PTSD Overload

Too much unhelpful help?

Pity the poor grunt who comes back from war with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He goes online to learn how to cope and is overwhelmed. There's the Real Warriors website, the My Army OneSource, and the Defense Centers of Excellence (as opposed to the military's other centers of mediocrity) for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury. And that's just the beginning of the tidal wave of information enveloping him and his family. That's why a Senate panel has ordered the Pentagon (see page 226) to stop creating such websites:

…The Navy published one pamphlet explaining how to combat operational stress, and there were 16 different Web sites and phone numbers listed as viable sources for outreach. A second Navy pamphlet listed eight other Web sites. An Air Force pamphlet has 13 listed Web sites and points of contact, and an Army information sheet on addressing combat stress and seeking mental assistance listed 19 different Web sites. Each Web site description in the respective pamphlet carries very little information as to what services the Web site will provide, thus requiring the servicemember and/or his or her beneficiaries to sit and read through many of the proposed Web sites to find which one will meet his or her needs.

This is so typical of the military.

Earnest to a fault, and more concerned with inputs than results ("We're doing everything we can, sir!"), it has thrown millions of dollars into various therapies for PTSD and other mental-health ills since 9/11. Thousands of military personnel, both civilian and in uniform, are frustrated by their inability to fix broken minds and curb the excesses they cause like depression, domestic violence and suicide.

So they've launched dozens of programs with multiple websites to deal with the vexing challenge. That's led the Senate Appropriations Committee to order a halt to such redundancies with questionable value until the Pentagon comes up with "one Web portal to provide the pertinent information to servicemembers and their beneficiaries."

Imagine if Congress took the same approach to weapons.

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