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Group 1
Mental strength is important in preserving the mental health and the well being of the US army. This article by Benedict Carey shows us how psychology will be used to increase mental toughness and prevent mental health problems such as depression and PTSD. It also talks about training soldiers to think optimistically and resiliently so they are capable of managing their stress and dealing with their problems which arise from being enlisted in the army. Specifically, this article deals with cognitive level of analysis of psychology as wells as abnormal psychology, and possibly health psychology because “the methods [they use] seek to defuse or expose common habits of thinking and flawed beliefs that can lead to anger and frustration” (Carey, 2009). This is cognitive because ultimate goal of this training is to improve the mental strength and teach the soldiers how to think positively in face of trauma.
Some concepts introduced in this article include post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, resiliency, and mental health in general. Post-traumatic stress disorder occurs when a person experiences a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury and death which eventually causes them to react a certain way to everyday events. Depression can eventually lead to negative thinking and a depreciation of self-worth, which can in turn lead to suicides, a rising problem in the military. Resiliency deals with a person’s ability to recover after a difficult event and is essential in protecting the wellbeing of soldiers. Mental health refers to positive thinking in the event of a trauma or otherwise difficult situation and strong mental health is beneficial in the army.
This article focuses on the US Army and their family members. Although the army consists of both male and female, the article is more relevant to issues of the male soldiers. These esteemed members of the society are often exposed to situations that jeopardize their mental health. These “difficult situations” are usually constant deployments to foreign countries combat situations and the deaths of fellow comrades. Experts have also stated that “the mental effects of repeated deployments — rising suicide rates in the Army, mild traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress — had convinced commanders “that we need a program that gives soldiers and their families better ways to cope.”” (Carey, 2009) And thus, work and time has been spent into developing a new program to help these soldiers.
Despite the many positive reactions to this new program, mental training in soldiers is more of an experiment than anything else but it will allow them to be stronger thinkers and gain mental strength. This is especially useful in difficult times so that soldiers can train their minds into becoming more immune to mental disorders. Basically, this program is a preventative measure against mental illnesses as opposed to a curative one. The success of this program isn’t guaranteed. In fact, the people working on it are not sure if it will solve the problem or even affect it at all. Seeing if the soldiers will open up will alone take at least one year, meaning that the effects of the actual training itself will not be evident for many more years. However, progress will be constantly monitored through questionnaires to assess the mental health of soldiers. If this program has worked to mitigate stress for teens and children, then perhaps its effect will be just as impressive among the US Army.
Carey, B. (2009,August 17th) Mental Stress Training Is Planned for U.S. Soldiers. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/18/health/18psych.html?_r=1



Group 2

Mental Stress Training Is Planned for U.S. Soldiers

When returning from battle, some soldiers experience stress, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, and may even turn to suicide. The US army has developed a program for all its soldiers in hope to diminish these problems, as stated in the article Mental Stress Training Is Planned for U.S. Soldiers by Benedict Carey “2009”. They are expected to take a 90 minute class once a week that is modeled off of techniques that are used in Middle Schools. Although the program seems very much needed, many of the sergeants thought it was too “touchy- feely” (Carey 2009).
Rising suicide rates in the army, mild traumatic brain injuries, and PTSD were all factors that convinced soldiers that they needed the program to give “soldiers and their families better ways to cope” (Carey 2009). The program’s techniques are used to “defuse common habits of thinking and flawed beliefs that can lead to anger and frustration” (Carey 2009), for example, the tendency to assume the worst. Psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania found that the techniques reduce mental distress in children and teens. People can manage stress by thinking of their psychological strengths; the program was meant to teach the soldiers how to manage their emotions and find ways to cope with stressful situations. .
This program reflects cognitive psychology in that the soldiers are taught how to deal with their emotions and thoughts. It also reflects abnormal psychology, considering that many soldiers come away with disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder. As many soldiers had to react with suicide, the program now helps prevent possible suicidal ideation. However, this represents an ethical conflict as there is much debate over whether suicide should be forbidden. At $117 dollars, the program and its techniques have helped middle school students cope with stress. However, it hasn’t been proven that the program ensures that soldiers will respond in ways that will make them more resilient.



Reference:
Carey, B (August 17, 2009). Mental Stress Is Planned for U.S. Soldiers. Retrieved August 21, 2009, from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/18/health/18psych.html?_r=3&hp






Group 3
The article on Mental Stress Training Planned for US Soldiers by Benedict Carey is related to psychology because it is about how the military is training their soldiers on how to deal with mental stress. They are hoping to reduce stress-related symptoms and depression caused by military deployments through preventative action of training soldiers in positive thinking and other psychological implements. The article applies to both the cognitive and abnormal aspects of psychology. The article states that “about one-fifth of troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq” are afflicted with “health problems including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide”. The depression and suicidal effects are related to the cognitive aspect as they affect how an individual’s thought processes and the post-traumatic stress disorder relates to the abnormal aspect as it is a disorder and a problematic psychological issue.

Being part of the military, a non-emotional sector some soldiers feel that the topic of these psychology sessions are to “touchy-feely” and considered a possible sign of weakness. Others feel that the program is “desperately needed” and is a better coping mechanism for soldiers and their families. These weekly sessions are a more preventative approach to reducing psychological problems among soldiers. The hope is that the sessions will reduce ill-affects but the military, after conducting internal reviews, will not reveal the results of the process to outside sources.

APA source:
Carey, B. (2009, August 17th). Mental Stress Training is Planned for U.S. Soldiers. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/18/health/18psych.html?_r=3&hp