I survived combat in Iraq and a suicide attempt at home. But many veterans aren’t so lucky.

Sometimes, trauma can be more deadly than war itself. But the VA’s existing mental health services are woefully inadequate for a growing problem.

I’m supposed to be a statistic.

On July 14, 2012, drowning in grief and guilt, I tried to kill myself. Like so many veterans, I had found civilian life desperately difficult. War had drained me of joy. The sights, sounds and smells of the battlefield had been relentlessly looping in my head. The suffering seemed endless. And so, thinking there were no other options of escape, I turned to suicide.

Luckily, I survived. I avoided becoming one of the 20 veterans who kill themselves every day in this country. But I also witnessed firsthand all the ways that our nation’s mental health resources fail our fighting men and women. Department of Veterans Affairs facilities and the military simply aren’t equipped to properly treat sick vets. We must do better.  more

Please follow and like us:
error

Military veterans and suicide: How to help before it’s too late

The family of a veteran who took his own life is sharing his story in hopes of saving others.

Ricky Holmes, a United States Marine, was 22-years-old when he committed suicide.

“He grew up in North Providence and West Warwick,” said Ricky’s father, Russ Holmes.

Ricky’s stepmother, Sherry Holmes, described him as a gentle giant.

“He was always so kind to everyone,” Sherry said.

Russ shared similar sentiments.

“He was a happy-go-lucky kid with the whole world in front of him,” said Russ.  more

Please follow and like us:
error

Vets helping vets: Tackling mental health issues, one difficult conversation at a time

You can wave an American flag, put a bumper sticker on your car or tie a yellow ribbon around an old oak tree, but a difficult conversation about mental health with a veteran could actually save a life.

In a divisive time in the United States, almost all politicians and civilians can find common ground when it comes to supporting the troops. Yet, veterans are still dying daily due to a lack of mental health services.

In 2016, 6,079 veterans died by suicide across the country, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Seventy of those deaths occurred n Indiana, and more than half of those veterans were 55 or older.  more

Please follow and like us:
error

Examining Trauma & HEROES IN CRISIS: What is PTSD and How Can a Comic Book Help?

When writer Tom King first introduced the concept of Heroes in Crisis to the public, he framed the story idea around the perception that a whole generation of Americans are dealing with the aftermath of trauma.

“I want to speak about, and to, this New War generation, the millions of people who have fought bravely overseas and have come home to try to return to their normal lives,” King said in a press conference at San Diego Comic Con.

King is a former counterterrorism  operations officer with the CIA who experienced after-effects of his traumatic experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said he wants to use DC heroes to tell the stories of the people who are dealing with the mental effects of trauma. “I want to talk about their hopes, their pains, their triumphs.”  more

Please follow and like us:
error

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Can Be Contagious

PTSD sometimes spreads from trauma victims to the people who care for them, including rescue workers, spouses and even therapists

IN BRIEF

  • When caregivers, rescue workers or family members attend to someone with post-traumatic stress disorder who has suffered a horrible experience, a number of them develop “secondary” PTSD, without themselves having witnessed the traumatic event.
  • Stories of trauma, it seems, can become etched into memory as if they were the hearer’s own experiences. This memory transfer may occur because the brain regions that process real and imagined experiences overlap considerably.
  • The more that caregivers or family members empathize with a victim and the less able they are to maintain emotional distance, the more likely it is that they will experience secondary trauma.  more
Please follow and like us:
error

‘Cry Havoc!’: Onstage ‘Personal Journey’ Portrays Need to Help Vets ‘Un-wire from War’

Army veteran Stephan Wolfert will present “Cry Havoc,” the story of his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder during performances and workshops that begin tonight at Fort Greely and continue into the weekend in Fairbanks. Wolfert’s a classically trained actor who says he found relief from PTSD on stage, especially when performing Shakespeare.

“Now is the winter of our discontent …”

That’s the opening line from Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” the story of the conniver who became King of England after murdering and imprisoning his rivals. It’s not an uplifting story, but Stephan Wolfert says seeing it at a low point in his life helped inspire him to pick up the pieces, turn himself around and tell his story, on stage.

“It’s a personal journey from being in the military, having a horrific experience after the first Gulf War was over – a buddy of mine was killed in training at Fort Irwin, California. I lost it – I can say that now – I didn’t know what was going on,” he said in an interview with New York public-radio member station WSKG.  more

Please follow and like us:
error