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26 May 2009

DFW businesses' altruism is good PR, experts say | Business |

If a company CAN do good, then a company SHOULD do good.

DFW businesses' altruism is good PR, experts say Business

Memorialize Your Day

(Encore Article From 2008)

Happy Memorial Day Folks.

3 day weekend, right? Kind of like MLK Day perhaps? Here's wishing for a little more Memorial in your Memorial Day...

Since 1868 Americans have - or should - honor the memory of U.S. armed Forces killed in action, as a result of their combat wounds or that died while a prisoner of war. Traditionally, we are supposed to fly our flags at half staff until noon, then full staff after that. Then at 3pm, wherever we are, we are supposed to offer remembrance to those volunteer soldiers that have died while protecting our country. Whatever we do, it is surely not enough.

"It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle."
- General Norman Schwarzkopf

In our country's most recent war in Iraq, a Rand Corporation study found about 20 percent U.S. soldiers returning (nearly 300,000 soldiers) have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. PTSD is a brain injury causing the failure to cope after a major system shock, such as a significant accident, a sexual assault or combat. Symptoms include persistent, frightening memories, emotional numbness, a feeling of detachment, headaches and insomnia. Some symptoms may remain dormant for years before they surface and many people never recover even when treated. PTSD is serious, serious business.

While researching breastfeeding in 'the ocean' I was horrified and perturbed to hear of a growing collection of mothers that label children as having PTSD if they don't breastfeed until they start high school, or something like that. To them, giving a sandwich instead of a boob to a developing child was comparable to giving them combat stress. Grrrr.

For actual PTSD diagnosis, we are just starting to see the costs associated. Dollar costs.... and lost lives. According to the National Institute of Mental Health: "it's quite possible that the suicides and psychiatric mortality of this war could trump the combat deaths.''

Wow. Think about that. More self inflicted deaths than combat deaths because of brain injuries.

"A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic."
- Joseph Stalin

We have over 1 million servicemen and women deployed in the theatre of war currently. Since 9/11, it is estimated that a quarter of them have exhibited PTSD. Out of every 100,000 Army personnel deployed in Iraq, 19 of them commit suicide (the highest rate in over 25 years).

As of January 2006, over 3200 Iraq vets have suffered head or brain injuries, which will cost up to $35 Billion to treat for the remainder of their lives. At a time when our country needs to cowboy up and help these soldiers, we learn that just the opposite is happening.

In an email dated March 20th 2008, a VA Psychologist in charge of PTSD services in Temple Texas advised her staff to stop diagnosing veterans with PTSD to save money. She also announced she would disband a dozen or so PTSD therapy groups. They are opting to use a more convenient (read: less expensive), albeit wildly ambiguous diagnosis of: Adjustment Disorder.

This is not a referendum on war and certainly not on the role of our all volunteer soldiers in supporting the war. Our society is full of people that claim to be patriots. Today, Memorial Day, is another golden - and simple - opportunity to prove just that.

Let's encourage each other to observe a moment of silence at 3pm for those that have been lost...and then follow it up with a chorus of loud voices demanding better care for our returning servicemen and women so we don't lose anymore.