Veteran’s Day is this Saturday, November 11th. While it’s great that we all say we support our soldiers and Veterans whether we agree with the wars or not. It’s important that we know how to support the Vets with PTSD.
PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health issue. PTSD can appear in anyone who went through a traumatic event, so it’s not reserved for just Veterans of wars. But, according to this article, written by Sebastion Junger, victims of other traumatic events like rape or assault may actually heal from PTSD quicker. It has to do with the fact that for a victim of rape or assault the trauma they suffered was all bad, they don’t want to retain any of the memories as good. For a combat veteran, it takes longer because their traumatic events are also mixed in with memories of camaraderie and a sense of community.
Being afraid to identify as a victim of PTSD can lead to serious problems. Twenty Veterans commit suicide each day. Twenty. That’s twenty too many. According to an article in the Military Times, the suicide rate among Veterans is 18% of the suicides in the U.S. But Veterans represent only 7% of the population in the U.S. And the rate of female suicide among Veterans is rising faster than men. From 2001 to 2014 the suicide rate among female Veterans rose 85% compared to male Veterans whose rate rose 32% during the same time period. The article also notes that 70% of those that committed suicide were not regularly receiving services from their local VA.
Last year, I wrote The Invisible Scars Hurt The Most about new technology that is available to help with PTSD. It’s amazing to think that there’s an “app for that” but there really is. The VA is trying to bring help to where the patient is and what better way than through the phone. One of those apps, PTSD Coach has been downloaded over 100,000 times in 74 countries.
In 2015, I wrote Help Those Still Suffering and shared how yoga and yoga nidra are helping those with PTSD. There are several programs that focus on training teachers the specialized skill of teaching yoga to those who suffer PTSD. The groups then assist with connecting teachers to those in need. One organization, Connected Warriors teaches in Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Jordan.
If you know a Veteran who is suffering from PTSD, don’t just thank them. Be prepared to listen to them. And please share these resources.
If you know a Veteran in crisis then, please reach out to the Veterans Crisis Line or call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1. You can also text 838255 to receive confidential support. You will receive support (Veterans and their loved ones,) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.