I will never forget the moment when a soldier who had experienced traumatic events came to my care. He had an older brother dealing with PTSD, and the family was going through significant emotional upheaval. The parents were understandably concerned about another son being exposed to traumatic events, and I spoke with them numerous times to understand and address their concerns. The relationship with the family touched my heart deeply.
In such a situation, we use a method of psychoeducation to explain to the family about the phenomenon of PTSD and the tools they can use to help themselves and their son. The soldier himself also needed assistance, and after a few days of talking with me, he was in a better condition, which was a huge relief.
However, returning from working with soldiers in the army has been challenging for me. Not only is it difficult to transition from the intensity of that work to other commitments at the hospital, but I am also preparing for a final test of my internship in psychiatry, which has been compressed into a very short period due to reserve duty.
One of my biggest challenges is ensuring that mental health treatments remain consistent for soldiers who have been discharged from reserve duty and need continued care. This issue has become even more evident as we realize how little we know about treating combat stress and trauma compared to our knowledge of providing long-term support for people who have experienced trauma over time.
Research is scarce on this topic, and it’s clear that we need more knowledge about treating combat stress and trauma effectively. If I could improve something in the way mental assistance is administered to soldiers today, it would be to ensure that mental health services are readily available for everyone who needs them, regardless of whether they have just returned from serving or are experiencing ongoing mental distress as a result of their service.
I believe that it’s important for commanders and peers in the military recognize that there is a real concern for the mental health of soldiers among them while still maintaining their fighting spirit and operational activity levels. We need more open discussions about these complex situations soldiers go through so that we can offer more comprehensive mental health services when needed.
In conclusion, I believe it’s essential for society as a whole to recognize trauma as not just an individual issue but rather one affecting families, communities, and our entire nation. It’s crucial that we offer acceptance, containment, and assistance to those experiencing trauma so they can receive the help they need without fear or judgment.
We must increase our efforts towards researching effective treatments for combat stress and trauma so that those who have served can receive timely support when needed.
Ultimately, if we want our soldiers to return home unbroken after serving their country proudly