The percentage of active duty Service men and women who reported experiencing a sexual assault in 2016 who said that the assault happened at a "military location," according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service, Military Sexual Assault: A Framework for Congressional Oversight. Additionally, 12% of women and 18% of men said the assault occurred "while at an official military function."
While most of our CDP blogs focus on some aspect of military behavioral health to include understanding, evaluating and treating various psychological wounds of war and reintegration challenges, we don’t often consider and discuss the spiritual conflicts that arise for many of our military-connected clients. These spiritual wounds and needs can have a significant impact and often caring for those needs goes beyond the skillset of a behavioral health provider. A referral or concurrent care addressing both behavioral and spiritual health needs might be the best course of action.
My husband, an active duty Service member in the Navy, passed his 20-year mark earlier this year, which has led to multiple discussions in our household about potential next steps. So perhaps not surprisingly, when recently reading the 2016 Blue Star Families’ annual report, I was drawn to the content on the transition from military to civilian life. The Blue Star Families’ (BSF) annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey examines the experiences and challenges encountered by military connected families.
I catch myself in a trap every so often, as my colleagues have, getting so caught up in selling the phases outlined in a treatment modality that I haven’t taken the time to hear the words from the patients’ perspective. And, working with an all military culture, I’ve found that when this happens I’ve usually lost the patient. I’ve used terms that simply don’t resonate with them and they are less willing to engage in whatever awesome thing I’m trying to get them to try.
To facilitate a discussion about how to identify and assess for moral injury, let’s review the account below written by Ms. Tessa Poppe, who served in the Army National Guard as a Military Police Officer for seven years and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. It’s titled, When the Hardest Thing is Doing Nothing: Moral Injury Caused by Inaction in War and appeared in Foreign Policy on 12 June 2015. Through her narrative, Ms. Poppe paints a picture of a moral dilemma when she felt paralyzed about what to do while deployed and the inner turmoil associated with it.