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U.S. military personnel need mental health support

Posted on 08-29-16 in Advocacy, Mental Health, Rehabilitation

U.S. military personnel need mental health support

Gen. Robert B. Neller, is commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He’s a man who doesn’t mince words and he got right to it in the American Psychiatric Association’s 2016 Annual Meeting this year in Atlanta.

“We need your help,” he said of the Marine Corps’ need for mental health support. “Come and look at our programs. Help us build greater resiliency. Learn about our culture.”

X-ray of military culture and mental health

There are several red flags being waved on the U.S. military front right now, signaling a need for military mental health backup.

  1. Suicides, among noncombatants. According to Neller, the majority of Marines who die by suicide never see combat.
  2. A closed mouth never gets fed.  As discussed in a previous article on reintegration for several displaced populations, a newly demobilized troop often experiences mental health distresses in a type of jamais vu (experiencing things that one recognizes in some way but ultimately seem unfamiliar) with loved ones. Military demobilization and warrior transition programs do their part, yet for many marines “talking about their internal stresses or anxieties doesn’t come easy but it’s essential,” Gen. Neller advises.
  1. The military doesn’t know what to do with mental issues. According to an article with NPR, “As it tries to deal with thousands of soldiers who misbehave after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and then being diagnosed with mental health disorders and traumatic brain injuries, the military sometimes moves to kick them out of the service rather than provide the treatment they need.”
  2. Touch and go. About 70 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan conflict vets who have post-traumatic stress disorder refused military treatment on record, and claim they’ll get it on the civilian side.

At the APA conference in 2012 Maj. Gary H. Wynn, M.D., and research psychiatrist for Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, enumerated less than half of troops symptomatic of combat-related PTSD get therapy and 20-50 percent of soldiers leave midtreatment.

Action item for civilian clinicians

So how can the rest of society start to help? Neller suggested civilians treating service members can incorporate asking patients if they have ever served in the armed forces in all screenings.

Sovereign Health is mindful thoroughly addressing mental health issues will ripple out to other manifested conditions; whether they be substance abuse, eating disorders, alcoholism or mental disorders like PTSD, intermittent explosive disorder or paranoia. We treat our patients from the inside, out to win the war on wellness and bring peace to the battles in the mind. Call our 24/7 helpline for details about our treatment programs.

About the author

Sovereign Health Staff Writer Kristin Currin-Sheehan is a mindful spirit swimming in metaphysical pools with faith as her compass. Her cover: a 30-something Cinderella breadwinner of an all-sport blended family. Her repertoire includes writing and editing; writing poetry, lifestyle articles and TV news; radio production; and on-camera reporting. For more information and other inquiries about this media, contact the author at