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A thousand to one: Mental health care in the Army

Well, it's really closer to 1300 to one -- the ratio of Army personnel to psychiatrists. This statistic is becoming more important to us because of the terrible events at Ft. Hood this week.

As the New York Times reports, the Army has 400 pyschiatrists for more than 500,000 active duty troops. (See 'Painful Stories Take a Toll on Military Therapists') And "the number of soldiers with the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder has climbed to 34,000."

That's the reason we need legislation like last year's Ohio House Bill 294, sponsored by Ted Celeste (D-Granview Heights), which called for more mental health coverage for patients with PTSD.

In particular, the bipartisan legislation would guarantee that soldiers returning to Ohio from active duty would be covered for the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD.

That kind of law would certainly help those who are back home. But it is equally distressing to read what the NYT article noted: "Since 2001, the military has deployed many soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder or other ailments."

This situation is another example of the mess we are in, thanks to the Bush Administration's shameful decision to use the 9-11 attack as an excuse to invade Iraq.

Let's pray that President Obama will find help for all the military men and women who need mental health care. And that he quickly gets the U.S. out of quagmire that is the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict


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