Explained: Mental Health and CRPF

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“We live by chance, we love by choice, we kill by profession” – Officers Training Academy, Chennai.

The armed forces happen to be that community where “josh” is never low. They serve the country, protect us, sacrifice everything including their lives. It is a question of what we do to protect our men and women in uniform?

For years now, mental health is a taboo topic to talk about in the open. Our armed forces are always appreciated for what they do. However, we never talk about how their mental health is getting affected. There’s not much information available on how the continuous change in weather conditions, their traumatic experiences, constant change in their job profiles, their training put through a very young age, and their personal life.

The excessive physical training in the academy prepares cadets to survive and fight in all kinds of environments and deal with situations of unusual nature. However, while physical fitness and strength are very important contributors to self-esteem and by default, emotional wellness, whether these factors are enough to maintain healthy minds is debatable. Not many soldiers are seeking help when it comes to their mental health. Even though they know they need it, they choose to ignore it and try to overcome it independently. However, the challenges faced, the extraordinary situations, the stress of continual need of adjustment to changes, the trauma of war, and anxiety regarding the safety of their loved ones while they are away, inevitably render them vulnerable to a significant amount of distress which they either overcome owing to the phenomenal training, or choose to live with.

Now, there was a recent case that happened. Four personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed and three injured after their colleague opened fire inside a security camp of the paramilitary force in insurgency-hit Sukma district in the Bastar region in Chhattisgarh. The incident took place in the wee hours around 3.15 am on Monday. One of the reports said the constable allegedly tried to turn the gun on himself but was overpowered by those around him.

Granted, seeking psychological help in India is already an issue and a taboo subject but for a profession, this unique and integral to the nation, a facility for mental healthcare needs to be provided, at the very least. With the fear of canceled promotions and reputation in the community, many of our soldiers become unnoticed sufferers of psychological distress and even illnesses. To conclude about the topic, they should be taken care of by providing them necessary facilities for their aid and should be provided economical freedom by employing them on a reasonable salary that can feed their families. People should be motivated to join the forces as it is a proud act towards the country and is a respectable position as a job.

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