The Darker Side of American Military Mental Healthcare—Part Three: Five More Harmful Strategies to Manage Its Mental Health Dilemma

  • Mark C. Russell
  • Shawn R. Schaubel
  • Charles R. Figley
Article

Abstract

As we reported in the previous two articles in this series, the U.S. military has actively attempted to deal with its mental health dilemma by utilizing 10 approaches. These strategies function to help the military avoid learning its war trauma lessons to the contrary, and it appears that their approach is to prevent or reduce mass psychiatric attrition and exorbitant costs associated with psychiatric treatment and disability pensions, to the clear detriment of its fighting force and their families denied adequate mental healthcare. In this final review, we examine the remaining five harmful approaches designed to prevent the so-called evacuation syndromes that the military worries might arise should psychiatric lessons of war ever be implemented, such as eliminating stigma and elevating mental health services on par with medical services. The five avoidance strategies we cover include (6) delay, deception, and delay; (7) faulty diagnosis and “backdoor” discharges; (8) maintaining diffusion of responsibility and unaccountability; (9) provision of inadequate, experimental, or harmful treatment; and (10) perpetuating neglect, indifference, and self-inflicted crises. We conclude our analysis by asserting that the U.S. military has tried every conceivable way to unburden itself from the psychological realities of modern warfare, with the notable exception of actually committing to learning its war trauma lessons and genuinely implementing the required policies for good.

Keywords

Mental health crisis Military Veterans War stress Policy PTSD Parity 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark C. Russell
    • 1
  • Shawn R. Schaubel
    • 1
  • Charles R. Figley
    • 2
  1. 1.Antioch University SeattleSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Tulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA

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