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From the much-referenced and highly acclaimed Textbooks of Military Medicine series, Military Psychiatry: Preparing in Peace for War addresses the multiple mental health services provided by the military during peacetime. Although military psychiatrists and other mental health professionals must view soldiers as they function within the larger organization and contribute to, or detract from, success of the combat mission, we must remember that soldiers and their families are also subject to mental and emotional stresses during peacetime. Contents include: Morale and Cohesion in Military Psychiatry; Military Families and Combat Readiness; Burnout in Military Personnel; Psychiatric Aspects of Diseases in Military Personnel; Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Dependence; Homicide and Suicide in the Military; Ethical Issues in Combat Psychiatry; Ethical Challenges for the Psychiatrist During the Vietnam Conflict; Psychiatric Consultation to Command; Psychiatric Support for Commanders; Educating Mental Health Workers; A Model Combat Psychiatry Training Program for Division Personnel; From Combat to Community Psychiatry; Military Psychiatry and Disasters; Military Psychiatry and Refugees; Military Psychiatry and Terrorism; Military Psychiatry and Hostage Negotiation; Psychiatric Effects of Disaster in the Military Community. Some topics covered include: Dover AFB Mortuary; Gander Air Disaster; Morale; Vietnam; Combat Stress and Fatigue; PTSD; Burnout; Work in Disasters and with Refugees; terrorism; Cuban Mariel Boat People; Hostage Negotiations; Fort Chaffee; Military Draft; Conscription; Murder Suicide; Suicide; Rescue Operations; Substance Abuse; much more.
The U.S. Army’s mental health services’ peacetime roles include but are not limited to supporting soldiers and commanders as they participate in rescue missions with combat potential as occurred in Grenada and Somalia, peace-keeping roles as in the Sinai and Macedonia, combating terrorists and hostage takers, interdiction of traffickers in drugs and illegal aliens, providing assistance in handling large influxes of refugees, assisting civilian officials in the aftermath of large-scale civilian disturbances such as rioting and environmental disasters, and assistance following certain stressful human experiences such as accidents and deaths. What is not always recognized is that soldiers’ families also require the services of military mental health professionals during these operations.
The principles of military psychiatry that have proven successful in managing combat stress have been successfully adapted to noncombat settings. For example, mental health professionals and commanders use these principles —centrality, proximity, immediacy, simplicity, expectancy — to enable soldiers to use their own strengths to recognize that anxiety is a normal, not a pathological phenomenon, and that recovery is not only possible but also expected. The soldier’s treatment is enhanced by the mental health professional’s intense familiarity with the soldier’s unit. Avoiding hospitalization and keeping soldiers in geographic proximity to their own units enable the soldier to return to work rapidly, with follow-up at the working level rather than the clinic.