Senators Ask For Ft. Carson Probe

Three U.S. senators have asked for a Pentagon probe into the treatment of soldiers at Ft. Carson who experience mental-health problems. Barbara Boxer, Kit Bond and Barack Obama are calling for the investigation after National Public Radio reported earlier this week that soldiers suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are often ridiculed, punished and sometimes kicked out of the Army.

From the Associated Press story:

In the National Public Radio report, two sergeants said they often refused to allow soldiers under their command to attend mental health treatment sessions.

“It is tremendously problematic that Fort Carson officials take it upon themselves to make medical determinations without input from mental health professionals,” the senators said in the letter to Dr. William Winkenwerder, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

In the story, Winkenwerder said he would look into the soldiers’ allegations.

He said the Pentagon is trying to ensure that all soldiers who need mental health care can receive it without fear of retaliation.

He also said he makes “no distinction between mental and physical health.”

Besides asking for an investigation, the senators asked Winkenwerder to tell them whether commanders at Fort Carson have given a low priority to mental health treatment for soldiers suffering from service- connected mental health problems, and what plans there are to correct any such problem.

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