A Journalist’s Reflection: The Need for Greater Access to Mental Health Services for Soldiers beyond Discharge from Service

We Lack Sufficient Knowledge on Treating Stress and Fight Responses

One memory that will always stay with me is the time I cared for a soldier who had gone through traumatic events. He had an older brother struggling with PTSD, and the family was going through a difficult emotional period. I spoke to the parents numerous times to understand their concerns and provide them with guidance on how to help their son. The experience deeply touched my heart.

In such situations, we use psychoeducation to explain the phenomenon of PTSD and the tools that can be used to cope with it. The soldier himself also needed assistance, and after just a few days of talking with me, he was in better shape, which was a huge relief for his family.

Currently, I am facing two significant challenges: transitioning from working intensely with soldiers in the army back to my other responsibilities at the hospital and preparing for my final test of my internship in psychiatry within a very short time frame due to reserve duty.

It has become clear that our knowledge about treating combat stress and trauma is limited compared to our experience providing assistance to people who have experienced long-term trauma. There is not enough research on this subject, which makes it difficult for us to provide effective treatment.

If I could improve one thing about mental health services provided to soldiers today, it would be ensuring that mental health treatments remain accessible even after they are discharged from service. This is especially important for reservists who need ongoing care.

Despite everything they’ve been through, soldiers remain committed to their duties and continue fighting bravely even after years of service. However, there needs to be more open discussions about the complex situations soldiers face and an increase in mental health services provided by governments and organizations around the world. We must remember that when a person joins the reserves, their entire family experiences a significant transition that can affect their mental well-being as well.

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