“Touchy-feely” soldiersby Susan Moreno on Aug. 18, 2009, under General Mental Health, Health, mental illness, Politics, stigma
As a person concerned about the increasing suicide risk and high incidence of post traumatic stress disorder in our nation’s returning war veterans, I am encouraged that the army is taking a pro-active stance on preparing them before they go to battle instead of dealing with the consequences once they return.
I’m talking about the Army’s plan to train 1.1 million of it’s soldiers in emotional resiliency and I think it’s a step in the right direction. Never tried before, the training is meant to improve performance in combat and (hopefully) deter mental health problems that affect at least 20% of returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Another pilot program currently planned for bases in Hawaii, Alaska and Washington removes a requirement that soldiers getting mental health treatment notify their commanders. As discussed in previous posts, stigma surrounding mental illness is pervasive everywhere and the army is no different.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from combat has been linked to violent behavior including homicide and suicide. Naturally there is some resistance to this kind of therapy, but I think it’s a step in the right direction.