Mental Health Issues in the Military

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Michael Alster Any American would be hard-pressed to turn on the news and not find something, anything, said about Operation Iraqi Freedom. The war in Iraq is one of the most publicized (and controversial) topics so far of the 21st century. Unfortunately, a common headline reads something like this: “5 Marines killed in Baghdad Today,” “15 American troops injured in a suicide bomb attack in Tikrit this morning.” What about the casualties that aren’t reported on the news? The troops that suffer - not from physical wounds that can heal, be stitched up, or adapted to live with – but from non-visible scars. Mental injuries are becoming increasingly common among today’s decorated war heroes. Many are too embarrassed, scared or…show more content…
It starts out slowly as a dream, perhaps, or as a daydream, and escalates into depression, insomnia, anxiety, alienation and rage. It is thought that stress increases someone’s chance of developing PTSD after a traumatic event. Therefore, to reduce the risk of the disorder, there is a need to reduce the stress and increase training so that soldiers know what to expect, how to handle it when it occurs, and what to do when they can’t handle it. It is agreed across the board that the United States Military provides prevention training to its soldiers. Each branch of the military is supposed to provide this training to each of its soldiers before, during, and after their deployment. This can be as important as teaching a new soldier how to clean his gun. Sometimes though, factors like timing and money dictate if the training is actually administered, and mental health training may be the first to go. Also, the military provides soldiers with a variety of mental health services. A search of the army medicine website,, reveals news on mental health and a link to the army’s behavioral health website. Information about the various services the Department of Defense offers are scattered over several websites. Again, Operation Iraqi Freedom’s budget limits the availability and accessibility of these services. Unless a soldier requests help, it’s usually not offered. Many soldiers ask, “Why me? Why not the guy next to me? We
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