By Paul Ross (pictured above, right) U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs Editor, Navy Medicine Magazine
When my kid brother left for Iraq he was just that — a kid.
He returned home shattered inside. The “dark pit,” as he calls it, was hidden underneath his gruff, infantry-tattooed exterior. No one in our family could have predicted what he would experience or the after-effects that continue to haunt him today.
Many Sailors, Soldiers, Marines and Airmen return from deployments with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As a family member of a person suffering from PTSD, we must be strong for them in a variety of ways to help them combat the disorder.
I received an up-close and personal look at how it can affect a person, when my younger brother came to live with me after separating from the U.S. Army.
By Barbara Thompson Director, Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth, Office of the Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy)
Our military children are strong and resilient. From a very young age, they face challenges many other children do not, including frequent moves, school transitions, and tough goodbyes. Through all of this, they demonstrate maturity and wisdom—helping out at home during deployments, doing well in school, and much more. However, the military lifestyle can take its toll on our children’s health and well-being and it’s important that we provide families with the right resources to support their children through difficult times.
Positive mental health is essential to a child’s development and on May 9th, we draw attention to this important issue by recognizing Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) “Caring for Every Child’s Mental Health” initiative, which seeks to increase awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and to stimulate support services. This year, the focus will be on the impact of trauma on children and youth and how we can help our children build resilience to it.
Usually people seek treatment for injuries within twenty-four hours. However, when people get a traumatic brain injury – or TBI – they don’t always know they have a TBI and it often goes untreated. This month is Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month. Sgt. Danny Woodruff tells us how the Vicenza military community is doing their part to make sure troops completely understand the issue.
Every suicide represents a tragic loss to our Army and the Nation. While the high number of potential suicides in July is discouraging, we are confident our efforts aimed at increasing individuals’ resiliency, while reducing incidence of at-risk and high-risk behavior across the Force, are having a positive impact. We absolutely recognize there is much work to be done and remain committed to ensuring our people are cared for and have ready access to the best possible programs and services.
Stress affects everyone and in the military, stress is a practically a part of the job. Whether it’s large workloads, family trouble, financial pressure, job-related anxiety, or any other number of things, stress happens. The key is not so much in learning to live without stresses, but in learning how to deal with them in a productive and healthy manner.