Poll: Many in college stressed by knowing soldiers in war zones

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by bruno, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    The story below is really pathetic. Read the posting from the other day about the SEAL who is going to get the CMH and then compare him to these lame kids- nominally his peers! Imagine what these kids stress levels would be if they actually had to go themselves?! What is the country coming to when kids need counselling just because they know somebody deploying to a War zone.

    Poll: Many in college stressed by knowing soldiers in war zones

    The Associated Press
    Published: March 19, 2008


    WASHINGTON: When his kid brother went off to war, a depressed Christian Dingethal went to bed.
    The junior at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., says he also for weeks stopped going to classes, doing laundry and contacting his parents.
    "I didn't know if I was saying goodbye to him for the rest of my life," said Dingethal, 21. "I didn't know how to deal with that. I turned cold."
    Soon after Dingethal's brother, Joseph, arrived in Afghanistan early this year, the Army shipped him home after he hurt his eye in an accident. Christian Dingethal has gotten counseling and is returning to classes.
    However, a national poll of college students conducted for The Associated Press and mtvU shows the stress he suffered — while extreme — is hardly unusual.
    Half of the students surveyed said they personally know someone serving in Iraq or Afghanistan or who had been deployed there. Of that group, just over half said they had experienced stress because of the person's service, including nearly one in six who said it had caused them a lot of anxiety.
    Women are more likely than men to say the problem has been intense.
    The Pentagon says nearly 1.7 million U.S. troops have served in Iraq and Afghanistan over the years, some putting in more than one tour.
    The poll underscores that even though the economy has surpassed Iraq in many polls as the country's top problem, war continues to have a big personal impact on students — many of whom are stressed out for other reasons as well.
    The AP-mtvU survey found that overall, eight in 10 college students say they feel stress, including four in 10 who say it affects them often. The most often mentioned causes include school, money and relationships. MtvU is a television channel broadcast at many college campuses.
    Among students hit hard because they know people overseas is Lindsey Odom, an education major at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. She said boyfriend Jimmy Lemoncelli, who is in the Air Force, left home in late December and is scheduled to be in Iraq through July.
    "I came home the first two weeks of student teaching after school and I just cried," said Odom, 22. "It takes a strong woman."
    Of those who said they know someone serving, half said it was a friend and a quarter said it was a relative. It was a classmate for more than one in 10.
    A tiny number of students — 2 percent — said they had served in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
    Wendy Barranco, a sophomore at Pasadena City College in California, was a medical technician in Iraq. She said she's been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and is studying to become a physician's assistant. Compared to her time in the Army, she finds school too slow.
    "I've already been there and done that," she said of some of her classes. "I'm not living unless I'm busy. Now if I have an afternoon off, it feels weird."
    A 2007 report by a federal Institute of Medicine panel estimated that 13 percent of Iraq veterans and 6 percent of those returning from Afghanistan suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, the most commonly diagnosed mental difficulty from those wars. Sufferers can have flashbacks and other problems related to their tense times overseas.
    In the new poll, 15 percent said the person they know was wounded and 19 percent said the serviceman or woman suffered psychological harm. An additional 3 percent said the person they knew was killed.
    About 4,400 U.S. service members have died and more than 30,000 have been wounded in the two conflicts, mostly in Iraq, according to Pentagon figures.
    As of last fall, about 120,000 veterans who have left the military have been given a preliminary diagnosis of a mental health problem, said spokesman Phil Budahn of the Veterans Affairs Department.
    The poll found most students saw tough times ahead for those back from the wars. Two-thirds said they think it is hard for those returning to readjust to life at home, and almost as many said they think the government does a poor job of giving those troops needed medical and psychological treatment.
    The survey was taken a year after disclosures of poor treatment of patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.
    Anti-war feelings are slightly higher on campuses than in the rest of the nation. Two-thirds of the students said the U.S. made a mistake invading Iraq five years ago, with women and minorities likeliest to oppose the war.
    The poll was conducted by Edison Media Research from Feb. 28-March 6 by having 2,253 undergraduate students fill out confidential forms. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
    The students, age 18-24, were given the questionnaires at 40 randomly chosen four-year schools around the country.
    To protect privacy, the schools where the poll was conducted are not being identified and the students who responded were not asked for their names. Those mentioned in this story were not among those polled and did not necessarily attend schools involved in the survey.
    MtvU's sponsorship of the poll is related to its work on Half of Us, which it runs with the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit group that works to reduce suicide among young people. Half of Us is a program designed to raise awareness about emotional problems faced by college students.
     
  2. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    I find it more pathetic that we have people in this country don't have empathy or are beyond understanding these big brothers, little brothers, girlfriends, boyfriends, or just friends. Lighten up.
     
  3. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Oh gosh- am I too hard on college kids? Well-I had a lot of sympathy for my 4 year old and 12 year when they experienced this. When you get to be >18 years old and you can only deal with this kind of stuff by going to counseling-sorry. Their peers are actually living with the real threat- so for a bunch of college kids to be so distressed that they need help because they know someone deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan- Sad commentary. Should they miss their family member or friend? Sure. Should they be worried about them? Sure. Should they be going to counselling? Please.
     
  4. Soylent

    Soylent Candidate

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    Counselling is a medical treatment and shouldn't be looked down on as a lack of mental toughness. People deal with things differently and we shouldn't just categorize everyone who answered this poll as whining college kids.
     
  5. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    bruno - this is an interesting article and you bring wisdom and insight to this forum but I am gonna have to disagree with you here.

    Forget about being "for" or "against" this war - the fact is many Americans are affected stressfully when their husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and best friends are sent or volunteer to serve in harm's way.

    I empathize with a 22 year old young woman who is in love with a man who is deployed. She is of the age where she is wanting to soon think about a life partner and perhaps starting a family. Does she wait for him? How long? Will he come home just to leave again? Should a 22 year old be subjected to a life of longing? For how many years? Will she be able to start a family when she is ready? Go back and read the Washington Post editorial I posted written by the Army Captain who is getting out after 4 years. This is largely due to family stress.
    This war has gone on for 5 years now with no end in sight. Army soldiers have given so much and are expected to keep giving. You certainly know soldiers who have been repeatedly deployed. Those in their 20's are giving some of the best years of their lives - those that love them suffer as well.

    This war is being fought largely by soldiers from our Reserve and National Guard forces. This folks have left their "day" jobs - sometimes taken a pay cut, sometimes left more than once, sometimes have lost their jobs while deployed and their dependents more often than not live in a civilian community with little or no military support.

    If any of those so affected need counseling - I am all for it.
     
  6. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Bruno, frankly I would have expected a lot more from a career Army officer. Surely, I would have thought you would have wanted what was best for your troops. One of the first things we learned in the Navy was that if the family at home was happy, the sailor was happy.

    In Vietnam, we saw a few news reels and boxes. In 1991, it was over so fast we didn’t see anything. During Kosovo, we were mesmerized by the ‘smart’ bombs. Almost five years ago today, the administration decided to conduct the PR campaign to end all campaigns. The internet was not shut down. The satellite phones remained operative. Everyone had ‘embedded’ reporters. We saw it all. Heck, we practically lived it. We knew to the minute when our husbands, wives, sons, daughters, parents, friends, or lovers were going on patrol and when they were returning. The only thing we haven’t seen has been the boxes. Instead, we have seen the wonders of modern medicine, the results of modern technology. Instead of boxes, we are seeing artificial limbs, soldiers who are facing major readaption in order to survive in the world to which they return.

    To think that this is not stressful to family is simply ignoring things. To compare it to a 12 and a 4 year old living with military parents in a military environment is entirely naïve. Wait about six years when your plebe-to-be is some shave tail deployed in whatever the war of the day happens to be. You wake up Sunday morning to a CNN live feed of his unit pinned down, a non-military embedded reporter totally butchering whatever news he is relating, medivac choppers in the background. Come back here and tell us what it is like not knowing if your own flesh and blood is alive, dead, or ‘only’ permanently disfigured, and tell us what it was like until you got that “I’m okay, dad” phone call. Heck, the calloused, insensitive veteran that you are, might even need counseling. Until then, think a little bit more about what you post.

    Why is it that the Village People keep resounding in the back of my head; “Macho, macho man, I've got to be, a macho man.”
     
  7. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    If the village people keep on ringing in your ears- you got lots of problems not evident from your postings.
    Sorry - this isn't a macho thing. We're not talking about people being worried about their family- every body is worried about their family. But this is young adults who can't deal with stress without going to a doctor. Should everything be a medical issue that needs resolution by the MD or PhD? Ever think about the controvery with kids and Ritalin? Some remarkably high percentage of kids are prescribed a drug for activity that used to be considered part of growing up in many cases? Is it sometimes legitimate- yup. Is it way overprescribed? yup. Does it reveal something about the way we are raising our kids and society when every problem needs to be solved by someone else instead deeling with it yourself?
    How about the stress of 9/11? It's one thing for the people directly involved to get help- but how many more people were seeking treatment who had no more attachement than the TV screen? The numbers say there were certainly a lot of them. Drill Sergeants will tell you that kids are much more fragile these days- and that's what this poll confirms. People can't deal with stress on their own because they are not expected to do so. If you don't find that a worrisome trend in society- surprising. This is the pool of kids that the Army is trying to fish in- and if they break under this kind of stress- makes you very concerned about who will handle the truly stressful life and death situations they would find themselves in, not to mention that if a decision send significant numbers of its citizens into therapy- you can guarantee that the society will shortly not be able to make those decisions on a rational basis.
    So- while I may occasionally come across as a moderately "macho guy" to use your bs comment- but I believe I'm a fairly thoughtful one as well and my comments stem from observation. I think that we have as a society shielded our kids from a life of hard realities with the result being that in a lot of cases they are not prepared on their own to deal with what earlier generations dealt with- or other societies deal with. Is that true all the time? Nope-but there is a professionally "sensitive" class of our society out there which happens to be especially prevalent on college campuses. And- on top of all that - polls tell you exactly what the poll designer set it up to "reveal" - and newspaper stories are always written with a slant in mind. So- what slant do you think this poll is on?
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree, but, as a spouse of a career officer who has gone to the badlands more than I can count on one hand. If she is going to spend her time worrying, run, don't stay. If I worried everytime Bullet took off (statistically, more crashes happen during non-combat flights than combat) I would be on heavy meds. He flies 2-3 times a week in a fighter. The 15 communtiy was shut down a month ago because of crashes. She either can come to an understanding of what the military life is like, or she can't end of subject. If she cannot envision raising children without her spouse, than this is not the life for her. She is 22, and at the age with the hope that they remain married until he retires she has 20+ years to live through. This means being 9 mos. pregnant and giving birth in a foreign country while he is deployed. It takes a strong mate to stand by the AD person. Many of them are also husbands. It is something every spouse should walk into with their eyes wide open. I have had to deal with multiple deployments in the day that email did not exist and we got a weekly 10 min. phone call. Today with cell phones and email it is much easier. I have the mother in law who needed me to hold her hand and say it was okay, while shielding my children from where their father was (yes, I lied, "Daddy is on TDY", felt no need to tell them where). I was the one who walked into our closet and saw every piece of clothing gone, and his wedding ring in the firesafe lockbox. Yet, I had to put on the brave face that it was okay and he would be home...only my faith brought me through that, but believe me knowing he was in the green zone frightened the sh*t out of me. In the end, she needs to determine whether or not she can handle being 100s of miles away from her family.

    With that said...

    I can easily answer that... our DS made his decision, he is educated and has lived this life as a dependent. Knowing that I will hug him and kiss him goodbye, wish him luck and tell him we will be here waiting for him to come home The last thing any military member needs going into battle is to worry that those they left behind worry about them. They need to know, we believe in them, and believe they will be home as soon as possible.

    I have been there and lived the feed, several times. First time was with a 6 mos. old. Second time was with a 4 yr old, 2 yr. ol and a 4 mos. old. Third time with a 6, 4, and 2. Fourth time with an 8, 6, and 4. Fifth time with a 13, 11 and 9. It was hard as h*ll, hiding it from them. Living in a sm. town where the parents are deployed, and the news is all over it, including local media, is very difficult to dilute it to a level they can understand.

    We raise our children to be the best they can be. Anyone who lives in fear to the point they need psychiatric help (nothing wrong with that, but honestly the military will stop an AD member from going overseass, b/c many bases do not have the support), needs to re-think this life.

    Bruno was not being macho, he was being honest. Bruno has left his family, his child will be joining the military. I believe he will be a great source of comfort to his child's spouse. He will worry, just like the rest of us, but he has a leg up, than those who have not walked this life. He knows that his child will do everything humanly possible to come home...children don't understand that, girlfriends don't either. Those of us who have walked the life, and unfortunately had to watch the missing man fly-by's get it.

    As far as this poll, I throw it in the circular filing cabinet. I take it with a grain of salt.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2008
  9. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Whoa, hold up. You are jumping some mighty tall buildings here in your leap to conclusions. No one said anything about medications. One of the school counselors is hanging another sign on their door, not opening a branch of Rexall Drugs.

    And no matter how much you want, you are not going to change society to meet the demands of the Army. You had better learn to fit within the demands of society, like it or not, difficult as it may be.


    This isn’t about spouses. You are correct. They had better go into a relationship with their eyes wide open. What we are talking here are siblings and friends over which they have no control. And yes, colleges are a little more liberal and these siblings and friends are probably conflicted. Even thought their parents are probably two generations removed from the military, they would be of no help, even if the kids were at home instead of away at school. They just need someone nonjudgmental with which to talk.

    I think I hear the VP again, “In the Navy, in the Navy.” Glad that I was a part of an organization where I am sure no one would begrudge college kids having someone to talk to. Secure enough in our beliefs that we don’t have to worry about the college liberals ‘brainwashing’ our kids.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2008
  10. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I think this string's about run its course- at least for me. On to other worlds
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Truer words have never been said:thumb:
     
  12. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    At the suggestion of the OP, I am closing down this thread.
     
  13. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    At the request of the OP, this thread has now been re-opened.

    My head hurts. :bleh2:
     

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