By Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of Installation Management CommandApril 5, 2011
ARLINGTON, Va. - In this unprecedented era of persistent conflict, the risk for substance abuse among our Soldiers and their Families has never been greater.
As I have often stated, the Army will not break because of our Soldiers, they are indeed the finest force in the world; however, the Army is at risk as a result of the stress the past ten years of conflict has placed on our Soldiers and their Families.
The stress on our Soldiers and Families is often manifested in new or growing social problems. Multiple, extended deployments with too little dwell time at home strains relationships with loved ones. Partners and children face difficulty adjusting to new family dynamics as their Soldiers depart for and return from deployments. Many warriors have difficulty transitioning from the battle field to the home front and life post-deployment.
The unfortunate reality is that some Soldiers and Family members turn to alcohol and drugs to help them cope.
The Army implemented the Army Substance Abuse Program to enhance mission readiness through helping Soldiers cope with stress by means other than alcohol or other drugs. The program focuses on prevention, identification, intervention, and treatment of high-risk behaviors to enable Soldiers, their Families, and Civilians achieve and sustain balance - and resiliency - in their lives.
We've come a long way in helping our Soldiers become more resilient, both on the battlefield and on the home front. Thanks to the efforts of our dedicated employees, we are continually improving, but we must do better.
The Army currently faces a critical shortage of counseling psychologists, social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists, and licensed professional counselors to help our heroes heal. In fact, garrisons and installations are struggling to accommodate the thousands of Soldiers every month as they transition from the battlefield to post-deployment life at home.
As the stigma of seeking treatment has decreased, an increasing number of Soldiers and Family members are seeking help in making a successful transition. However, the number of qualified professionals entering the field has not grown to meet the need.
The Installation Management Command is seeking to expand the ASAP workforce so we can offer a wider variety of services, provide more intensive treatment over longer periods of time, and explore alternative prevention and treatment techniques. Now more than ever the Army needs Civilians to step up and lend a hand to those who have sacrificed so much to defend our freedom. IMCOM is enlisting the aid of Civilians through several measures to address the needs of our Active Duty, Reserve, and Guard Soldiers, Retirees, and their Family members.
As an incentive to join the Army ASAP team, we are joining hands with universities across the Nation to support post-graduate education by offering exciting new opportunities, such as the new Clinical Internship Program, tuition reimbursement, salary and supervision towards licensure, and hiring, relocation and retention bonuses.
In addition, the Army is expediting the hiring process to get qualified candidates on board faster. The Army also offers competitive benefits and advantages, including life and health insurance plans; 13 paid vacation days with the ability to increase to 26 per year; 10 paid holidays and retirement benefits including a 401(k)-type government matching program. But most importantly, an ASAP counselor will serve our country, help our heroes heal and build the strength of our Nation, our Soldiers and their Families.
If you or anyone you know is interested in making a difference in a Soldier's life, please go to http://www.usajobs.gov/ or http://www.armycivilianservice.com/ and apply for job series 0180 and 0185. Or call toll free 1-877-880-2184 for more information.
For more information about ASAP and IMCOM, please visit us online:
Our promise is to ensure no Army Family has to face the challenges of dealing with substance abuse alone. I encourage you to join our team and Help a Hero Heal.