Sgt. Todd Bowers, head of the 80,000 member Afghanistan Veterans of America, told Congress there is need for mandatory, confidential, mental health screening before and after deployment of troops. He complained the present system of screening just is not working. “Troops may not be filling out their forms accurately, troops needing counseling are not consistently getting referrals and those with referrals do not always get treatment. He believes at least half of the soldiers and Marines who test positive for needed counseling believe they will be judged weak by their comrades-in-arms for seeking such assistance. Bowers also noted seeking counseling is not an attractive notation to have in one’s file. He called for: a moratorium on discharge of personnel for personality disorders until there has been a complete overhaul of procedures, and making certain in cases of suicide attempts, counseling rather than prosecution is available.
These are sensible recommendations that should be accepted.