Book Learnin’

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Defense Dept. photo / John J. Kruzel

Dealing with mental ailments caused by military service isn't merely the military's mission, but the entire nation's. Informed articles and books can help achieve that goal.

Military Medicine is the monthly journal of the Association of the Military Surgeons of the United States, and has long been one of my go-to outfits, tackling the difficulties of doing good medicine in austere places.

Its newest issue has a supplement on psychological health and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Assembled by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, it has a number of excellent articles on screening, prevention and treatment on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Substance Abuse Disorder, Depression and TBI. The authors are a mixture of military, civilian and academic authors.

I am very pleased to see this issue, as this type of research and publication is sorely needed. It joins some other excellent publications of DCoE, including their superb pocket handbook on TBI for health care providers.

I will also refer the reader to the Army’s Combat and Operational Behavioral Health volume, published last August by the Surgeon General’s Borden Institute.

Why do I plug these educational materials?

Because there is a critical need for the American public, and especially the nation’s medical and mental-health providers, to treat the veterans of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Screening, treatment, and diagnosis isn’t just an Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force or Department of Veterans Affairs mission. There needs to be a national call to heal the wounds of war, both visible and invisible.