On the military’s pre-deployment health assessment form, there is only one question regarding mental health that a recruit is asked before deploying. Question 7 asks, “During the past year, have you sought counseling or care for your mental health?” Matt Kauffman and Lisa Chedekel of the HARTFORD COURANT spent a year investigating mental health screening, depression, and suicide in the military. Are American soldiers mentally fit to fight? What happens if the answer is no?
>> EXPOSÉ retraces the reporters’ steps in their latest episode: “Question 7.” Watch the entire episode online.
>> EXPOSÉ’s “Question 7” airs tonight on PBS. Check local listings.
>> Read Chedekel and Kauffman’s series, which first appeared in the May 14-17, 2006, editions of the HARTFORD COURANT.
>> WEB EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW:
Reporters Lisa Chedekel and Matt Kauffman talk about their very different reporting styles and conducting tough interviews, “some of the toughest either of us has ever done.”
With the families of troops who had committed suicide in Iraq, most of them had never talked about the circumstances of the death of their son or daughter or husband…. Some had never even told relatives or close friends. There we were, strangers calling them from a newspaper in New England, asking them about one of the most taboo topics imaginable—suicide. You’d think most of them would hang up. And yet few did.