No matter what kind of health assessment form you devise for returning veterans, many, especially reservist, will lie so they can go home.
Service members should not be trusted to fill out health assessments alone. From personal observation, I know many, especially reservists, will lie on any question they suspect could keep them from going home. The health assessment should be administered by a professional who is trained to observe signs of equivocation or outright lies. As things stand now, a soldier with clear symptoms of PTSD or TBI can slip through the system, return to society, and then manifest their disorder some time later causing much damage to relationships and property. The fear that the demobilization station would retain anyone who has certain injuries can be mitigated by assuring the service member he will have an opportunity for homecoming before returning to a Warrior Transition Unit. WTUs have acquired the reputation of being prison-like. (I have lived in two of these and know first hand.) Giving wounded warriors a pass or leave can make the soldier less likely to lie when he realizes he can come back to get help and still get to have a reunion.
Thank you Chaplain. Concur that this is a challenge. I know DOD has tried a number of things to reduce this issue, including mandatory face ot face meetings with a provider. VA has instituted a mandatory screen for new (OIF/OEF) Veterans when they enter the VA medical system for the first time.
Thank you again for taking the time to leave your thoughts with us.
Yep. Active military returns to a base, where there families are, and have days, weeks, or even months after redeployment, to do any health assessment. Reserve & National Guard, return to a base thats 100's or 1000's of miles from their hometown, and family. Then we were told we needed to pass the out processing physical, before we could go home, otherwise we were kept on medical hold, and had to stay on the base. Not so much that the soldier is lying to go home, but in their mind, right after returning from a war, and still going through jet lag, and wanting to see their family, they convince them selves that any problem they have, is trivial and will soon heal.
Its not fair, that reserve component soldiers have a year from the end of their mobilization to show signs or symptoms of these nine infectious diseases, and other issues, Yet an active duty soldier that faced the same exposures while deployed, has until a year after they leave active duty, to show signs, symptoms, and what not. Are their bodies different, that they have different latency times?
Let them go home, and bring them back in for a physical around six months, or so, then again a year or two later.
Another factor, is many soldiers are afraid of being kicked out of the reserves, if they are not deployable. Every effort should be tried to retain them, they can be a huge asset for training.