This week, we commemorated the 12th year of 9-11. For many of us in the crossfit community, we did a workout in honor of the fallen. Last year, I discussed the residual consequences of 9-11 on the mental health of surviving families and nearby communities. This year, I find it fitting that the New Yorker published a report on the current treatment strategies for returning soldiers of the Iraqi and Afghani wars. The bottom line is that it is a travesty. Many soldiers are thrown into combat soon after boot camp with no awareness of how brutal the sights, smells, and psychology of war can be. You don’t gain a perspective on this in boot camp, trust me. Because of this lack of knowledge and support while serving, these soldiers have nothing better than to repress what they witness, reserving reflection for their return to the states. Once returning to the states, many of these soldiers enroll in “supportive” and “like-minded” mental health clinics and institutions that do not distinguish these soldiers from the criminally and severely mentally ill–sociopaths, schizophrenics, and other extreme types of personality disorders. And so they are left to cope with meds–the hero of the New Yorker story was given over 40 some different prescriptions for his various symptoms on a daily basis–and are shielded from their families. As one person put it, “it’s better to come out of war with a physical disability than some mental illness because at least the physically disabled can see what is wrong with them.”

The moral of the story is that we need to focus and invest as much on the return of our American heroes as we do in our war engines. Sadly, I don’t think that this will ever be a priority, but hopefully the country’s best mental health professionals are advocating for such an effort.

Always remember