News / Health

Interactive Video Helps US Soldiers With Combat Stress

Interactive Video Helps US Soldiers With Combat Stressi
X
March 09, 2013
Soldiers around the world who fight in war zones often face similar issues once they return home, including trying to get back to their normal routines. They may have problems readjusting and experience severe anxiety known as post-traumatic stress that can even lead to suicide. Psychological counseling may help, but so may interactive videos designed to help soldiers deal with combat stress. VOA's Deborah Block tells us about a video that s helping some US soldiers who return from war.

Interactive Video Helps US Soldiers With Combat Stress

TEXT SIZE - +
Deborah Block
— Soldiers around the world who fight in war zones often face similar issues once they return home, including trying to get back to their normal routines. They may have problems readjusting and experience severe anxiety known as post-traumatic stress that can even lead to suicide. Psychological counseling may help, but so may interactive videos designed to help soldiers deal with combat stress. One video is helping some US soldiers who return from war.

Army veteran Robert Menendez knows this scenario all too well. This video simulation brings back memories of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I was always having dreams, you know, certain things that happened during deployments, especially my last one, that has to do with other people we may have lost,” he said.

Like the actor in the video, Menendez often felt anxious and angry. He became distant from family and friends.

“So I only told people that I felt comfortable with who had experienced it and may be going through it as well,” he said.

So, a military friend suggested he download this free, interactive video called The War Inside. It dramatizes different scenarios about the challenges of coming home after combat. Menendez identified with a soldier experiencing post-traumatic stress who is trying to understand and control his behavior.

“I think, once I acknowledged that I did have issues, it actually helped me cope with it," said Menendez.

The War Inside is produced by WILL Interactive. Sharon Sloane, the company's founder, said the scenarios are based on real stories.

“I think it’s very important to give someone something that he or she can use in the privacy of their own home when they can really get in touch with their feelings. They give people the opportunity to experiment with choices in what they want to do to handle a situation,” said Sloane.

Those choices are in the form of questions that pop up on the screen during the scenes and users can think about how they would respond. Menendez said, depending on the answer he picks, the outcome will be different.  

“It tells you what could happen and, if you had done something else, what would happen then. I started trying each individual reaction and some outcomes were better than the others,” he said.

The War Inside has been viewed by tens of thousands of soldiers, individually and in groups. It’s an effective tool, said psychiatrist Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, a retired army colonel.

“Sometimes it resonates with their war-time experiences. These are realistic. It brings them back to being in Iraq, but that engages them and draws them in,” said Ritchie.

Even though Menendez still struggles with post-traumatic stress, he said the video has helped him open up to family and friends, and control his anger.

“If somebody invites me somewhere, and I don’t want to go, and they ask me again, I say I don’t want to go. Instead of slamming a door in his face, I’ll just say 'I’m sorry,'” said Menendez.

While no video can erase the trauma of combat, The War Inside is helping ease its lingering effects.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
March 11, 2013 8:48 AM
This could have helped a lot of people who came home after Vietnam.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid