Morale Down in Afghanistan: Army
One in six soldiers suffers from a psychological disorder
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2009 6:00 PM CST
In this picture taken Monday, Nov. 9, 2009, a U.S. special operations member pays his final respects for a comrade killed on Saturday in Afghanistan's Farah province.   (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
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(Newser) – Morale is down and psychological problems rampant among troops in Afghanistan, who face a shortage of mental health professionals to help them deal with the stress of war. Only 5.7% of soldiers described their unit's moral as high or very high, down from 10.2% in 2007 and 10.5% in 2005, according to an assessment released today.

In an Army survey, 14% of all soldiers in Afghanistan had a psychological problem, with the rate jumping to 21% when looking at less experienced soldiers—ranks private through specialist. Despite that, the service has only one mental health professional for every 1,120 soldiers. The Army is adding mental health professionals to boost that ratio to one for every 700, but even then, the wide dispersal of forces and rugged terrain will make it hard to get troops the help they need, Stars and Stripes reports.