By Addie Goss
Laramie, WY – The Wyoming National Guard will soon make a new hire: a Director of Psychological Health. The National Guard is placing one of these people in every state. Their job will be to build a network of mental health providers for soldiers and to track local demographics on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. The Director of Psychological Health for the entire National Guard, Joan Hunter, says this effort is aimed at supporting Guardsmen in the transition from war to civilian life. "I think it's important to recognize that the Guard, which is different from active duty, are civilian soldiers. And when they return home, they return home to their civilian jobs and their communities," she says.
Hunter says that means Guardsmen don't always have the same support network at home as those on active duty. Hunter says mental health problems are common throughout the military. A recent study from the RAND Corporation found about 19 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan experience PTSD or depression. The study found only about a quarter of those soldiers who need help get adequate treatment.