Army is family counselling

Army is family counselling

Army is family counselling

Indian Army hi­res marriage counsellors to so­lve marital discords involving young and mid-career officers and men, so that they do not suc­cumb to psychological st­ress while deployed on the field.

Deposing before a parliamentary committee, Army officers said marital discords are one of the major causes of stress amongst troops, and marriage counsellors were hired at station level and paid from the station welfare fund for the service they rendered.

Government hospitals and institutions are not the only source for such counsellors. “Formations have been advised to seek the help of non-governmental organisation or trusts, subject to necessary clearance and verification,” the officers informed the Committee on Empowerment of Women, which tabled its report in the Parliament on Friday.

Free legal counselling and aid was being sought and provided by the NGOs and voluntary trusts, the report said.

Though the panel did not establish a formal link between rising level of suicide and stress in the armed forces, the report comes days after the government pointed out that almost every year in the last decade, close to 100 Army men committed suicide.

The count was the lowest in 2005 (77) and highest in 2006 (129).

“The possible causative factors for soldiers committing suicide/fratricide are stress, personal problems and financial problems,” Defence Minister A K Antony stated.

More than 100 officers and men committed suicide every year since 2006 barring 2009 when 96 officers and men took their lives. Till May 2012, the suicide toll is 26. Compared to Army, suicide rates are far less in the Indian Air Force – on an average 20 each year – and Navy, where it is the least.

The suicide cases are in addition to regular instances of fratricide, which too is the maximum in the Army.

All the three services have trained psychological counsellors to help the service personnel manage stress, which is factored in while planning deployment of personnel for counter-insurgency operations. With inadequacy in accommodation being a prime reasons behind marital discord, the defence ministry is building thousands of houses for accommodating married defence personnel.