From AP:

A recently completed survey showed 18.5% — or 300,000 people — said they have symptoms of depression or PTSD, the researchers said. Nineteen% — or 320,000 — suffered head injuries ranging from mild concussions to penetrating head wounds. […]

The 500-page study is the first large-scale, private assessment of its kind — including a survey of 1,965 service members across the country, from all branches of the armed forces and including those still in the military as well veterans who have left the services.

Here’s one story of the pain PTSD causes, and the ignorance that can sometimes be the response to it…

(CBS) Twenty-two year old combat medic Jonathan Norrell volunteered for every mission during his year in Iraq.

He was bombed, ambushed, treating wounded under fire – and the memories still haunt him, CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier reports.

“The things that affected me the most weren’t the IEDs, which I went through six or seven of, and all the firefights, and all the combat,” Norrell said. “It was the psychological stuff, the people I failed to help.”

By the time he came off his tour of duty he was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: anxiety, sleeplessness, flashbacks. Military doctors recommended immediate discharge and treatment but the command refused.

Instead they forced him into combat training exercises. He turned to drugs and alcohol.

“I just lost it,” Norrell said. “I didn’t wanna do it anymore.”

So the Army he served so well in Iraq threatened to expel him without medical benefits.

Folks, we’re not fighting a war in Iraq anymore…we’re being their police. Meanwhile, people like Norrell are coming home with invisible wounds that are easily dismissed by those who don’t understand his condition and think he should just “suck it up.”

Well, PTSD is obviously real and we can’t keep this up with an all volunteer force and expect the best from our brave men and women. That’s just the reality, and I’d suggest that anybody who tells you different is more in love with the idea of spreading freedom than the practical application.

Politics Nearly 1 In 5 Soldiers Have PTSD