One day, while working as a psychiatrist at a military hospital, I was tasked with caring for a soldier who had experienced traumatic events. The soldier’s older brother struggled with PTSD and the family was going through significant emotional upheaval. The parents were understandably concerned about exposing their other son to trauma, and we worked together to address their concerns through psychoeducation.
The experience of caring for this soldier touched me deeply and I felt a strong connection to the family. However, one of the biggest challenges I faced was transitioning from working with soldiers in the army to returning to other duties at the hospital. Additionally, my internship in psychiatry was compressed into a very short period due to being on standby duty.
As we continued our work together, it became clear that there is still much we need to learn about treating combat stress and trauma. While our experience helping people with long-term trauma is extensive, research on first aid in these cases is scarce.
If I could improve one thing about mental health care for soldiers today, it would be ensuring that mental health treatment remains consistent for discharged reservists who require ongoing care. Despite the challenges they have faced during their service, it has become evident that commanders and peers have real concern for their mental well-being after such a long period of combat.
In conclusion, it is essential to increase public awareness of the importance of offering acceptance, restraint and help to soldiers experiencing mental distress. As a nation, we must recognize that trauma is not limited to those directly affected by war but also impacts their families and loved ones. We must continue to provide adequate resources and support for individuals who require mental health services as a result of their service.