"You can't 'catch the PTSD.'": Warriors share what they want you to know about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Mar. 6, 2017) – To date, an estimated 400,000 service members live with invisible wounds of war, including combat stress, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to a report released by Institute of Medicine in 2014, 47 percent of veterans diagnosed with PTSD in 2013 after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan did not receive treatment. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) believes it is imperative to raise PTSD awareness and offer education in our communities.
“PTSD is a normal reaction to a very bad situation, and no one should be ashamed of suffering and seeking help,” said John Roberts, WWP warrior relations director. “Combat veterans need to know that PTSD does not have to be a lifelong sentence. It can be treated and managed. Life can be better.”
Here are 10 tips for helping warriors who are coping with PTSD:
1. Let veterans determine what they are comfortable talking about, and don’t push.
2. Bring veterans to a quiet place or suggest some deep breathing exercises when the stress seems overwhelming.
3. Encourage creative outlets like writing to help veterans clarify what is bothering them and help them think of solutions.
4. Avoid unhealthy habits as ways to solve problems. Alcohol and drug use make things worse in the long run.
5. Stay aware of your surroundings. Crowds, trash on the side of the road, fireworks, and certain smells can be difficult for veterans coping with PTSD.
6. Be a good listener and don’t say things like “that’s just like when I…” or “I know how you felt.” Everyone’s feelings are unique.
7. Learn about more mental health support resources that ease symptoms of combat stress. www.restorewarriors.org is a website where warriors and their families can find tools on how to work through combat stress and PTSD.
8. Remind warriors they are not alone and many others have personal stories they can share about their readjustment. Talking to other warriors can help them cope.
9. Allow and encourage warriors and their family members to express their feelings and thoughts to those who care about them.
10. Let veterans know that acknowledging they may have PTSD shows they’re strong – not weak.
WWP’s multi-day mental health workshops provide safe, private environments for warriors to express themselves and share their experiences. These gatherings are offered as all-male, all-female, or all-couples, and are often the first time warriors leave their homes to connect with others in their communities.
Through the generous support of donors, WWP offers veterans specialized mental health programs and services – tailored to each warrior's specific needs and free of charge.
To learn and see more about how WWP connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors, visit http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/, and click on multimedia.
Contact: Vesta M. Anderson – Public Relations Specialist
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.