By 1st Lt. James Williams IIIMay 30, 2008
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 30, 2008) - Due to its success preparing Soldiers for deployment, the Army has decided to transition Battlemind training from a deployment cycle requirement to standard training Armywide.
"Although Battlemind is in its infancy, it is proving to be effective in theater," said Maj. Todd Yosick, chief of the Battlemind training office at the Army Medical Department Center and School. "Modules are already being developed for basic training."
The Army Medical Department created the Battlemind concept with the specific goals of addressing problems associated with the mental health of Soldiers affected by combat.
One of the Battlemind tools the Army developed is a Web site containing audiovisual training aids and other materials to allow units to conduct their own mental health training. The site also provides training for leaders, healthcare providers, individual Soldiers and family members.
The new Web site features a module that addresses the stigma associated with post traumatic stress disorder; the testimonial of a suicide survivor; and scenario-based animations for younger members of the family.
"A lot of effort has been put into this site," said Ann Ham, a public affairs official for the Office of the Surgeon General and Medical Command. "It's a training and teaching guide, and now the training aids are concise and complete."
The stigma associated with mental health problems is one of the major hurdles the Army must overcome. By providing more training on mental health to Soldiers, the Army hopes to mitigate the stigma and identify personnel that may need assistance.
"The goal isn't to create a bunch of shrinks, but we want to empower squad leaders and buddies to say, 'Hey, are you alright''" Yosick said.
With the recent increase of suicides -- a total of 115 in Fiscal 2007 -- Army medical officials are taking the mental health of Soldiers very seriously. There is an atmosphere of excitement among the Army's leadership, due to the hope of continued success with Battlemind training, said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston
"Battlemind training helps Soldiers adjust their emotions and understand their inner feelings" Preston said.
Now that the Web site is fully functional, all Soldiers can visit the Battlemind Web site at http://www.battlemind.army.mil.