More than a decade of war has forced the Army to heed the dangers of mental instability more than ever before, an official with the Army Surgeon General’s office says.
A newfound understanding of the lasting and serious effects of combat-induced conditions such as PTSD has caused commanders to take pause in recent years, says Army Col. Rebecca Porter, chief of the Surgeon General’s Behavioral Health Division. These commanders are now heeding advice from professionals such as Porter who weigh in on decisions to send mentally injured troops back in to harm’s way, she says.
“I’ve had commanders say, ‘Thank you for your input,’ and take the soldier anyway,” Porter said at a breakfast meeting with reporters on Tuesday. She recounted an instance 16 years ago when a commander ignored her advice and deployed a soldier suffering from PTSD, only to return her home after seeing her relapse on deployment.
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