Disclaimer: I am not going to claim to be an expert on the situation at Fort Hood, all of the following are my own thoughts and feelings. Still, I feel that on a day like today, I need to speak up, so tonight’s post is going to be a little different than the norm.
God With Us… November 6, 2009
I am heartbroken for those involved and affected in today’s shooting. My prayers go out to the victims’ families, as well as the rest of the soldiers on base.
We can’t know the reasons true for the shooting. There seem to be two teams of thought right now: one being Islamic descent and the other being PTSD.
PTSD has been affecting me personally quite a bit lately. Because of that, it has made me step up and take a look at how little awareness there is. All the time we hear “Support Our Troops!” But what they mean is “Support Our Troops Who Are Overseas Who Only You Know!” Now, I am a military wife, so when J. was deployed, yes, I was all over sending him care packages and wore red, white and blue and put out a yellow ribbon and all that jazz.
But it CANNOT stop there. Not for us at home, and NOT for the Army. For our unit, PTSD awareness meant a short lecture during the post deployment briefing telling us what the signs were. Maybe a few pamphlets. They tried to give us the resources we needed. However, at that time, we all just shook it off. We were too excited for our soldiers to be home. PTSD was not going to happen to us, we hardly saw any “real” action. However, it never should have been left at that, in my opinion.
Now, I don’t know how things work in active Army units. But in my opinion, I think the military should require periodical mental health checks for at least a year, if not two, post deployment. For reservists, it would be easy–build the checks into the monthly drills, or even every 2-3 months. But do SOMETHING. The Army HAS to ensure that their soldiers are being taken care of. They cannot leave it up to the soldiers–there is too much of a stigma that if you ask for help you are weak. Not only that, but sometimes you don’t always break down all at once. It can be a slow spiral that is full of denial. The soldier doesn’t want to get help, and often the family doesn’t push the subject, if they even see it happening. As I said earlier, you always think it won’t happen to you.
Ok, enough of all that. Where can you go to get help?
1. Call your local VA. They will gladly do a mental screening, set you up with a doctor, and get you the help you need.
2. Here’s a great group who is putting out information for PTSD. They were very active on Twitter tonight during the Fort Hood discussions.
3. If you are in a crisis situation, call 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Like I said, these are my own thoughts and opinions. Really, I just want to see more soldiers get help. I’ve seen it with my own eyes how much pain PTSD causes. We saw today a huge mass media tragedy and it’s absolutely devestating. My heart goes out to those people. But we can’t let it stop here. When the media coverage dies down, it can’t stop here. Because PTSD won’t stop here.
*steps down off soapbox*