Naval Psychiatrist to Address Stress in the Military

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Margaret Lutz | mlutz@csusm.edu

Examining the prevalence of occupational stress among today's Sailors and Marines, US Navy Psychiatrist Captain Paul S. Hammer, MD will present his talk titled Stress: The Ancient History of a Modern Problem on Tuesday, November 9 at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) as part of the university's Arts & Lectures event, Honoring Our Veterans. Preceding his presentation, Operation Art, the university's second annual exhibit honoring veterans, will be on display at 6 p.m.

As a naval psychiatrist, Capt. Hammer has extensive experience leading mental health interventions and working with survivors of turbulent events such as natural disasters, military mishaps, and combat service. His work and treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) helps survivors integrate their experiences into "normal" life. In 2006 and 2007 while deployed on his second tour in Iraq with a medical battalion, Capt. Hammer oversaw and coordinated mental health care for 23,000 Marines and Sailors in a 50,000 square mile area of western Iraq. Currently, Capt. Hammer is the Director of the Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control in San Diego, California, which is responsible for developing programs to improve the psychological health of naval personnel and their families.

Today, more than 400,000 veterans are receiving compensation benefits for PTSD, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Of those nearly 400,000 veterans treated at VA facilities for PTSD in 2009, nearly 70,000, or 19 percent, were recent veterans of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Even with such staggering numbers, Capt. Hammer adds that PTSD and other mental health stressors for service members are not just felt when in combat. Emotional stress, physical stress, and the day-to-day stress of an overwhelming mission can contribute to operational stress on any deployment, even in instances of humanitarian aid missions. Stressors are especially heightened when military personnel are separated from family members.

In his talk titled Stress: The Ancient History of a Modern Problem, Capt. Hammer will address the growing psychological health concerns among today's Sailors and Marines.

During the scheduled 6 p.m. welcome reception, Operation Art, an exhibit honoring veterans and their courageous service, will be on display. This second annual art exhibition hosted by the CSUSM Arts Association includes artwork ranging from photographs, paintings, sculptures, installation pieces, sketches, to memorabilia.

Capt. Hammer's talk, which begins at 7 p.m., is part of the university's fall Arts & Lectures series and is co-sponsored by the CSUSM Veteran's Center and USUAB Clarke Activities Team. Admission is free and open to the community. For more information about CSUSM Arts & Lectures events, call (760) 750-8889 or visit www.csusm.edu/al.

Who: Captain Paul S. Hammer, MD, Medical Corps, USN; Director of the Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control in San Diego, California

What: Talk: Stress: The Ancient History of a Modern Problem, and Operation Art, 2nd annual CSUSM Art Exhibit Honoring Veterans

When: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - Welcome Reception at 6 p.m., Presentation at 7 p.m.

Where: California State University San Marcos - The M. Gordon Clarke Field House, Rm. 113

About California State University San Marcos
California State University San Marcos combines the ambiance of a mid-sized, personal, modern campus with the unequaled value of the California State University. Since its founding in 1989, the campus has distinguished itself. Students benefit from the latest facilities and equipment, a superb faculty that enjoys teaching, and a rigorous academic program that prepares students for a successful life in and out of the workplace. A recent survey reported that our annual spending in the region was $161 million, generating a total impact of $307 million on the regional economy. 85 percent of CSUSM's alumni stay in the region. CSU San Marcos is located on a 304-acre hillside overlooking the city of San Marcos. It is 15 miles east of the ocean; just 30 miles north of downtown San Diego.