Helping America’s Battlefield Warriors Recover, Inside and Out

After nearly two decades on the battlefield, I personally know the struggles that our soldiers encounter after the traumatic and unyielding effects of war.

The impact produces not only the visible wounds that we see on the surface — but also scars that affect someone deeply, into their core psychological and spiritual well-being.

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently reported that more than 20 veterans and active duty service members, guardsmen and reservists commit suicide every day in the U.S.

Of those, approximately 16 are veterans.

Research suggests there is a strong link between guilt related to combat and suicide for veterans with PTSD.

While the military takes precautions to protect our soldiers physically through upgrades that allow them to often withstand direct attacks from enemy fire in a combat situation, our soldiers are often ill-prepared for the internal battle that takes place after they return home.

Related: Veterans Deserve Our Sincere Thanks for All They’ve Done

While everyone handles the scars of war differently, I believe there are tools we can offer our warriors to help them overcome the war on their internal battlefields.

1.) Provide education. We can improve education and training to help military personnel better anticipate, recognize and respond to invisible wounds. An example is training warriors to conduct a basic self-assessment following a combat engagement as well as equipping and encouraging team leaders to assess teammates.

Making self-assessments a routine occurrence will help reduce the stigma of discussing — and doing something about — invisible wounds.

2.) Connect warriors with programs. When a soldier is injured, we, as a nation, need to make sure that he or she seeks out programs and groups that can help navigate the inner wounds that can accompany a physical injury and find a path to healing.

3.) Treat the warrior as a whole person. Overall psychological, physical, and spiritual fitness is key to healing. One without the other lessens the effectiveness.

In order to make advancements, a systematic and holistic approach is needed.

Typical interventions such as clinical treatments and group therapies that ignore the spiritual dimension are inadequate. This spiritual dimension of trauma includes grief, guilt, and shame.

It can manifest itself through traumatic events the warrior has encountered or experienced while on the battlefield.

Spiritual fitness is key to addressing moral injury, re-establishing identity, and helping the warrior along his or her path to wellness. The fact is, when it comes to spiritual fitness, only God can heal certain wounds.

4.) Let

Source:: LifeZette


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