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Depression in the Ranks
The troops we send off to the battlefield are suffering intense mental distress. A new report done by the Rand Corporation, a non-profit group devoted to improving policy, shows that one in five U.S. troops is suffering from serious depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. What’s worse is that these troops are not getting the mental health care they need to get well—only about half of the troops sought help.
The mental and emotional toll of being in a war zone for an extended period of time is to blame for these conditions, and unfortunately in the armed forces there is a big stigma associated with mental health issues. If you’re depressed, you’re viewed as not being “tough enough” for the task at hand, and a soldier can lose the trust of his or her colleagues if the word gets out. This leads many troops to keep quiet about their suffering.
Though it will take time for these troops to get home and get the help they need, it starts with eliminating the stigma associated with depression. No one should be ashamed for feeling depressed, and speaking up to get help is the first step toward healing. [Los Angeles Times]