Issues concerning rapidly rising rates of the development and consequences of PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder, among active duty soldiers and those returning home have received ample attention in the news recently. With statistics that point to larger numbers of soldier suicide than in-combat casualties in some instances, the need for developing greater measures to prevent mental health decline and address the issues as they arise in military personnel is clear. In response, the military has been pouring a great deal of funding and effort into various attempts at approaching the issue, but at least one agency, the Veterans Administration in Boston, has found great initial difficulties due to an apparent lack of interest or willing participation among soldiers.
While it is to be expected that a certain percentage of people will not have any wish to participate in initial trials and programs, the considerably low rates –one program has secured thirteen participants out of a needed 135– suggest that there is strong prejudice against the initiatives. Some point to the stigma of mental health concerns within the military as likely being responsible for the low response rates. Others suggest that the very symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder and other issues support the idea that nothing can help, making participation seem pointless.
The precise reasons for the lack of interest are bound to become clearer as the administration and other agencies continue their efforts to secure a greater understanding of the issues veterans face both during wartime and upon their return home. In the meantime, it is hoped that more soldiers will make the choice to become a part of the solution for currently deployed troops and those of the future.
© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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