Fort Campbell educates law enforcement on PTSD - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Fort Campbell educates law enforcement on PTSD

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CLARKSVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Studies show more than 40 percent of soldiers showing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder never seek treatment, so Fort Campbell is working to do something about it.

Command Sgt. James Smith, of Fort Campbell's Warrior Transition Battalion, demonstrated the telltale signs of someone suffering from PTSD: fidgeting hands, shortness of breath and withdrawn behavior.

"Some of the things we look for is anxiety, very rapid speaking - almost to the point where they look like they want to get away from you. They can be very antagonistic, they want to fight or they just want to get away," Smith said.

Smith taught a special class Friday for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office on recognizing mental illness, which is a very real situation in the field.

In November 2011, family members of Clarksville resident Jerry Hamilton told Channel 4 News he began showing symptoms of PTSD after witnessing bomb blasts during deployment.

Then, after posting several rants on Facebook, police said Hamilton lunged at officers with knives taped to his fingers before he was forced from his home with tear gas.

According to the PTSD Foundation of America, one in three troops is diagnosed with symptoms of PTSD, but the training now is aimed at far more than just soldiers.

"PTSD does not affect just members of our armed forces. For example, victims of sexual assault - offenses like that can also leave lasting scars on ordinary civilians," said Montgomery County Sheriff's Sgt. John Stone.

Smith said the key to handling someone with PTSD is communicating in a clear, even-toned manner.

"Tell them what you're going to do. I'm going to stand next to you. I'm going to take your driver's license. Let them know beforehand so they don't take a defense right away," he said.

"If we can soften the approach, and de-escalate the environment, our odds of success are going to increase dramatically," Stone said.

If you know a soldier showing symptoms of PTSD, Fort Campbell officials encourage you to contact the Warrior Transition Battalion at 270-412-6540.

For more information, visit: http://www.campbell.amedd.army.mil/warriortransition.html.

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