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Soldiers often encouraged to fake their way through the post-deployment health screening

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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-01-11 03:45 PM
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Soldiers often encouraged to fake their way through the post-deployment health screening
Military facing obstacles to suicide prevention, report says

Military leadership has gone to great lengths to combat the increasingly worrisome suicide epidemic among troops and veterans, but there remain several obstacles preventing a significant reversal, according to a report released Monday by the Center for a New American Security, a Washington-based think tank.

The report, authored by the centers Dr. Margaret Harrell and Nancy Berglass, lists more than a dozen such obstacles and offers suggestions toward overcoming them.

Much of the problem, it indicates, stems from the militarys inability to establish an open flow of information about a servicemembers experiences and potential problems.

From the moment a servicemember returns home, it notes, they are often encouraged to fake their way through the post-deployment health screening. An honest answer to a question about traumatic experiences, one that might prompt further evaluation, could keep them from promptly reuniting with their families. But answering dishonestly makes it more difficult to link future mental health treatment to their military service.

Leaders must stress honesty, the report says.

http://www.stripes.com/blogs/stripes-central/stripes-ce...
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-01-11 03:46 PM
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1. K/R
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-01-11 03:49 PM
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2. "I don't know" is probably the best response--write it in if need be. NT
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-01-11 03:59 PM
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3. It's part of the culture
Honest answers often bring their own form of retribution in the military, from the pre-enlistment signing up process right through discharge and separation. Soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen learn early and often how to give a pleasing answer rather than an honest one, because one path leads to promotions and other rewards while the other leads only to headaches and other penalties. It's a rare bird indeed who sticks to the truth for its own sake.

I don't know if there's a simple answer for post-deployment health screening; it seems a very narrow and specialized area in which to make a very big change from all the other areas of military life. I don't know anything about unit cohesion or esprit de corps or whatever the military calls its system designed to bring disparate individuals together into one group with a sole objective. But a culture that does more to encourage and reward honesty at every stage might be a good beginning.
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