Commentary

September 6, 2013

Don’t let stigma keep you from seeking help

Bill Niemyer
Suicide Prevention Program Manager

I have been employed by the Army for more than 39 years. During my career, I’ve seen Soldiers be ridiculed because they went on sick call or singled out because they had problems. I know the frustrations leaders face when they are trying to complete a mission and they have Soldiers who are unavailable for duty.

This issue, like most, has two sides. Soldiers need to be supported if they are having problems, but the mission still needs to be accomplished. Since September is Suicide Prevention Month, I’d like to talk about “Stigma.”

Stigma is defined as: a mark of shame or discredit. Soldiers are proud. They fight to keep from bringing shame or discredit to themselves, their unit or the Army. If Soldiers equate seeking help for personal problems with being shameful, then they cannot allow themselves to seek help.

Many Soldiers will not seek help for personal problems because they fear how they will be perceived by others in their unit. They will try to find a solution that will not rely on others’ assistance. Sometimes the reason people become suicidal is they are afraid to reach out for help because of what others will think about them.

Soldiers face highly stressful situations; including deployment, combat exposure and reintegration. The rates of post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and mild traumatic brain injuries, or TBI, have increased dramatically since 2003.

Multiple long-term separations from Families lead to increased Family problems. Soldiers are using alcohol to get to sleep or to self medicate. Suicide has increased to the point that the Army”Stood Down” for an entire day last September just to address suicide prevention. However, many Soldiers are still afraid to seek out treatment for their difficulties. Stigma is a barrier to seeking treatment. If you talk to leaders, they realize this.

The Department of Defense, or DoD, has recognized that stigma is a major problem in the armed forces, and as a result, every branch of the military is taking steps to combat the stigma associated with mental health problems and seeking out treatment.

In order to limit fear that report of psychological difficulties will negatively impact a security clearance, DoD no longer requires people to report if they have sought out mental health care for combat-related reasons. In addition, high ranking military personnel are sharing their experiences with PTSD and the treatment they received. DoD is also attempting to convey that it’s normal to experience stress as a result of combat-related experiences.

Yet some still hold on to those attitudes of people being weak if they are having problems. As a leader or battle buddy, Soldiers who care about Soldiers have to do whatever they can to get help to others if there are any indications they need it.

If you are a Soldier in need of assistance, it is important to seek out help. Services are available, and you have a right as well as a responsibility to take care of yourself. Don’t let others shame you into not taking care of yourself. Contact the agency that is available to help you with problems. Others can’t help if they don’t know you are having a problem.

Those with questions about how to find help should call 533.2071 or visit the Army Substance Abuse Program staff, Building 22414, 434 Christy Ave.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Presidential Proclamation — Women’s History Month WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH, 2015 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION Throughout history, extraordinary women have fought tirelessly to broaden our democracy’s reach and help perfect our Union. Through protest and activism, generations of women have appealed to the values at the heart of our Nation and fought to give meaning to the idea that we are all created equal. As today’s women and...
 
 

Getting, keeping good credit important in financial life

Good credit plays an important part in a person’s financial life. Not only is it essential for obvious things like qualifying for a loan or getting a credit card, but also for less obvious things like getting cellular phone service, renting a car and perhaps even getting a job. A strong credit history, reflected in...
 
 

McHugh: America’s Army facing sequestration ‘enemy’ at home

WASHINGTON — Not only does the U.S. Army face rapid, unpredictable changes in the geopolitical landscape, but also the uncertainty of an adversary — sequestration — here at home, Army Secretary John McHugh said here today. Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee, McHugh, joined by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, discussed...
 

 

TBI can occur in battle, garrison — awareness important

Traumatic brain injury, TBI, has been called the “signature wound” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Injuries the Service members receive downrange can originate from improvised explosive devices, IEDs, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, gun blasts, accidents and equipment failure. Many military personnel have experienced multiple deployments due to the length of war, translating into m...
 
 
U.S. Army graphic

Traumatic Brain Injury awareness month highlights resources

U.S. Army graphic The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately 2.5 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations or deaths were associated with a singular traumatic brain injury, or TBI, a combinat...
 
 

2015 Army Emergency Relief Annual Campaign

Since its founding during World War ll, Army Emergency Relief (AER) has provided $1.7 billion in interest-free loans and grants to 3.6 million Soldiers in the active component, the Army National Guard, the Army Reserve and among the ranks of the retired. AER financial assistance provides timely care and support to Wounded Warriors, Surviving Spouses...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin