The Mental Health Minute

Articles and news about mental health issues

New Mental Health Policy Came Days Before Fort Hood Shooting

US 1st Cavalry Division SHOULDER SLEEVE INSIGN...
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Below you will find an article that details the orders by Lt. Gen. Cone to revise the way the soldiers with emotional/psychological issues were to be treated.  You can read the actual order by clicking on the phrase, “document obtained by U.S. News” in the first paragraph.

Too bad that this was not enacted and enforced years ago.  The troops at Ft. Hood have endured 2, 3 and sometimes 4 deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Their families have been separated from them numerous times.  Sometimes these soldiers return to find their families are no longer as they remember and have difficulty adjusting to the changes.  There are so many military children who grow up with only a “phantom” for a father or mother due to frequent and lengthy deployments.  How can this not cause emotional stress and trauma?

Please read the article and let me know what you think.  I am trying not to be like the media with all the hype and misinformation.  I just want to address the emotional and psychological needs of our troops in a rational and objective way.  Maybe I can’t be objective, I don’t know.

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Posted November 5, 2009

Three days before a shooting rampage that left a dozen dead and more than 30 wounded at Fort Hood in Texas, the base commander, Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, issued a new mental health policy aimed at reducing the stigma associated with mental health counseling and encouraging soldiers to seek help, according to a copy of the document obtained by U.S. News.

 

Mental health issues have come to the forefront at the Pentagon because of the stress of repeated deployments over the past eight years with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers face a far different daily life when they return home, but are often haunted by their experiences in combat. As a consequence, mental health counseling at the nation‘s various military posts has become increasingly important.

“This policy change recognizes that, as a nation at war, soldiers’ well-being must be given the highest priority,” according to the two-page document dated November 2. “Commanders shall lead the way in promoting strong behavioral health at Fort Hood by publicizing this policy change.” The policy memo orders unit commanders to “actively encourage soldiers to seek professional care for any behavioral health related issues that could affect their well-being.”

Another section of the policy stressed that soldiers undergoing mental health counseling related to “marital, family and grief issues, and counseling for adjustments from service in a military combat environment” would not have that fact held against them when they apply for security clearances. Soldiers, airmen, and marines sometimes cite confusion about what can and cannot be considered in the security clearance process as a reason not to seek counseling for ailments like post-traumatic stress disorder.

Read the full mental health policy here.

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November 12, 2009 - Posted by | Mental Health | , , , , , , ,

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