Whether during deployment, on the home front or after they've separated from the Armed Forces, servicemembers face a number of challenges that are unfamiliar to the civilian population. The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs both offer a number of resources to help the military community overcome these obstacles, and the Army recently consolidated these efforts through the March 12 launch of the website for its Ready and Resilient Campaign.
What is it?
The initiative began with the goal of making it easier for soldiers and their families to reach out for help when they need it. Specifically, organizers hope to help servicemembers improve their physical, emotional and psychological well-being. The program hopes to highlight the importance of integrating resilience training into Army's military education so that troops are better equipped to overcome the myriad obstacles they may encounter during their time in the service.
The recently launched website includes a number of resources that will help the Army reach this goal. On the front page, for instance, users are presented with a list of helpful hotlines that address everything from suicide prevention to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The website also offers transition assistance by providing resources to help soldiers find employment in the civilian realm once they leave the service.
"You can find this information in 500 other different places. But this is supposed to be the one-stop shop for soldiers," said Col. John Sims. "We wanted to make a place where leaders, soldiers and family members could go and find information and quick resources, emergency hotlines, and learn to improve their resiliency."
Why is it necessary?
The website's launch comes after the release of a report detailing the serious issue of mental health in soldiers, specifically post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The report found that the diagnostic criteria for PTSD are often hard to pin down, and some troops who should be diagnosed are not. As it stands now, an estimated 20 percent of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD.
The Ready and Resilient Campaign may also help lower the unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans. While it dropped by more than 2 percentage points in February to 9.4 percent, it still stands above the civilian rate.