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Bulletproofing the Psyche: Preventing Mental Health Problems in Our Military and Veterans
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A long time ago, I was a Marine in Vietnam. My war was different from other conflicts these days (e.g., training, equipment, enemy), but much is the same. Warfighters have a job to do: to win, to kill, and to complete the mission. Self-care is not on their to-do list. Not then and not now. But it should be. We had no idea back then how stress could affect your sleep or how you can get better sleep by controlling your stress. Common behaviors such as drinking alcohol or other self-medicating efforts are flawed but sometimes necessary to restore stasis. Let me return to my experiences later. This book is about building resilience in military personnel and veterans. It is an alternative to books that focus on the problems these men and women face or that emphasize the negative consequences of military service in the form of mental illness diagnoses. This book is about hope and about the belief that with effort we are able, all of us, to develop and wear a bulletproof psyche just as we wear a bulletproof vest into battle. We can build up our skills, moral compass, integrating honor, mutual support, trust, and the other tools discussed in this book that better prepare men and women for severe conditions that persist for prolonged periods of time. Kate Hendricks Thomas and David L. Albright know about the need for such skills and resources to enable effective leadership, adaptability, and cre- ativity to get the job done, no matter what. They were able to recruit not only the authors who are scholars, researchers, and practitioners to contribute to this book but also writers who are military veterans, including combat vets. This mixture of voices leads to a harmony of thoughtful creativity and reflection about what is needed to effectively serve as a shield from the hor- rors of war and its immediate and long-lasting consequences. Such a shield would enable veterans to go through the phases of reentry to society and to be effective and loving family members. The aim of this book is consistent with its theme: embracing and quickly managing the s*** by taking advantage of the innovations of the mindful- ness movement and other alternative and complementary behavioral health Foreword