U.S. Army Creates New Program to Improve Soldier's Mental Health

by Diane Tuazon
NewsWest 9

WEST TEXAS - Being away from those family and friends is tough enough, but for soldiers who are coming home, trying to adjust back to their normal, everyday lives can be the biggest challenge of all.

"No person that comes back from overseas is back to their normal selves immediately," Soldier, Manuel Antonio Hernandez, said.

For many soldiers like Manuel Antonio Hernandez, being on active duty and away from home can really take its toll.

"It's a big change. Especially from leaving your family and not knowing when you'll hear from them. That's probably a bad thing for me," Hernandez said.

Hernandez says much like himself, many soldiers who return from combat aren't themselves, and getting back in the swing of their normal lives can be a challenge.

"Honestly when I got back, I hated being in groups of people. Being in crowded places like this, I just couldn't do it," Hernandez said.

"You're focused on your job and it's very intensive. When you come home, you're still on that mode of being there, so it takes a while to make adjustments, so that's why they have to counsel us," Sergeant John Shipley, said.

Luckily for these soldiers starting in October, the military is working on a new mental stress training progam that targets common habits of negative thinking; habits that can lead to anger and frustration and sometimes even suicide.

"These guys are always on edge. They require a lot of counseling, a lot of mental help treatment to try to get them to cope with everyday life back with family and children," Iva Jo Henslik with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, said.

Some soldiers say this new program is a necessity for troops who are returning home.

"That will be great help for families as well. They already have two dates for us one in October and one in November. We'll have training to integrate back to our home life," Shipley said.

The military wants to train at least 1,500 Sergeants by next summer to teach the new mental stress training program