'Stress Camp' Aimed at Bucking Up US Troops

By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2009 2:52 AM CDT
Iraq War combat veteran Dave McBee, who struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, walks with his son through the "Soldier On" veterans homeless shelter in Leeds, Mass., last year.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
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(Newser) – The army has a new plan to fight rampant suicide, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder: a $117 million program to train soldiers in "emotional resiliency."  Beginning in October, all 1.1 million soldiers will receive intensive training aimed at helping them identify and change destructive thinking patterns, reports the New York Times. Some observers and army officers are wary of the program.

Experts caution that the program's techniques have been tested only on children and teenagers, not adults, while sergeants worry the program is too "touchy-feely" to fit a military culture hostile to talking about emotions. But with a fifth of Iraq and Afghanistan vets suffering from mental health problems, commanders "need a program that gives soldiers and their families better ways to cope," said a general.