Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Eric Newhouse issues a call to help America’s returning warriors in his latest book, Faces of Combat, PTSD and TBI: One Journalist’s Crusade to Improve Treatment for Our Veterans. His concern is that one-third to one-half of the 1.6 million men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan can be expected to return home with one or all three disorders – post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), or major depression. But the Veterans Administration is already overloaded in treating soldiers from previous conflicts, primarily Vietnam vets who never received the help they needed and deserved.
Faces of Combat shows how the suicide of a previously deployed National Guardsman galvanized Montana officials to become a model state in assessing the mental health of its soldiers, taking additional steps that should become the norm nationwide.
Soldiers tell their heartbreaking stories, what happened to them in battle and what happened when they came home. They explain their uncontrollable rage, alcoholism, nightmares, flashbacks, divorce, joblessness, and homelessness. They talk about the battlefield reactions to civilian provocations that are landing too many of them in jail.
A female combat photographer, Jamie Bender, talks about the damage that resulted from taking pictures in a field littered with body parts and of being ordered not to cry at the memorial services for four of her dead friends. Her photographs illustrate this book. Other female soldiers discuss the trauma of being raped by fellow soldiers.
Finally, Faces of Combat evaluates the VA’s conventional treatment, which is generally inadequate even if available, and suggests some alternative treatments that appear to be working in private practice. It also provides lists of resources for vets across the country.
About the Author
Eric Newhouse has been a journalist for four decades. The first half of his career was as a reporter, correspondent and bureau chief for The Associated Press, working in Baltimore; new Orleans; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Pierre, S.D.; St. Louis; and Charleston, W. Va.
As AP correspondent in St. Louis from 1980 to 1984, Newhouse was active in the local chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists. During his term as president, he secured a grant from the Seven-Up Co. to bring some of America’s leading journalists to St. Louis to discuss the political, moral and ethical issues facing their profession. That six-part series of programs, “The Media and You,” was aired live by the local PBS station, KETC.
The second half of his career has been with the Great Falls MT Tribune, where he is currently the projects editor. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for a 12-part series of stories on alcoholism.
For more information about the ongoing crusade to get appropriate treatment for combat veterans see the website FacesOfCombat.US
More information about Eric Newhouse is available on EricNewhouse.com.
Eric also blogs on the Psychology Today website.