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Soldiers come forward for mental health care

By: Chris Cheng

FORT HOOD – Over the last five years Fort Hood has seen a dramatic increase in the number of behavioral health cases.

Those cases range from anything from problems sleeping to severe cases of depression and PTSD.

"In ten years of war our soldiers have done a tremendous job but that of course takes its toll, it takes its toll on the soldiers and on the families," Lt. Col. Sharette Gray said.

Lt. Col. Gray is in charge of the Department of Behavior Health and said the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center is averaging 3,000 patient encounters weekly.

"We do see the majority of the soldiers not just one or two tours but three four and occasionally five tours," Lt. Col. Gray said.

Despite the drastic increase Lt. Col. Gray believes this is a positive sign.

"I do think it is a result of more soldiers feeling comfortable, I think the Army has done a great job from the leadership from the top on down to really let the soldiers know that it's ok to get help," Lt. Col. Gray said.

So with more soldiers coming forward Fort Hood has made it a priority to keep up with the influx.

"We're really looking to make sure we have the resources available for soldiers to get the help they need," Lt. Col. Gray said.

One of those resources is the new Embedded Behavioral Health Model which allows a therapist to treat soldiers on the frontlines.

"The biggest focus right now is fielding these behavioral health teams so that every unit has embedded providers in their footprint that can both do some prevention as well as treatment and get ahead of the problem," Lt.

Col. Gray said.

Another, non-traditional, method is the work done at the Warrior Combat Reset Center.

"This is specifically a tool for soldiers who have mixtures of PTSD symptoms and concussions," Dr. Jerry Wesch said.

Dr. Wesch practices a neuro-feedback treatment, where soldiers are connected to a computer by three electrodes on their head.

The treatment helps stimulate brain activity which allows them to progress during therapy talk sessions as well as recover from concussions.

"We hit it at every possible angle and then that because they're synergistic produces amazing effects."

The Warrior Combat Reset Center also uses acupuncture, massage, and meditation as alternative forms of therapy.

Despite being able to help several thousand soldiers, Lt. Col. Gray said the battle is far from over.

"There are some soldiers that may feel uncomfortable or afraid of what may happen or consequences if they seek help so we still have to continuously fight that battle," Lt. Col. Gray said.

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