jeremy Gibson is a casualty of war, but you won’t find his name on any memorial wall.

On a balmy Monday afternoon last Oct. 11, the Hurlburt Field Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician dialed 911, walked into his backyard and took his life.

“He shot himself in the heart,” said his wife, Melissa.

Jeremy was 31.

In the 11 months since then, Melissa has been forced to cope with blame from others and the guilt she harbors. There were no signs that Jeremy was contemplating suicide, but Melissa says she will play the “what if” game until the day she dies.

Jeremy wasn’t a complicated guy. The native of Chattanooga, Tenn., was incredibly smart, good at math and chemistry and often was misjudged as a “know-it-all.”

He knew a lot about cars and loved racing at amateur tracks. He and Melissa would go on drives in his blue Mini Cooper with no destination in mind. Jeremy always picked the winding roads for “precision driving” (aka speeding).

Melissa said he ate French fries only for the texture in his massive consumption of ketchup.

He was like a kid on Christmas when Melissa returned from the store with Blue Monster energy drinks and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

He taped and edited videos for fun and brought his wife a snow globe from every TDY.

Melissa called Jeremy her little James Bond.

His work took him to Peru with President George W. Bush and to Paris with Colin Powell. He covered the Republican National Convention and guarded the Bush family on Thanksgiving Day.

There were missions with explosives so massive that Jeremy did not bother with a bomb suit; it wouldn’t have helped.

Melissa hates that a man that heroic is judged by friends, family and strangers. She braces herself for judgment every time she has to tell someone how Jeremy died

Please read the entire story here

Posted in Department of Defense, Melt Down, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Suicide | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

PTSD, Ethics and Honor in the Warzone

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 27, 2011

General Petraeus’ Link to Troubling Suicide in Iraq: The Ted Westhusing Story

Before putting a bullet through his head, Westhusing had been deeply disturbed by abuses carried out by American contractors in Iraq, including allegations that they had witnessed or even participated in the murder of Iraqis.

See Also  Journey That Ended in Anguish by T Christian Miller

The scourge of suicides among American troops and reservists in Iraq and Afghanistan remains a serious and seriously underreported problem.

Last month they hit a new high in the US Army, despite intensive new efforts to prevent them. One of the few high-profile cases emerged six years ago this month, and it involves a much-admired Army colonel and ethicist named Ted Westhusing — who, in his suicide note, pointed a finger at a then little-known U.S. general named David Petraeus.

Westhusing’s widow, asked by a friend what killed this West Point scholar, replied simply: “Iraq.”

‘Something he saw [in Iraq] drove him to this,’ one Army officer who was close to Westhusing said in an interview. ‘The sum of what he saw going on drove him’ to take his own life.

‘It’s because he believed in duty, honor, country that he’s dead.'”

Please read the entire story at The Nation

Posted in AIG and CNA, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Insurance, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Melt Down, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, T Christian Miller | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Crisis Hotline takes record number of calls

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 27, 2011

Army Times   May 25, 2011

The Veterans Affairs Department’s Veterans Crisis Line received 14,000 calls in April, the highest monthly volume ever recorded for the four-year-old suicide prevention program.

“Every day last month, more than 400 calls were received,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee chairwoman who disclosed the call volume during a Wednesday hearing. “While it is heartening to know that these calls for help are being answered, it is a sad sign of desperation and difficulties our veterans face that there are so many in need of a lifeline.”

The hotline, established in 2007, is a suicide prevention and crisis counseling program available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The number is 800-273-8255.

Antonette Zeiss, VA’s chief mental health officer, said that since the 2007 launch, the call center has received more than 400,000 calls, referred 55,000 veterans to local suicide prevention coordinators for same-day or next-day help and initiated 15,000 “rescues” of callers near suicide.

Please see the original here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, PTSD and TBI, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

The Cost of Combat Stress: a Billion Dollars a Year

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 18, 2011

A billion for US Soldiers alone.  How much would it be if the Defense Base Act Insurance Carriers were providing the psychological and medical care for Injured War Zone Contractors that they are under contract, and often “Orders” to provide?

We have no way of counting contractor casualties much less contractor suicides.   Currently  there are more contractors on the ground in the war zones than soldiers and many of them exposed to the same dangers and atrocities.

Psychological support for War  Zone Contractors is nearly non extistent.  Some are able to utilize the severely overburdened VA system.  Thousands of foreign contractors are shipped back to their home countries without even the knowledge that they are covered under the Defense Base Act.

Psychological Support and treatment  for War Zone Contractors is the responsibility of  Employer and the Defense Base Act Insurance Carrier who are paid well for this.

Apparently the insurance premiums are assumed to be for profit because they are not being used to provide psychological and medical benefits to War Zone Contractors.

Madhumita Venkataramanan at Wired’s Danger Room

In a war, death comes in many forms: jury-rigged bombs, sleek fighter jets, assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades. But a stealthier killer lingers long after the fighting is done, in the psychological toll that combat exacts. More than 6,000 veterans take their own lives every year — about 20 percent of the 30,000 American suicides annually.

In an effort to quantify the psychological cost of war, a recent report from the National Bureau of Economic Research has come up with the magic numbers. They estimate that lower-bound costs of mental health problems from the global war on terror are between $750 million and $1.35 billion annually.

Despite trying everything from portable weatherproof brain scanners to drug treatments with ecstasy and MDMA, service members are still suffering with post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues.

In fact, 26 percent of returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are depressed, drug and alcohol-dependent, homeless or suicidal, says the NBER report. This quoted number was independently calculated in a study done by the Rand Corporation, a non-profit policy and research think tank.

The NBER report brings some fresh insights to the table. Rather than assessing the mental impact of war through a measure of soldiers’ deployment length as other studies have done, this report assesses trauma through the type of combat soldiers have been involved in.

Although the results are pretty intuitive, the report establishes that those soldiers who “engage in frequent enemy firefight or witness allied or civilian deaths are at substantially increased risk for suicidal ideation, psychological counseling, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

So, when the military decides which soldiers to deploy for active combat, they should be cognizant of where and not necessarily for how long, the soldier has been deployed before.

Also interesting: This report is the first military mental health study to use longitudinal data, from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, conducted by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The dataset is a collection of health information from high school kids in 1994. The study did its most recent follow-up in 2008. It’s useful for diagnostic PTSD research because it includes and reflects childhood mental health of many current troops from their pre-service days, allowing scientists to look for early portents of PTSD development.

The signs of mental health deterioration have been red flag for a few years now.

The number of soldier suicides (129) reported in the first seven months of 2009 by The New York Times was higher than the number of active troops killed during combat in that time.

Please read the entire article here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Department of Labor, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Barbara Dill, Wade Dill vs AIG/KBR SEII

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 7, 2011

Dill vs. SEII and AIG

The Department of Labor Office of Administrative Judges  has issued a 44 page

Decision and Order

declaring that an injured contractor suffered a psychological injury

as a result of his employment and that the injury led to suicide.

Survivor benefits were awarded to Dill’s widow and daughter.

Dill was hired by SEII, a defense contractor insured by AIG,

as a pest control specialist.

His job was to kill insects and trap rodents and certain feral animals.

He took the job to improve the family finances, pay down debt and

provide for his daughter’s education.

Dill was given psychological testing before being assigned to Iraq.

He was declared fit for service.

The ALJ determined that Dill’s work required his long term

physical separation from his family and exposure to a war zone environment,

“replete with both generally stressful conditions and specifically stressful incidents.

In the Judge’s opinion the changes in Dill’s behavior,

circumstances at home and the taking of his own life

were enough to connect his work to his death.

The employer was unable to overcome

the requisite legal burden to defeat the claim.

The Judge also declared that the suicide was the result

of an irresistible impulse that followed

a series of powerful countervailing impulses experienced

over a period of time.

Attorney Bruce Nicholson commented on the decision:

“The decision represents a sound road map for work related contractor suicide claims and is unlikely to be overturned when followed.”

Posted in AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, Iraq, KBR, OALJ, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

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