Gaps in Mental Care Persist for Fort Carson Soldiers An NPR investigation last December found that supervisors at Colorado's Fort Carson punished soldiers who suffered mental anguish. Leaders at the base now attend mandatory training on spotting troubled soldiers, but mental health experts say it may be doing as much harm as good.
NPR logo Gaps in Mental Care Persist for Fort Carson Soldiers

Gaps in Mental Care Persist for Fort Carson Soldiers

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IN DEPTH

Corey Davis was a machine gunner in Iraq; he was featured in NPR's December 2006 investigation on mental health care at Fort Carson. He told NPR that he began "freaking out" after he returned to the base; when he sought help at the base hospital one day, he says he was told he'd have to wait more than a month to be seen. Daniel Zwerdling, NPR hide caption

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Daniel Zwerdling, NPR

Mixon: Army Will Take 'Disciplinary Action' Against Leaders Who Show Bias Against Mentally Anguished Soldiers

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Command Sgt. Maj. Terrance McWilliams at Fort Carson says he has verbally reprimanded a few supervisors for their treatment of soldiers with mental health issues. Daniel Zwerdling, NPR hide caption

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Daniel Zwerdling, NPR

Williams: Soldiers' War Experiences Can't Be 'Justification for Breaking Law'

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Knorr's Memo

Dr. Steven Knorr, director of mental health at Evans Army Community Hospital, says he wrote this memo to help commanders deal with soldiers with emotional problems. As a condition of giving us a copy, he asked us not to post the original document on NPR's Web site; we agreed. Here are excerpts:

COMMON MISTAKES MADE WHEN DEALING WITH …TROUBLED/PROBLEM SOLDIERS

1. TRYING TO SAVE EVERY SOLDIER. We can't fix every Soldier, and neither can you. Everyone in life beyond babies, the insane, and the demented/mentally retarded have to be held accountable for what they do in life.

2. PROCRASTINATING ON DISCIPLINE AND SEPARATION: Delaying administrative separation and NJP [Editor's note: Nonjudicial Punishment] is counterproductive. We see Soldiers monthly that had their Chapter evaluation [Editor's note: performance evaluation] six months ago, and now are worse off and more of a management problem than before. Get rid of dead wood ...

3. ASSUMING PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALIZATION WORKS LIKE A REFORM SCHOOL OR MP HOLDING CELL. Psychiatric hospitalization has its limits. We can't put them there just because they break barracks restriction and go get drunk, or get in fights, or engage in similar misconduct …

5. ASSUMING PSYCHIATRIC DIAGNOSIS IS JUST A COMMON SENSE PROCESS: Prematurely concluding a Soldier's complaints and symptoms are invalid or malingered. We're not naïve, and shouldn't automatically believe everything Soldiers tell us. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle.