WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army, in an effort to improve combat performance and stave off post-traumatic stress disorder, plans emotional resiliency training, officials said.
The $117 million program is an effort to transform a military culture that has generally considered talk of emotions to be so much hand-holding, a sign of weakness, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the U.S Army's chief of staff told The New York Times in an interview.
"I'm still not sure that our culture is ready to accept this," Casey told the Times. "That's what I worry about most."
The new program is to be introduced at two bases in October and phased in gradually, starting in basic training, but officials plan to require all 1.1 million of soldiers to take intensive training in emotional resiliency.
The program, designed to help people cope better with stressful conditions, is usually taught in weekly 90-minute classes. It seeks to defuse or expose common habits of thinking and flawed beliefs that may develop into anger, frustration and a tendency to assume the worst -- such as, "My wife didn't answer the phone; she must be with someone else."
Army officials said it is hoped the program will help head off mental health problems, including depression, PTSD and suicide that plague about one-fifth of troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.