Closer look to the Transitional Period of returning Combat Veterans Argosy University Carol Builes
Veterans in much need of services The present wars Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), OperationEnduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation New Dawn (OND) haveleft unprecedented psychological harm to thousands of soldiersand Veterans. As a nation, we are striving to ensure that this population hasaccess to resources, specifically much needed mental healthservices. On the other hand, the stigma that accompaniescombat Veterans in seeking help stems from the concern ofbeing labeled as “weak” by their peers and/or superiors; thus,posing a threat to their military careers and the end result in notseeking services.
Re-Entry and Reintegration servicesDoyle and Peterson explain that re-entry andreintegration, “the return home and reunion with familyand community” are fundamental to the success of thesoldier for the remaining of the deployment.Veterans and service members face many difficulties whenreturning from deployment. This period of readjustmentand transition and the immediate expectancy of returningto what their lives were before deployment can be verychallenging and life-changing for some.Furthermore, a collaborative approach in treatment thatincludes educating the service member’s family andmental health professionals on this transition period, willprove to be of “maximal benefit to the Soldier.”
Another study focused on the post-deployment needs of military personneland related problems as reported by family members. Some of these needspresented as specialized healthcare, for example for those diagnosed with atraumatic brain injury (TBI). Other notable needs were social disruptions, inabilityto transition to their pre deployment lifestyle, employment issues, and othermental health related problems such as substance abuse and depression. In theirfindings, suggestions and initiatives were presented to provide much neededservices to military personnel and outreach to the remote increase accessibilityto these resources (Zeber, 2010).
Specialized HealthcareSpecialized healthcare is also needed for the returning combatSoldiers who are diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries(TBI’s). This can be a challenge in itself due to accessibility tospecialized treatment and the lack of providers. Recentliterature and studies conducted on this topic, all suggests thatthe needs for re-entry and reintegration services arenecessary for the success of the service member to transitionback to their Garrison-Soldier life (state side) and/or civilianlives.
Mental Health ServicesCompilations of studies were summarized in a study conductedby the military to observe the predominance of post-traumaticstress disorder (PTSD) among soldiers of the recent wars; itwas concluded in their findings that service members whoexperienced a higher degree of combat exposure, were morelikely to develop PTSD, “Scientifically rigorous evidence *asdemonstrated by data] that war-zone deployment leads toincreased symptoms of PTSD symptoms” (Zeber et al. 2010).
In a study conducted by Schok, et, al 2010, an individualapproach to study each service member personalresources, self-esteem, and ability to recover (resilience)and transition to their daily activities following adeployment. The data was collected throughquestionnaires with a sample size of 1.561 servicemembers that had experienced combat.In their findings, it was reported that higher resiliencypredicted less distrust in others, “more personal growthand less intrusions and avoidance after militarydeployment.”
In all, reintegration services that includehealthcare, mental health services to treatsubstance abuse, counseling for the servicemembers and spouse, psychotherapy forthose diagnosed with PTSD, and otherpsychosocial services such as vocationalrehabilitation and housing are vital in helpingthe service member transition to their civilianlives and/or continue with their militarycareers.
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