The U.S. Army Battles Mental Health Issues
The U.S. Army is preparing to battle mental health issues by adding a new component to a soldier's basic training which will include strengthening emotional resiliency according to the New York Times that was published this morning.
The Military has been coping with increasing rates of mental health issues with a climbing rate of suicide among troops returning from combat. The number of suicides in 2008 totaled 128 confirmed cases from all Army components. This is the highest figure since the Army began tracking these alarming statistics.
Officials today stated that they would like soldiers to get comfortable expressing themselves according to a New York Times report published Tuesday. The new program, which will cost $117, is modeled on ones used in middle schools and will be directed on defusing anger and reducing mental stress. The learning procedure will be taught weekly and will start at two military bases beginning in October. The Army claims it will eventually be used throughout all basic training.
The training will try to get soldiers to talk about their feelings. This may be a difficult task in a culture where such talk can be seen as a sign of weakness. However, none of these programs will be effective if the stigma associated with asking for help remains intact.
It has been reported that some officers have come forward to discuss their own struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. The Army is counting on people to open the subject for discussion as soldiers feel empowered in assisting other soldiers in need. Part of it is getting people to see that going to mental health professionals or going to see the chaplain is a sign of inner strength and considered a courageous act.
The Army is trying to train at least 1,500 sergeants to execute the program and help battle mental health issues. Its usefulness will be assessed through a series of confidential questionnaires filled out the soldiers to determine improvement in dealing with mental stress.
As the Army is prepares to battle mental health issues they are trying to get soldiers to go to mental health professionals or see the chaplain. Army officials see this as a sign of inner strength and a courageous move on the soldier’s part.
A Soldiers Perspective
New York Times