Reserve medical Airmen learn about PTSD
by Airman 1st Class Madelyn McCullough
446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
6/7/2013 - MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- Anywhere from 11 percent to 20 percent of servicemembers who deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan return with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That includes reservists here, who often transition from a deployed environment to their civilian lives in only a few days time.
To better understand how to help Airmen with PTSD, reservists from the 446th Airlift Wing medical squadrons participated in resiliency training June 1. The Stress of Combat Medicine, presented at the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron auditorium, covered a variety of mental challenges medical professionals may experience while deployed. One of those conditions was PTSD.
"There is a misnomer out there that somehow medical people are given some sort of specialized training that protects them or insulates them from combat trauma and there really isn't," said Ed Hrivnak, a former flight nurse with the 446th AES, who provided the training.
According to Lt. Col. (Dr.) Keith Brown, 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron officer in charge of mental health here, PTSD may stem from experiencing combat directly to driving in a convoy every day.
"In my 20 years being in the military, most of that being in the 446th Airlift Wing, my deployment in 2003 by far was the hardest and most significant thing in my life," said Hrivnak, a published writer and retired Air Force Reserve captain. "But it was also the most rewarding. It's an experience I would not want to give back. I consider it the high-water mark of my military career taking care of those soldiers and bringing them home.
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