Fort Hood shooting: Mental illness among soldiers a "silent problem"

Investigators are trying to determine why an army specialist opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas on Wednesday.
April 3, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Investigators are trying to determine why an army specialist opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas on Wednesday. Four people were killed, including the gunman, while 16 others were injured.

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Fort Hood officials said the medical history of army specialist Ivan Lopez showed evidence of an unstable psychiatric or psychological condition.

Tikesha Leslie-Jones is a psychologist at the Fresno Veterans Home. She said people shouldn't jump to conclusions just because Lopez was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Leslie-Jones explained, "Yeah it could have something to do with it but more likely there were a whole bunch on other things going on and most people with PTSD are peaceable people."

ABC News crime and terrorism analyst Brad Garrett said the military has found it difficult finding enough trained people to deal with service members struggling with PTSD.

Garrett said, "They don't have enough adequate personnel to deal with the sheer volume and you always have sort of the built-in bias in the military not to address military health issues."

Leslie-Jones agreed more mental health professionals are needed with so many veterans coming home and finding it difficult to adjust to civilian life.

Garrett added, "We have to do a better job at assessing people which is not an easy thing to do."

Especially with many service members unwilling to talk about their problems. Leslie-Jones said mental illness can be a silent problem.

"Once again there is a stigma attached to mental illness and so even that person with mental illness might be a little reticent about revealing that things are going on with him," said Leslie-Jones.

As we move forward, Leslie-Jones was hopeful the tragedy can help open up dialogue to get more people to help veterans deal with mental illness.


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