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National Guard troops adding stress management to training
Wyoming National Guard troops have been visible across the state in recent years to help communities manage flooding. These troops worked last year in Baggs. Wyoming National Guard photo

National Guard troops adding stress management to training

Sep 4, 2012 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming Army National Guard is arming its troops with a new weapon: a skills set to cope with the stresses of military life.

According to media reports, suicides in the Army have outnumbered combat deaths this year. That statistic serves as a stirring reminder of the importance of not only post-traumatic support but of proper mental and emotional conditioning, said Lt. Col. Samuel E. House of the Wyoming Guard.

"Military suicides have long been an issue within the military," House said. "The idea behind resilience training is to minimize that -- as well as address other issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder."

The Army has offered resilience training, formerly called "battle-mind training" for several years. But, House said, it was only recently that the Army began to mandate that specific numbers of troops go through it.

Those troops, he said, can then use the lessons they've learned to help other soldiers cope with the day-to-day stresses of military life, such as the disconnect that can sometimes occur between military and civilian life.

"It's designed to look at the cultural aspect of it, not just the combat piece of it," House said. "There are just as many suicides among those who have deployed versus those who have not deployed."

It's not uncommon for soldiers to assume a pessimistic disposition, whether it's due to the violence they witness overseas or whether they're coping with being separated from family and loved ones, House said.

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