Experts: Many Civilians Scared To Ask For Help
WASHINGTON — A rising number of American troops are being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, but another segment of the population is also dealing with the disorder.
They are civilians who choose to work in war zones.
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America’s current conflicts have placed civilians including federal workers, journalists, relief agency employees and government contractors in harm’s way.
“All the people who are in that war zone for a prolonged period of time absolutely are at risk,” said Dr. Barbara Romberg, a clinical psychologist.
Romberg has created a network of more than 200 mental health experts to help returning veterans receive counselling for PTSD.
She is also hoping to expand the services to civilians.
Experts said that civilians who return from war zones shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if something doesn’t feel right.
“People who have seen the worst don’t like to complain,” said Dr. Jeffrey Jay, a clinical psychologist. “So they tend not to seek help for themselves.”
Jay has studied and treated PTSD for the past four decades.
He said civilians often say fear is a reason they don’t seek help.
“They sort of, like, quietly come here because they don’t want to let their organization know that anything is going on because they’ll lose their position, they’ll lose their pay,” said Jay.
Experts said most people working in Iraq are mainly afraid of suffering physical wounds but that too often, the mental wounds are the hardest to recover from.
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