The suicide rate among Army soldiers hit a record high in 2009 and for the first time ever exceeded the rate in the civilian population. Many blame Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
PTSD is an adverse reaction to traumatic events that can cause irritability, anxiety, sleeplessness and depression. It became a formal diagnosis in 1980 and since then new types of medications and psychotherapy have been developed that are effective in treating the disorder. Getting soldiers to seek treatment is a challenge however. Many soldiers fear that others will see them as weak for having PTSD and many fear it will hurt their military careers.
Focal Point: “The War Within” profiles the case of one of the four men serving in 1451st who committed suicide. It also profiles two other Guard members who served with that soldier and continue to struggle with PTSD. The documentary examines the toll PTSD places on military families and shows the military’s efforts to educate soldiers about PTSD and get help to those who need it.
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