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2018 January 10 - 16 TOP3 [SDF]

1 in 6 South Sudan-dispatched SDF members suffered from insomnia

January 15, 2018
One out of six Ground Self-Defense Force personnel during their PKO missions in South Sudan in 2016 sought medical treatment for psychological distress at a medical room in the GSDF camp there.

This was revealed on January 13 based on internal documents obtained by a group of lawyers through access to official information.

The documents describe medical consultations with GSDF peacekeepers in South Sudan between May and December 2016.

According to the document, no personnel had emotional or behavioral problems until July 7 following their arrival in the country on May 22. However, right around the week of July 10-16 when a local battle intensified, the number of personnel who became emotionally ill jumped. Many of them complained of insomnia. One in six of all the 350 members on the South Sudan PKO assignment suffered from insomnia symptoms for more than two consecutive weeks.

Reportedly, a GSDF member after returning home said, "I realized that I might be killed or have to kill someone at any moment."

A former executive of the SDF health department suggested a relationship between mental disturbances among the dispatched members and the escalating local war.

The ex-SDF official in an Akahata interview said, "One in six personnel suffered mental disorders. If this was the case in a commercial company, it would be a big problem. Tremendous strain and constant fear in South Sudan may have caused them to suffer from sleeplessness. They obviously experienced intense fear of being killed there. I'm worried that the number of PTSD-related suicides among the returned personnel may increase."

Past related articles:
> Cover-up of PTSD among SDF peacekeepers unacceptable [June 18, 2017]
> Returned personnel may suffer from PTSD [April 20, 2017]
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