|By Army Staff Sgt. S. Patrick McCollum
Special to American Forces Press Service
|ARLINGTON, Va., May 13, 2009 – Many health issues may arise after a National Guard member returns from a combat deployment. Some wounds are physical and are spotted easily. Others, such as traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, are not as obvious, and may take some time to develop.To help identify these problems, the Army has developed a post-deployment health reassessment, or PDHRA, to evaluate soldiers after they return home.As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, the Army National Guard is calling attention to this program as it proactively screens redeploying Guard members for potential health issues.
“We want to look out after and safeguard every soldier in the Army National Guard,” said Maj. Anthony McGinthy, the PDHRA program manager for the Army National Guard surgeon’s office.
The program gives Guard members a chance to identify problems three to six months after deployment. This window gives them a chance to settle into life and work, and to evaluate their health over that period. If combat-connected health problems arise, soldiers can report it during their PDHRA to become eligible for care.
“This is a way for soldiers to seek care that they need, whether that be behavioral, mental or physical” after deployment, McGinthy said.
The program consists of three parts. First, Guard members see the “Battlemind II” training video, which shows common readjustment issues for veterans. Then they complete a questionnaire detailing their health. After that, they sit down with a trained health care provider for a 45-minute, one-on-one conversation. During that talk, qualified medical professionals ask questions about contact information, deployment location and health history.