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Better care called for men in uniforms
JANUARY 09, 2014 07:01  
Men in uniforms (MIUs) perform their duties with a sense of calling in which they are ready to sacrifice their lives for others. They go to work without being sure about whether they will return home safely. There are many moments in which they cannot take care of themselves while trying to save other people`s lives or assets at sites of military clashes, disasters or accidents. The third annual "Honorable Uniforms" awards for MIUs, jointly established by the Dong-A Ilbo and Channel A, proceeded with incessant applause and cheers. The atmosphere turned solemn when prizes were offered to the bereaved families of police officers and firefighters who were killed on duty. In the worlds of MIUs, one of your colleagues was sacrificed today but it could be you tomorrow.

While the public can sleep comfortably at night, many of MIUs are in difficult situations. Little has been known to the public about MIUs who suffer from severe post-traumatic stress syndromes (PTSS). Some surveys suggest that one of every three police officers and one of seven firefighters have difficulties in leading a normal life due to anxiety, depression, illusion and alcohol use disorder caused by PTSS. Nevertheless, they seldom openly complain about their pain due to concerns over disadvantages in personnel affairs.

There is no center for treatment and research for PTSS suffered MIUs. The government should now institute systemic care for the MIUs by referring to how psychologists, psychiatrists and social welfare workers om advanced countries treat them. That is why the Dong-A Ilbo made five proposals including founding a state-funded trauma center, not making them worry about professional disadvantages, making it mandatory for MIUs to go through PTSS tests, preparing economic a compensation system and taking care of their families.

The Honorable Uniform awards offer the largest cash prizes in the country for MIUs. However, they are never enough. The government and the public should support MIUs with love and sincerity to let MIUs consider their uniforms more honorable.

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