What exactly is a Post-Deployment Health Reassessment? Where can I get help for my spouse who is having nightmares about experiences in combat? My buddy said he’s thinking about committing suicide, what should I do?
Such questions come to the fore when Soldiers must deal with the stress of war. Now there is a new source for quick access to answers.
A new World Wide Web site — www.behavioralhealth.army.mil — provides information for Soldiers, their families and other interested members of the public.
Topics include behavioral-health needs before, during and after deployments; pre- and post- deployment health assessments; post-traumatic stress disorder; suicide prevention; Battlemind training; and resources where Soldiers and families can get help. Links and points of contact are provided for additional information.
“Although many Websites have information relevant to behavioral health in general, not many are relevant to Army personnel,” said Col. Elspeth C. Ritchie, psychiatry consultant to the Army Surgeon General. “We created a portal where people can find relevant and reliable information about behavioral-health needs specific to the Army.”
Fifteen to 30 percent of Soldiers returning from Iraq experience post-traumatic stress symptoms or other mental-health symptoms. This is not unusual after combat. Recognizing and treating these symptoms early is key to preventing them from becoming a disorder such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
From the new site’s front page, people can navigate quickly to pages for news about military behavioral-health issues, frequently asked questions or other sources of information. A page labeled “Get Answers” will allow people to submit specific questions to be answered by experts.
Other links from the front page lead to pages where information is gathered for groups of people with common interests – Soldiers, couples, children, extended families, National Guard, Army Reserve or behavioral-health providers.
“It is for Soldiers and their families – not just the nuclear families, but also members of extended families who may not be military health-care beneficiaries, but can access the Website,” Ritchie said.
Other pages provide information on specific issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide prevention, behavioral-health research, Battlemind training or the assessments and reassessments the Army conducts to detect health problems for deploying and redeploying Soldiers.
Some of the tools available will help families recognize symptoms of stress disorders, and help parents explain deployments to children of various ages. Army programs to help – such as the deployment assessments and Battlemind training, which teaches Soldiers how to improve resiliency and mitigate stress — are explained.
Ritchie said specific information for unit commanders will be added to the site, and other additions are being made to adjust to changing needs of Soldiers and their families.