90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Monday, January 14, 2013

Navy SEAL Loses Battle With PTSD

Navy SEAL Robert Guzzo committed suicide in November 2012. (Screenshot from The Fold)

Navy SEAL Robert Guzzo committed suicide in November 2012. (Screenshot from The Fold)

An estimated 18 veterans commit suicide every day. One of them was a former Navy SEAL, who killed himself on the day after Veterans Day, 2012.

Rob Guzzo's mother, Robin Anderson, holds Guzzo's daughter. (Screenshot from The Fold)

Rob Guzzo’s daughter is held by this mother, Robin Anderson, a Navy veteran. (Screenshot from The Fold)

Rob Guzzo served in Iraq and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when he came home. He kept that a secret because he feared for his career.

“Rob was speaking to his teammates and senior teammates about some of the things that he was experiencing,” Guzzo’s mother Robin Anderson told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “They were cautioning him that if you go see a mental health provider, if you say you’re having these types of symptoms, it is going to affect your security clearance. For a SEAL, if you don’t have a security clearance, you don’t go on secret classified missions, therefore you’re not a Navy SEAL.”

Eventually, Guzzo’s symptoms got so bad that his parents, both Navy vets themselves, got him discharged and got him private treatment outside the military.

Rob Guzzo is pictured as a child, being held by his father, Bob Guzzo, also a Navy SEAL. (Screenshot from The Fold)

Rob Guzzo is pictured as a child, being held by his father, Bob Guzzo, also a Navy SEAL. (Screenshot from The Fold)

But in the end, it didn’t help.

Brook Silva-Braga, a classmate of Guzzo’s from Portsmouth High School in Rhode Island and host of The Washington Post’s online news program “The Fold,” told Guzzo’s story in a recent video report.

“In the Navy, in the Army, in Special Forces, they are trying to change this [PTSD] stigma, they’re trying to reduce it,” Silva-Braga told Here & Now. “But there’s at least a couple things that they run up against. One is this long-entrenched culture. But in cases like the SEALS there is this legitimate sticky wicket of, because of the security clearance, there may be some people that come back that shouldn’t keep their clearance because of what they’re going through. But because they know that, how do they get treatment for what they’re going through? And it’s a bit of a catch-22 that I’m not sure there’s a good answer for.”

Guests:

  • Brook Silva-Braga, hosts The Washington Post’s online news program “The Fold.”
  • Robin Andersen, mother of Navy SEAL Robert Guzzo.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

March 30 38 Comments

Sen. Warren: Not Interested In Reid's Job And Still Not Running For President

Elizabeth Warren insists she has no plans to jump into the 2016 race. She joins us to discuss her current political goals.

March 30 8 Comments

Unveiling The Pain Of Secondary Trauma Victims

Mac McClelland was diagnosed with PTSD after witnessing another woman's horror at being brutally assaulted. She joins us to explain why she didn't believe the diagnosis, at first.

March 27 Comment

Using Poetry To Expose The Power Of Money, Class And Gender

Alissa Quart's first book of poetry is both personal and universal - inspired by work and research she has done as a journalist.

March 27 11 Comments

Yale Is Starting A VHS Archive And It’s Full Of Horror Movies

"Silent Night, Deadly Night," "Stripped to Kill" and "The Last Slumber Party" – all from the 80s – are a few of the titles.