US Army to teach stressed soldiers to `bounce back`
Washington: Faced with rising rates of suicide and depression, the US Army plans mandatory training for the entire force designed to make soldiers emotionally "resilient”.
With soldiers suffering under the strain of repeated combat tours, Army commanders have launched the unprecedented initiative to help troops better handle stress before it turns into a debilitating mental health crisis, officers said.
Starting October 1, all active-duty, reserve and National Guard soldiers will be required to take a "resiliency" test that will assess their emotional, spiritual and physical state.
"How often do you feel that you lack friendship?" and "How often do you feel left out?" are among the 170 questions.
The effort "seeks to educate soldiers to overcome hardships and adverse events, bounce back, and grow stronger in the process," the Army said in a summary of the "comprehensive soldier fitness programme”.
The soldiers` answers in the test will remain confidential and will have no influence on their careers, said Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum, who is overseeing the programme.
"It is not intended to be a screening tool for anything," she said.
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