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.


 
 

 
Robert Shields

Fort Hood shooting victim seeks to inspire others

Robert Shields Army 1st Lt. John Arroyo works on strengthening his right hand while his occupational therapist, Katie Korp, looks on at the Center for the Intrepid in Brooke Army Medical Center’s rehabilitation center at Join...
 
 

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY SAFETY MESSAGE

On Monday January 19th America commemorates the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. We must honor his memory by striving to end discrimination and hatred wherever it resides. The U.S. Military has always been a leader for social change in America. In 1948 President Harry Truman ended segregation in the military with Executive Order 9981....
 
 

Know rules for smoking, nicotine use on Fort Huachuca

Do you use tobacco products or vapor devices? Nicotine delivery devices, such as e-cigs, vaping devices, or the like are considered the same as tobacco and are only authorized in designated smoking areas. The only places you may smoke, “vape,” or chew tobacco, in accordance with Army Regulation 600-63, are designated by paragraph 7-3. Policy...
 

 

Aviation refines doctrine to meet emerging threats

FORT RUCKER, Ala. — In a climate of ever-changing operational environments and emerging threats, Army Aviation must transform to meet the demands required to defeat the enemy. It all begins with doctrine. The Army’s Doctrine 2015 initiative aims to restructure and develop doctrine that is current and relevant, according to Lt. Col. Fernando Guadalupe Jr.,...
 
 

Presidential Proclamation — National Native American Heritage Month, 2014

NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH, 2014 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION Every year, our Nation pauses to reflect on the profound ways the First Americans have shaped our country’s character and culture. The first stewards of our environment, early voices for the values that define our Nation, and models...
 
 
Courtesy photos

Let’s talk turkey: Prepare a perfect bird during Thanksgiving holiday

Courtesy photos When preparing the turkey, ensure the bird is completely thawed and all utensils are clean. To avoid the spread of bacteria during the preparation process, use clean utensils and wash hands frequently. Whether h...
 




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