Dateline: Apr 24

By David Knox on April 23, 2012 / Filed Under Programming 0

This week Dateline gets timely as video journalist Nick Lazaredes looks at US soldiers who have endured Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after serving time in Afghanistan.

It is estimated one US war veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes as the number of veteran suicides each year in America now exceeds the total number of US deaths in combat in the entire wars of Afghanistan and Iraq combined. As America and Australia prepare to withdraw from a decade of war in Afghanistan, there is growing concern about the mental health of returned soldiers and the need to have better systems in place to help them adjust to life away from the battlefield.

On Dateline on Tuesday, video journalist Nick Lazaredes travels to communities across the US to report on the legacy of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) amongst troops who’ve served multiple tours of duty in America’s recent wars.

Visiting the homes of people who have lost loved ones to suicide and murder, Lazaredes hears stories of servicemen unable to cope with what they’ve experienced, and he examines recent incidents where returned soldiers have killed their families and even complete strangers in unprovoked attacks.

Families tell Lazaredes that they believe their pleas for help have not been treated seriously, and they’re critical of multiple deployments, with some US soldiers having served more than a dozen tours of duty. Troops are enduring levels of intensity and stress that far exceed anything measured in previous wars.

Lazaredes asks if Australia is facing similar problems, and what lessons Australia’s veterans can learn from America’s experience.

Also on Dateline on Tuesday, BP claims the Gulf of Mexico is now clean, two years on from the huge oil spill.

Video journalist David Brill finds communities affected by the disaster who believe that the gulf is still highly contaminated. He is shown pollution washing up on beaches, and in an area built around fishing, locals tell him their livelihoods have been ruined, and some say they’ve become sick from the powerful chemical used to disperse the oil.

9.30pm Tuesday 24 April on SBS ONE.

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