Caught between work and home needs, troops highly stressed


Jammu : Soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir are faced with high levels of combat stress as they find it tough to balance their occupational and domestic needs, experts said at a seminar here, stressing on a holistic approach to deal with stress.

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This stress, which is higher in Kashmir due to the conflict situation, calls for better attention, especially since as many as 20 soldiers have committed suicide this year alone. Besides, there were at least three cases where soldiers have shot either their colleagues or seniors, experts noted.

At a seminar here Saturday on “Combat Stress and Life Style Diseases”, army officers felt that a holistic approach was needed to manage stress among soldiers, and called for detecting signs of stress early so that problems could be avoided in the future.

The event was organised by 166 Military Hospital, Satwari, near Jammu, under the aegis of 9 Corps Headquarters.

Brigadier K.R. Salgotra, an expert on dealing with stress-related diseases, spoke about the stress a soldier faces while balancing his needs in occupational and domestic spheres.

He highlighted the nature of additional stress a soldier faces of being part of counter-insurgency operations, as opposed to civilians.

Maj. Gen Sanjeev Loomba, general officer commanding of 26 Infantry Division, also dwelt at length on combat stress.

He said: “Though the psychological needs of a soldier were not considered much in the past, but of late an awareness about combat stress disorders has resulted in a holistic approach at all levels to deal with the growing need of psychological well-being.”

He called for “joint efforts at all levels to fight the menace of combat stress and lifestyle diseases in order to have a fit and fighting army”.

Brig S.S. Jaitawat of 9 Corps gave an overview of stress affecting an individual, with specific reference to defence personnel. He pointed out the ways in which stress affects a person’s behaviour. Jaitawat also suggested some simple measures for reducing and coping with stress, like exercise, entertainment, counselling and yoga.