Medical Monday: Helping Fellow Soldiers

By Staff Sgt. Meg Krause

When I returned from Iraq, I thought the scariest moments in my life would be those I survived while deployed. Boy was I wrong. It was when I found myself face-down in a mud pit, in the middle of a pigpen in State College, Penn., running from insurgents that I thought were chasing me. This was the realization for me that I hadn’t survived.

I realized I needed help and when I reached out, it came in abundance. I was surprised to discover how supportive my Army Reserve unit was through this process. In fact, it became a bonding experience between my first sergeant and I, who said he was also seeking help. He told me it was the best decision he could have made.

I discovered there is no shame in admitting I was in trouble and needing help. In fact, I earned more respect from seeking treatment and facing my problems head on than I ever had while failing to be the non-commissioned officer (NCO) I wanted to be. Never once was I disciplined for my actions. Instead, my company asked what they could do to help and commended me for being open and honest about my experiences.




Last year, my unit asked me to assist the company commander in leading our suicide stand down because they saw what younger soldiers had gone through, respected me, and thought they would relate to my guidance on such a serious topic. From there, support continued to grow as I gained even more battle buddies in every aspect of my life. Soldiers approached me in the halls or at my aid station thanking me for sharing my story and asking for help with their own struggles.

I am winning the battle with post-traumatic stress disorder and by sharing my story, I am helping others do the same. Our stories need to be shared with anyone who has struggled or may struggle in the future, so they too can get help for the invisible wounds of war. I have witnessed outreach work repeatedly through initiatives like the Real Warriors Campaign, launched by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. I know this campaign is saving lives.

Getting help isn’t a sign of weakness—it’s a sign of strength. Reaching out for care made the difference for me; it made me a more resilient soldier and a better NCO.

Visit www.realwarriors.net for more about Staff Sgt. Krause and to learn about the tools and resources available for service members, veterans and families coping with the invisible wounds of war.

The DCoE Blog features information on psychological health and traumatic brain injury issues as well as personal stories and reflections from people within the military community on these topics.

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  • Lori Cornelison Nelson

    I think it is very brave of you to admit that you are suffering from PTSD, I would like to say that my daughter is proudly serving in the USAF and she is training as a metal health tech. I pray that she will make a difference in someones life.

  • Guest

    I'm really glad that the Army is offering these supportive programs to heal our wounded heroes. God Bless America.

  • Naylork71

    I am glad you took the opportunity to get the help you needed and are now helping others as well. Too few military persons know about the outreach programs and are afraid to use them if they do. God bless you and those you are helping. Thank you for all you have done and are continuing to do.

    • jennifer.cragg

      Thanks for visiting DoDLive.mil and posting your comment. I will share your comment with the author. V/r, Lt. Jennifer Cragg

  • skayfs

    How interesting that just hours earlier I was sent the following from my Airman son, who is unfortunately being considered for an administrative discharge due to 'adjustment disorder' after reaching out for help when he was struggling. This diagnosis was made after ONE short visit with a chaplain, and ONE 20 min visit with a doctor.

  • Kamil Sztalkoper Paqc

    The support provided by these programs, and a unit's chain of command, are a testament of the commitment to our service members and their families for their sacrifices. As leaders we need to remain dedicated to the de-stigmatization of mental health issues and provide the necessary services to our military members and their families.

  • MRS

    I am currently in the Air Force and although I have not had this condition, a young Airman who works under me expressed concern about one of her friends earlier this year. Fortunately, we were able to get them help right as something bad was about to happen. Your story sends a great message to other soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines. Keep doing what you are doing, you are making more of a difference than you think!

  • skayfs

    Again, people should be reminded that this is only one person's story…while I am extremely happy she got the help she needed I also tend to believe she is the exception and not the rule. Too many stories still coming out every day about service members not getting the help they need and deserve, or having it used against them if they do.