With 3 deployments under his belt and a slot waiting for him in the US Army's Drill Sergeant School, a 33-year-old sergeant first class stepped up his alcohol consumption and reported to friends and colleagues that he was having nightmares, slept with a gun under his pillow, and was depressed. About a month after he was supposed to have left for the training, he was found dead in his apartment from a gunshot wound to the head.This vignette was one of many included in a July Army report on suicide prevention that described how a multitude of interacting factors—such as job and personal stress, psychiatric conditions, and brain injuries—are contributing to a continuing epidemic of suicide among returning soldiers (http://usarmy.vo.llnwd.net/e1/HPRRSP/HP-RR-SPReport2010_v00.pdf). The report calls for a variety of interventions, including increased discipline and accountability by military leaders, efforts to reduce the stigma of seeking mental health care, and a more robust primary care effort to identify and treat these patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Practicing psychologists and other health professionals are facing a growing patient population of United States military service members with significant psychological and behavioral health concerns returning from war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some of these issues are new and unfamiliar to many health providers. Furthermore, because of a military culture of self-reliance, strength, and the perceived stigma of seeking mental health services, a second and substantial population of service members-in-need is choosing not to consult health professionals at all. The Internet and other networked multimedia technologies now offer a rich expert resource for providers, and an anonymous, less stigmatizing venue for self-management for service members and their families. Over the last 2 years the U.S. Defense Department's National Center for Telehealth & Technology has developed afterdeployment.org, a Web-based set of resources, tools, and aids for service members, veterans, and their families. afterdeployment.org provides education and skills-development exercises aimed at overcoming challenges to the adjustment process after a deployment. The Website also provides health professionals with a comprehensive resource to serve as an adjunct to face to face treatment of individuals in the military community.
Professional Psychology Research and Practice 12/2011; 42(6):455-462. DOI:10.1037/a0025038 · 1.34 Impact Factor
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