Health & Safety

April 19, 2012

PTSD ambassador gives outreach presentation here

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Maj. Jennifer Butler
11th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade Public Affairs Office
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Bob Delaney arrived Monday as part of an outreach program’s presentations to Soldiers and families at the Military Intelligence Center of Excellence about coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Delaney spoke to Soldiers of the 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion on Tuesday at Cochise Theater. Delaney will visit every school and center in U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command for two days to hold outreach sessions with Soldiers and their families.

40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion is a U.S. Army Forces Command unit, but was added to the schedule because the unit returned from their last deployment during the spring of 2011.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has become synonymous with Soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with combat injuries that cannot be seen or measured. However, PTSD is a psychological reaction that occurs after someone experiences a highly stressing event outside the range of normal human experience and is usually characterized by depression, anxiety, flashbacks, recurrent nightmares and avoidance of reminders of the event.

Delaney has helped many to understand and identify symptoms of PTSD, the impact it has on the individual and its ripple effect on family and friends.

Delaney has been dealing with PTSD since his work as an undercover officer infiltrating the Mafia while serving as a New Jersey State Trooper. Also a retired National Basketball Association referee who officiated more than 1,700 regular season games, 160 playoff contests and nine finals, Delaney is sponsored by the ”NBA Cares” program to serve as an ambassador in a PTSD outreach program and share with audiences his insights on how he has dealt with the condition for many years.

One of the insights Delaney provided was a formula for devolvement.

Delaney said, “Experiences plus intellectual readiness plus reflections equals devolvement,” he explained.

Delaney was not speaking of personal experiences, but the experiences people share with peers, the training people do together all contributing to their devolvement. This is where peer-to-peer therapy comes in and can be the first line of defense against PTSD.

Delaney said, “PTSD is not a mental illness. It is a human experience.”

Peer-to-peer therapy deals with that human experience which is a shared bond among Soldiers. Peer-to-peer therapy is speaking to someone who has gone through a similar experience as someone else did. Each person with this common bond can provide support to help each other.

Delaney said, “In my belief, peer-to-peer therapy is the first line of defense at keeping PTSD at PTSD and not allowing it to get to the disorder.”

Lt. Col. Andrew McClelland, 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion commander, said, “Thank you for including us as a U.S. Army Forces Command unit. Lots of good points and things to think about like peer-to-peer therapy. Thank you.”

Col. Roger Sangvic, chief of staff, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, said, “As you know, the Army is one big family. Once in the Army, always in the Army. I will extend that to law enforcement.

“We are honored and privileged to have Bob Delaney come down and speak to us about PTSD. For all the people who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us, I need you to live on for them. We are each other’s brothers’ keepers. I know that you guys paid a debt that people will never be able to repay. Live up to those expectations of the people who have gone before us. Be that ambassador and carry the message.”

Delaney has presented before members of law enforcement, the military, firefighters and emergency service workers and their families for the past three decades, and was embedded in units in Iraq and Afghanistan during 2009, 2010 and 2011. He has counseled Wounded Warriors at Landstuhl Hospital in Germany and military posts throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Delaney was decorated with the U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal by U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Commanding General, Gen. Robert Cone, when he was the commander of III Corps for Delaney’s support to Soldiers and families at Fort Hood, Texas, following the tragic shootings of Nov. 5, 2009.

He has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Obama for his ongoing PTSD awareness and education work.




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