The Army Brings Visibility to Invisible Wounds

The U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) oversees Army Medicine and the U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command (WTC) which provides support and services for wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, Veterans, Families, and Caregivers, some of who face behavioral health challenges.

By Alli Kartachak, WTC Stratcom
For many wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers returning home after deployment, readjusting and successfully transitioning back into life at home is a major challenge. Some find themselves navigating a completely new path with changed physical circumstances, like an amputated limb, paralysis, or severe burns. Others battle the “invisible wounds” from deployment, or behavioral health issues.

Although those tackling invisible wounds may not appear to require as much assistance as their counterparts with physical injuries, they are facing real challenges that require real treatment. Learning to cope with these challenges is the first step of an emotional and life-changing transition process.

Behavioral health issues in the Army include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), substance abuse, and depression, to name a few. The Army recognizes the importance of addressing these “invisible wounds” and provides a significant means of support for Soldiers, Veterans, Families, and Caregivers, presenting them with an abundance of resources for coping with related challenges.

Widespread educational awareness and prevention are the Army’s key initiatives to support behavioral health throughout the force. Examples include:

  • DOD Family and Civilian Suicide Prevention Training, a mandatory annual training which aims to educate this population
  • Army Behavioral Health website, a resource for anyone who wants to learn more about behavioral health issues
  • Army and Military OneSource, DOD websites that offer helpful services to military and Army personnel, regardless of geographical location
  • Resiliency, Comprehensive Soldier Fitness

Additionally, at each Warrior Transition Unit (WTU), trained professionals work to provide support and services for wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers while they recover. Soldiers in each WTU are supported by a Triad of Care consisting of a primary care manager, a nurse case manager, and a squad leader, who work together with an interdisciplinary team of medical and nonmedical professionals to address the Soldier’s full range of injuries. Each Soldier works through his or her customized plan to set and reach personal goals based on medical condition and treatment requirements. Those battling behavioral health challenges can customize this plan to accomplish goals relevant to overcoming the associated obstacles.

Do you have any questions about behavioral health related to Army warrior care? For more information or to find out how you can help a Soldier or Veteran in need, visit http://www.behavioralhealth.army.mil/index.cfm.

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Warriors in Transition can submit a blog by e-mailing WarriorCareCommunications [at] conus.army.mil.