Thursday, December 13, 2012

Points of Concern For Soldiers


There is a great deal of military speak in this, I will put in parenthesis what the acronym is when it appears the first time.) R and R would be correctly written as R ampersand R but Blogger won't let me use an ampersand.

My areas of concern:

1)    PCP (Primary care provider) not immediately referring soldier to R and R (Resilience and Restoration Center) or other resources when presenting with problems that could be both physical and mental health. IE: sleep disorders, sex drive, panic attacks

2)    TriCare referral system: PCP requests referral to psychiatrist for soldier; soldier waits approximately 2 weeks to receive paperwork in the mail; referred Doctor is booked for months out; Tricare cannot change the doctor; soldier has to return to PCP and restart the process (Soldier is still not referred to R and R)

3)    When a soldier that has never had a discipline problem or one that has always been a leader suddenly exhibits bad behavior that is out of their character the CoC (Chain of Command) needs to ask themselves “Why?” If the CoC does not personally know the soldier they need to find out about their character and refer soldier to R and R or give the soldier a packet of resources.

4)    Inform family member when possible. Family member may be able to provide insight and should be given a resource packet to be able to help their soldier.

5)    ASAP (Army Substance Abuse Program):
       a) Only for SUD (Substance Abuse Disorder). Many with SUD have mental health issues that need to be addressed and referred to the proper treatment place.
b     b)  More options available than the 12-Step program. No one thing helps every single person.
c     c) ASAP and R and R need some form of combined program to address dual SUD/Mental health issues at the same time.
       d) From an outsider view it appears that ASAP is failure focused. (Relapses have to be reported to command and soldier faces separation.) Relapse is a part of recovery.

6)   When a soldier has mental health and /or SUD they should immediately be considered/screened for WTU (Warrior Transition Unit) and until that time a soldier is accepted or has recovered should have someone assigned to help the soldier with appointments and making sure they are kept. Even if it’s a PVT that is acting as a reminder system to help take strain off from the CoC. Often the soldier feels that if they remind CoC of an appointment that might be missed because they are placed on a mission they will get in trouble. It is not logical thinking but mental illness affects the logical process. It should not be left to a family member to discover and initiate the WTU process.

7)    The likelihood of a soldier having discipline problems with untreated conditions is high. Especially when there are two conditions such as SUD/Mental health. If one is treated and the other is not, the soldier is still not getting better and will exhibit poor behavior/relapses.
       a) A soldier should be punished and help accountable as with any person however, every effort to should be made to make sure all avenues of treatment were offered to the soldier within a reasonable time.  
       b) If the behavior came before a soldier was being fully treated for SUD and/or mental health condition consideration should be given and punishment suspended until soldier receives needed care and can prove they are getting better.
c    c) DCoE (Defense Center of Excellence) What Leaders Need to Know: States a soldier should not be removed from a leadership position. Losing rank is not helping any soldier.
d   d) Suspension should also be considered so the soldier does not have other worries while they are concentrating on recovery. Financial, sleep deprived from extra duty, etc.

8)    PCP, CoC, ASAP and R and R need a packet with all available resources in it to give to soldiers. Something similar to an in/outprocessing or SRP (Soldier Readiness Processing) packet that the soldier carries so each place knows the soldier has the needed information. I am only suggesting this for soldiers that show out of character behavior or have sought help with any agency and enrolled in treatment. I am certain all soldiers are made aware of programs and take suicide prevention classes but when a soldier is depressed or has other problems often their memory is not good enough to recall this information.

9)    If a soldier only has an option to see a doctor off base because of waiting periods, whatever diagnosis they receive from licensed doctor should be as good as a diagnosis from an on base doctor.

10) Some form of mental health triage to assess that goes beyond “Are you suicidal?”

2 comments:

Dealer6G said...

oh you speak whats in my mind, I would never become suicidal because a fear that my mom has presented to me by her self inflicted demise but, what do you do when your sooooooo damn frustrated but don't know how to process it?

Robin Howard said...

It's always good to know you're not alone in battles like this. Frustration becomes a part of everyday life. There are resources and information out there, sadly they are not always easy to find and some are not as good as they should be.

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