“Die woman, die!” These are the words of HM2 Jones (All patient material has been de-identified), a 30-year-old Navy FMF corpsman with two tours to Iraq, as he watches an Iraqi woman lay dying. She has just killed one of his Marines during a firefight, and he has just returned fire on her. Yet as the corpsman, his role now is to save her. “I wanted her to die. I was so angry. It bothers me that it doesn’t bother me, Doc. Is that wrong? Am I evil?” He continues to question his capacity for evil.
Blog posts with the tag "Guest Perspective"
Over the past several years I have seen the same bewildered expression on the faces of numerous Veterans as they struggle to understand and explain their own actions. After several months of treatment, one such client was finally able to articulate, “It’s like there’s a switch in my head that suddenly turns on and it takes everything I’ve got to fight the impulse to do something crazy.”
Combat stress is an issue that concerns all healthcare professionals and military officers who support and facilitate military readiness. When YOU reflect on the phenomenon we call Combat stress, do you consider it:
- An undesirable consequence of war?
- A disabling force affecting our military men and women?
- A source of growth and strength voluntarily sought by those with hardy attitudes?
- A challenging test one takes to affirm and strengthen personal values for success in life?
For nearly four decades, I had the honor of serving on the staff of the late U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, retiring in the fall of 2011 as his chief of staff. During that time, I was actively involved within the governance of the American Psychological Association (APA) and served as its President in 2000. Over the years, we have observed many changes within the field of mental health, both from the “front line” and at the all-important health policy level. Perhaps the most significant of these changes has been external to any of the mental health disciplines – it is the gradual acceptance by society of the importance and appropriateness of receiving quality mental health care, in the same manner that it is now “all right” to openly discuss receiving treatment for cancer or diabetes.
The much-anticipated movie “Concussion” was released on Christmas Day, and already there is Oscar Award talk for Will Smith, who plays the role of Dr. Bennet Omalu. It was Dr. Omalu who discovered the tragic progressive degenerative effects of years of multiple concussions in NFL players, which he named CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). The film highlights the NFL’s initial response of anger and denial. Indeed, since Dr. Omalu’s discovery in 2002, the NFL has experienced lawsuits, exposés, and finger-pointing in general.