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Sunday, July 6, 2008

My military psychiatrist advocated for me: Treatment of mental illness

Ann Breitengross' story:
The military needs to arrive at a consensus concerning proper mental health care for troops. When I received a diagnosis of a mental illness in 2003 prior to an impending deployment, my military psychiatrist advocated for me. Despite my suggesting an alternative assignment to honor the terms of my contract, he recommended a medical discharge, giving me the opportunity to recover and develop the coping skills necessary to live a successful life. Not all military officers are so empathic. Had I been forced to deploy at that time, I know the stresses of being in a war zone would have exacerbated my symptoms, compromising the mission or, worse yet, my own life.

Advice to soldiers:
Most people now know that tough soldiers can get mental illness without being crazy.

Read a story of a tough soldier who has overcome tough psychological issues.

Thanks to Ann for her letter to the editor of Time Magazine, published on June 30.

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