Saturday, August 25, 2012

"Gathering storm," projected 70 percent of soldiers will not seek help

They took a pledge for us; now it's our turn to help them
Special To The Tampa Tribune
Published: August 25, 2012

The Psychiatric Times reports a "gathering storm," estimating that 70 percent of soldiers will not seek help from federal agencies because of the stigma associated with PTSD. Unfortunately, the public sector is not prepared for the coming demand of troops who will seek mental heath services.

Every day our troops stand strong in their pledge to protect the nation, sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice. Yet what are we, the American people, doing to protect and support them?

I allude to that question in my novel, "The Complexity of a Soldier," because I want to bring attention to this very serious issue. It affects not only the individual soldiers, but their friends, family and all who surround them when they return home. Often they are no longer the same person they were before their deployment, as they struggle with the mental and psychological effects of integrating into society post-combat.

"PTSD is now a pressing national health crisis," says Charlene Rubush, an advocate for soldiers suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.

Successfully integrating a soldier back into civilian life requires providing him or her with trauma evaluation services such as thorough psychiatric assessments and examination of post-traumatic stress symptoms, which include anxiety, nightmares, change in eating pattern or sleeping pattern, fear of leaving the house, inability to carry out job responsibilities, fear of public places, and startling at loud noises, to name just a few.

However, statistics show that mental health screenings of returning troops have little to no effect on their actually receiving services.
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