AROTC Cadre, Green to Gold Cadets, and Mental Health

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by MabryPsyD, May 1, 2015.

  1. MabryPsyD

    MabryPsyD Dr. G.

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    I recently published an article in the Military Review (the Army's academic/professional journal) about the need for behavioral health reform within the ROTC BN's/BDE's. It's a relatively short read, but it lays the ground work for mitigating the retraumatization of cadre and Green to Gold Cadets who transition to a collegiate environment, without adequate behavioral health resources available.

    Take a look. I'd like to hear your opinions.

    "Psychologically Fit to Lead: Behavioral Health Initiatives for the Reserve Officer Training Corps"

    Journal Edition: http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/MilitaryReview/Archives/English/MilitaryReview_20150630_art001.pdf

    Military Review Website: militaryreview.army.mil
     
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  2. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    Excellent article. The only wild card I see is that not all combat experience is the same and while a 6 month decompression time would be overkill for some, it may not be enough for others. The "traveling preacher" idea of a roving Brigade Behavioral Health Officer is a good idea as even if he/she is not on site constantly, it would be hoped that personally knowing the BBHO through the visits would form enough of a bond that a service member would feel safe in making a phone call during a stress time. Actually, a six month cooling off period for any type of instructor that is going to be standing in front of impressionable students is a good idea. When I came home from Vietnam after a tour on riverboats, I was assigned as an instructor at a riverine warfare school. For many months I was jumpy, short tempered, very intolerant of student mistakes, demanding of perfection, and really not a very good instructor. I got a reputation of being a real horse's *** due to my attitude and certainly made the learning process a lot harder for a lot of sailors who deserved better. It took about a year to finally calm down and approach my job with more empathy and maturity. I think a program like you have described would have helped me and a number of my fellow instructors.
     
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  3. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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    I also think the 6 month decompression time is an excellent idea and can be expanded to fit specific needs based on observation. I would also expand the candidates for not just combat to include those who may have witnessed unfortunate training accidents and other tradgedies such as the Fort Hood Shooting.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2015
  4. MabryPsyD

    MabryPsyD Dr. G.

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    I based the 6 month period on several prevalent anxiety and depressive disorders. Typically if a disorder is going to manifest from a traumatic event, symptoms will emerge within the first 6 months.
     
  5. JMS

    JMS Member

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    Great article and good recommendation.
    I wonder if in some circumstances, such as Spud relates above, would an extended transition be as effective as 6 mos 'decompression?' Thus, a future instructor may be 'decompressed' while perhaps at the same time teaching on a 'light duty' schedule, with a mentor, in order to gain confidence in the new role before the stress of a full time assignment or being overwhelmed with the complexities of a new job/work place/team mates all at once. Ya know, like trying to drink from a fire hose.
     
  6. MabryPsyD

    MabryPsyD Dr. G.

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    I think it would be a good idea for people pegged as instructors to PCS to the schoolhouse, but begin as operational support and then matriculate to an instructor position. This "decompression" time would allow instructors to normalize without the demands of teaching. I have nothing to base that opinion; just an anecdotal take. My focus is on ROTC at the moment.
     

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