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.
Spotlight

Here & Now resident chef and cookbook author Kathy Gunst shares her list of the best cookbooks of the year.

Robin and Jeremy

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

December 16 Comment

‘Sacred Journeys’ Documents Religious Pilgrimages

In a new documentary series on PBS, Bruce Feiler accompanies Americans on pilgrimages to six of the world's holiest sites.

December 16 2 Comments

Jewish Cuisine — It’s Not Just Chopped Liver

Janna Gur shares some history of Jewish cuisine, as well as three recipes from her new cookbook "Jewish Soul Food."

December 15 11 Comments

As School Fees Rise, So Do Questions Over What Constitutes A Free Education

As schools across the country struggle with budget cuts, more and more are charging fees for essential school-related services.

December 15 3 Comments

Both Sides Undergoing Mediation To Resolve Homeless Feeding Dispute

A 90-year-old activist has been arrested recently for feeding the homeless — an act that is illegal in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.