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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid