Repeat deployments put strain on troops, veteran says

updated 7:42 a.m. EDT, Tue May 12, 2009
CNN) — The killing of five comrades by a U.S. soldier on Monday in Iraq is no surprise and illustrates the mental toll that the current wars take on troops, the leader of a veterans group said.    “It’s tragic. I mean, It’s deeply disturbing, but I don’t think folks who have been in the [war] theater are surprised,” said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.Rieckhoff talked with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday night about the killings.  The “unprecedented” number of times that soldiers are redeployed to Iraq and Afghanistan adds to the stress soldiers are feeling, Rieckhoff said.

“There’s a study of one in four folks coming back [from war] with some kind of stress-related mental health injury. But these folks are going back over and over again,” he said. “Each time you’re deployed, you’re more likely to have a mental health disability. There’s not enough psychologists, psychiatrists in theater.”


2 Responses to “Repeat deployments put strain on troops, veteran says”

  1. Vic Moberg Says:

    “There’s not enough psychologists, psychiatrists in theater.” Telepsychiatry is one possible option, but neither VTC nor Second Life can provide counseling to forward deployed troops over low bandwidth tactical networks. Most other communications means don’t support the interpersonal working alliance between BH care provider and service member that enables effective counseling. In researching the problem a couple years ago for proposal development, I found one means that could – a speech enabled 3D graphical VR with lip-synched expressive avatars (up to ~15 in a space) from the days of 19.2 kbps modems. It had even already been successfully used therapeutically for counseling during anxiety exposure therapy. Check out DigitalSpace Traveler at “Avatara”, a documentary video of the technology in social use is at
    Vic Moberg, Accenture Defense Industry Group

  2. Asdzaa Oh Says:

    “…neither VTC nor Second Life can provide counseling…” We agree. We do not at this time recommend using Second Life to provide counseling or any other kind of diagnosis or treatment due to patient confidentiality, among other things. We have not yet found a secure way to authenticate provider licenses and insurance. The licensed health care providers in our group do not at this time engage in diagnosis or treatment, although they are happy to refer SL friends to general health care information such as Web MD etc.

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