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.


 
 

 
Maranda Flynn

Sergeant Major of the Army talks Fort Huachuca’s leadership, success in Army’s future

Maranda Flynn Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III speaks to Fort Huachuca, Ariz. Soldiers about battle buddy safety during a town hall meeting held at Cochise Theater, Aug. 20. As force reduction kicks into gear, Soldier...
 
 

Celebrating Women’s Equality Day — 2014

The Nation’s Annual Observance of Women’s Equality Day commemorates the addition of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees women the right to vote. This victory moved our Nation forward on the path towards equal civil and political rights for all Americans. The roles of women in the Army have changed dramatically since 1775....
 
 
Courtesy of the International Military Student Office

IMSO plays integral part in international students’ lives here

Courtesy of the International Military Student Office International military students meet U.S. Representative Ron Barber while taking a week-long trip to Washington D.C. The trip was organized by the International Military Stu...
 

 

New 35Q course offered at Fort Huachuca NCOA

The new Cryptologic Network Warfare Analyst Advanced Leader Course, ALC, resumed its second cycle of classes this month at the Noncommissioned Officer Academy, NCOA. The 288-hour, small group-led ALC prepares noncommissioned officers to assume supervisory roles in cyber analysis and operation elements. Upon completion, Soldiers should be able to apply critical thinking while supervising and...
 
 
Lisa Ferdinando

Army focuses on good energy stewardship to protect mission

Lisa Ferdinando Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, speaks at a panel discussion in Washington, D.C., April 10, 2013. WASHINGTON — The Army is focused on being a good ...
 
 

Under Secretary challenges Army senior leaders to revamp Civilian career management

ARLINGTON, Va. — During a two-day session at the Pentagon last month, approximately 30 members of the Senior Executive Service, or SES, gathered to discuss how to improve Civilian career development. Army Under Secretary Brad Carson hosted the event, which was meant to help shape policy changes regarding how the Army hires, trains, develops and...
 




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