One moment that will forever be etched in my memory is when I cared for a soldier who had been through traumatic events. The soldier’s older brother was struggling with PTSD, and the family was going through an emotional upheaval. I spoke with the parents multiple times to understand their concerns and offer assistance. As I worked with the family, I felt a deep sense of compassion for them.
In such situations, we often use psychoeducation to explain to families about PTSD and the tools they can use to help themselves and their loved ones. The soldier himself also needed support, and after just a few days of talking with me, he improved significantly, bringing immense relief to his family.
One of the biggest challenges I currently face is the sudden shift from working closely with soldiers in the army to returning to other responsibilities at the hospital. On top of that, I am preparing for my final exams in psychiatry, which have been squeezed into a very short period due to my reserve duty obligations.
Our current understanding of treating combat stress and trauma is limited compared to our experience providing care for people who have experienced long-term trauma. Research on this subject is scarce, making it difficult for us to provide effective first aid in such cases.
If there were one thing I could improve about mental health services for soldiers today, it would be ensuring that mental health treatments remain readily available, especially for reservists who need ongoing care after being discharged.
After having worked with soldiers for so long, I have come to appreciate the deep concern among commanders and peers for their mental health well-being. However, this does not detract from their fighting spirit or operational activity.
I believe that more open discussions about the complex situations soldiers face are necessary, as well as an increased supply of mental health services. It’s important to remember that when someone joins the reserves, not only do they undergo a significant transition but so does their entire family, which can impact their mental well-being.
In conclusion, it is crucial for society to recognize trauma as a national issue and offer acceptance, containment, and support to soldiers experiencing mental distress. We must work towards increasing accessibility to mental health services for all individuals who continue to suffer from mental disorders due to their service commitment.