An Illinois State University scholar says the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have fallen especially hard on the National Guard. All soldiers coming back from deployment are at higher risk than the rest of the population for divorce, drug and alcohol problems, and mental health issues. But, Psychology Professor Mark Swerdlik said in a recent campus speech that guard members have it tougher than regular soldiers:
"They are not stationed on military bases, and have fewer built in social support. Such as easy access to peers who have similar experiences that they do. The national guard soldiers and thier families don't have easy acces to chaplins, family support programs and military health services."
Swerdlik says last year the U.S. military had more suicides than combat deaths. And when all veterans are factored in, not just those from America's two most recent wars, the rate of suicides was 22 per day. Swerdlik says more needs to be done to address post traumatic stress disorder and the challenges of reintegration of soldiers into civilian society after deployment.
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