WASHINGTON -- Few things are more difficult or traumatic for Soldiers than an operational deployment overseas. Even Civilians who work for the Department of the Army are sometimes called to deploy to these operations. Problems that can emerge days or even months after a Soldier or Civilian returns home include traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress, depression, suicide, substance abuse, chemical exposure, and long-term injuries.

The U.S. Army's Deployment Health Assessment Program (DHAP) identifies deployment-related health problems and connects Soldiers and Army Civilians with the right care when needed and ensures that Soldiers are assessed pre and post combat.

"This program is designed to ensure that Soldiers are medically capable of accomplishing our mission," said Master Sgt. Edmondson, NCOIC of R2I and Training Division in the SHARP, Ready & Resilient Directorate. "In addition, for Soldiers who may not be medically capable, DHAP identifies their challenges and provides them with a plan of action to get back into the fight."

Deployment Health Assessments are taken at three critical points -- before deployment, immediately after redeployment, and 90 to 180 days after redeployment. All three involve completing a specific Department of Defense self-assessment form, and includes a one-on-one appointment with a health care provider:

DD Form 2795 -- Pre-Deployment Health Assessment, taken within 120 days before deployment.
DD Form 2796 -- Post-Deployment Health Assessment, taken 30 days before or after redeployment.
DD Form 2900 -- Post-Deployment Health Reassessment, taken 90 to 180 days after redeployment.

Each one-on-one appointment with a health care provider is private and confidential, and is required to validate each DD form. The health care appointment for DD Form 2900 is especially important. It serves as a gateway for the Soldier or DA Civilian to receive care for deployment-related injuries or behavioral problems.

"Take these assessments seriously," Edmondson said. "Sometimes we want to be tough and act as if everything is fine, when in reality there are some challenges that we may need assistance with. Take the assessment seriously so that if assistance is needed, you can receive the help that you need."

Gen. James McConville, Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, has said that his top priority is people.

Edmondson highlighted Gen. McConville's emphasis on people as his top priority -- not just 'Soldiers' -- stating that, "taking this assessment seriously not only helps our Soldiers, it helps our DA Civilians, and it also helps their Families."