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Military Orders Training to Head Off Mental Health Problems

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U.S. Army soldiers will soon be required to attend training aimed at preventing mental-health problems associated with combat, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, the New York Times reported Aug. 18.

The “emotional-resiliency” training will be mandatory for 1.1 million active-duty soldiers, reservists, and members of the National Guard, and optional for their family members as well as civilian employees of the Army.

The $117-million program is intended to improve combat efficiency but also prevent suicide and break a military culture that sometimes sees talk about emotions as a sign of weakness.

“Psychology has given us this whole language of pathology, so that a soldier in tears after seeing someone killed thinks, 'Something's wrong with me; I have post-traumatic stress,'” said Martin Seligman of Penn State University, who is working on the program with the Army. “The idea here is to give people a new vocabulary, to speak in terms of resilience. Most people who experience trauma don't end up with PTSD; many experience post-traumatic growth.”

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