U.S. Army's Wounded Warrior Program Aims for Multifaceted Wellness
April marks the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Army's Wounded Warrior program. While I'd heard of this program and admired the Army's dedication to caring for its own, it was only recently that I learned just how comprehensive and valuable the program is for active soldiers and veterans. Moreover, the program's structure is a stellar example of how we can all achieve wellness, even in the midst of disability or illness.
The Wounded Warrior program was developed as part of the Army's Warrior Care and Transition program - a broad effort to provide individualized support to soldiers and veterans who are wounded, injured, or ill.
You know I'm an advocate for multidimensional wellness (click here to see my first post on this subject). When I read about the range of services the Wounded Warrior program provides, I was thrilled to realize that each of the seven wellness dimensions was addressed:
- Physical - Each wounded warrior receives a full medical evaluation and ongoing treatment and guidance to ensure continuity of care.
- Environmental - The team includes experts in finance who can help wounded warriors complete financial audits of their resources and plan for the future. The team also includes social workers who can help locate Veterans Administration resources and community resources to help the soldier or veteran adapt to life after being wounded.
- Intellectual - The program includes educational opportunities and targeted treatment for traumatic brain injury to help the wounded warrior enhance his or her knowledge and cognitive skills.
- Social - The program is not just for the wounded soldier or veteran; the program treats the whole family as a social unit so that family members can support each other and work together as a team.
- Emotional - The Army recognizes that wounded warriors do not only suffer from physical injuries. The program treats soldiers and veterans who have developed post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, substance abuse problems, or other mental disorders. Anger management treatment is available, and the program focuses on developing resilience and healthy coping skills.
- Vocational - The team includes experts in employment and human resources that supply career guidance and training in readiness for employment.
- Spiritual - Often forgotten in traditional medical treatment, the Wounded Warrior program includes spiritual support by helping wounded warriors complete a spiritual assessment, set goals for spiritual growth, and receive support and guidance from a chaplain or other spiritual leader.
I commend the U.S. Army for honoring its sacred obligation to help its wounded warriors navigate such a challenging transition to life after being wounded. In fact, anyone who has suffered an injury, illness, or disability can take the Army's model and emulate it to create an action plan for life.
U.S. Army. (April 3, 2014). U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program. Stand-to! The official focus of the U.S. Army. http://www.army.mil/standto/archive_2014-04-03/?s_cid=standto