Jonathan Wheeler, a former Marine who lives in Chaska, Minn., suffered combat-related mental health problems. He says he couldn't quiet the demons that haunted him for years after his deployment to Iraq.
The Pentagon estimates that as many as 1 in 5 of the more than 1.6 million veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan will suffer from mental health problems. As some of these vets get in trouble with the law and become entwined in the criminal justice system, states are looking for new ways to help.
In Minnesota, a special court aimed at helping vets avoid jail time will launch this summer, and police officers are being trained to identify veterans with combat-related issues before they end up in court.
'Stuff Was Broken Everywhere'
Former Marine Jonathan Wheeler lives in Chaska, Minn., about a half-hour southwest of Minneapolis. With his two young children napping in an upstairs bedroom, the house is quiet. But Wheeler says the house is full of painful reminders of a more turbulent time.
Standing 6-foot-6, he opens a sliding closet door that he ripped out of the frame recently in a violent rage. He's not proud of it.
"Stuff was broken everywhere," he says. "Pictures that used to be hanging here are gone because I broke them. This one here — I shattered it, broke it in front of my wife and my kids."
Wheeler says he wasn't able to quiet the demons that haunted him after his deployment to Iraq six years ago.
When police pulled him over one night, they found drugs in his car, and Wheeler was thrown in jail. After a string of angry, drunken incidents, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and a possible traumatic brain injury.
But it took five years for him to get help.
15 de mayo de 2010
Posted by Madres contra la Guerra @ 11:54 a.m.