News / Health

Interactive Video Helps US Soldiers With Combat Stress

Interactive Video Helps US Soldiers With Combat Stressi
X
March 09, 2013 2:16 AM
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
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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More