Now, I’m not a touchy-feely kind of guy. I’m certainly not a New Age guy. I’m pretty much of the old school “suck it up/walk it off” school.  Back in my day, any hint that you had mental or emotional problems was cause for shunning.

You’ve no doubt seen various news stories in the last year or two that show that mindset is changing, slowly, in the Army.  A great deal of emphasis is being placed on the mental well being of soldiers.

Let’s face it. There aren’t a hell of a lot of jobs that are more stressful than being a combat grunt. Just one day is enough to emotionally drain you. The stress can fatigue you even if you aren’t physically exerting yourself. Add in the stress of repeatedly going on patrols in hostile territory, and it is no surprise that some soldiers have difficulty maintaining the edge, or have trouble fully adjusting when they get home.

The Army has been placing more and more emphasis on mental health for its troops. And one way of reducing the stigma of what has traditionally seen as a sign of weakness is to rebrand mental health as a tool of the warrior, almost a weapon of sorts.

Enter the samuri:

The benefits of Warrior Mind Training, students have told instructors, are impressive: better aim on the shooting range, higher test scores, enhanced ability to handle combat stress and slip back into life at home. No comprehensive studies have been done, though a poll of 25 participants showed 70% said they felt better able to handle stressful situations and 65% had improved self-control.

Read the whole thing. I don’t think they’re all the way there yet, but maybe they are on the right path.

4 thoughts on “Interesting…”

  1. I know a few “old guard” military guys that thought this was crap in 2001. Babying troops in basic was going to “get everybody killed”. I wonder what they think now, after Iraq, Afghanistan, (Obama)….

    Hi, how ya doin’?

  2. Hey, Annie. Good to see you.

    I’m not talking about babying the kids in basic training. I do think that is a bad idea. But there’s a difference between carefully adding stress in training for a reason, and just being a dick to new trainees who haven’t figured out which way is up.

  3. Oh, no, I meant the ex and his friends used to use the word “babying” (that spelling looks goofy? I dunno…) But, these were the same guys that needed intervention in 10/01 because they hadn’t slept for over a month. I bet to this day, they haven’t talked outloud about 9/11 and the friends that they lost. I doubt that their way – of holding stuff in – is good for their “soldering” , either. I suppose it’s a fine line between what’s too “new age” and what’s reasonable good mental health.

  4. That’s why I like that they are rebranding it as another arrow in a warrior’s quiver. The article actually spends a fair amount of time talking about how it helps them during the fighting, as opposed to just coping when they come home.

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