DefMin Fifor: Time to take step further in psychological assistance to Romanian Army

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Minister of National Defense Mihai Fifor said on Tuesday that there is an urgent need to take a step further in the psychological assistance to the Romanian Army, adding that, very probably, a new concept in the field will be presented by early March.

“I was asked by a lot of people if (…) today’s activity is related to the events of the last period and my answer was: definitely not! (…) Since the autumn of last year I have really wanted to have this discussion with you to find solutions and to take a step further in terms of the psychological assistance to the Romanian Army (…) In the meantime, an unfortunate event occurred (…) Sometimes such things happen and thus alarm signals are sounded and thus it is imperatively necessary that we find solutions, and I repeat, to take a step forward. I say this because I would never want to leave to be understood that the Romanian Army does not have psychological assistance (…) that in the Romanian Army there are no professional psychologists and that you have not done the job properly, (…) but it is time to take a step further. And we have to do it together,” the minister said during a meeting with psychologists in the Romanian Army.

He added that the premises of a new approach in the field had already been created, starting from the experience of more advanced states, giving the example of Canada.

“We did not stand with our hands crossed (…) in October we started the dialogue for the first time with Canadian colleagues. In fact, in September, at Invictus, I had the joy of talking to the Canadian defense minister. There, at the opening of the Invictus Games, there was a lot of emphasis on those affected by post-traumatic stress syndrome. There were many Invictus competitors who participated there with this problem and not necessarily, I know, being mutilated, physically affected. Then I realized that the post-traumatic stress syndrome is treated differently and viewed differently by the other armies, which have, unfortunately, more experience in theatres of operation. Returned to the country, I wanted to discuss this as much in detail as possible, to see how to build a new concept. The Canadian colleagues have been open to supporting us. I asked Colonel Marineanu to present a concept quickly, in partnership with the Canadians. He will go there with a team from us, so, I say, somewhere in early March, we can publicly present this concept in terms of resettling psychological assistance to the Romanian Army,” Fifor mentioned.

The Defense Minister also spoke about the perspectives of a national centre in the field.

“I have not spoken in vain about a national centre of operational psychology, if the term does not correspond we will put it together, but the point is this is what I want us to do and for that I have wanted us to meet today, here, to have an open dialogue,” explained Mihai Fifor.

Photo: Petrica Mihalache, www.mapn.ro