Monday, October 29, 2007

No stigma in getting post-combat stress help

Caregivers emphasize: No stigma in getting post-combat stress help
By Erik Slavin, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Tuesday, October 30, 2007

CAMP CASEY, South Korea — A perception that seeking help for post-combat stress could harm a servicemember’s career is preventing many from dealing with problems that could balloon into greater ones.

But care providers throughout the Pacific say that seeking treatment alone will not jeopardize a security clearance — and therefore military jobs.

Most say they can keep treatment confidential and out of service records, with exceptions possible when serious harm to self or others is involved.

Capt. Christopher Perry, Area I support psychiatrist at Camp Casey, South Korea, has managed medications and conducted psychotherapy for several hundred returning vets.

Senior NCOs and junior officers do perceive a stigma with getting treatment, he said. But that stigma doesn’t exist, Perry said: “You don’t lose your clearance because of seeking help [for combat-related stress].”
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