Sunday, August 7, 2016

Jerusalem Post Report: Healing PTSD Lives With Film

Healing Lives With Film on Jerusalem Post covers the use of film to help heal PTSD. In the article they also talk about veterans. Very interesting read since the notion that PTSD, suicide and grieving does not exist in Israel because of strong sense of community. Guess he didn't spend much time in the veterans community where they suffer and heal together.
Junger Thinks Society to Blame When Troops Come Home?
"In his book, Mr. Junger marshals history, psychology, anthropology and statistics to make his case. He suggests that in countries with a strong sense of community, such as Israel, incidence of PTSD is low even though that nation exists in a state of near-constant conflict."

Healing Lives With Film
Jerusalem Post
Judith Siegel-Itzkovich
August 6, 2016

Using video to treat trauma is a “very Israeli project,” said Miri Boker, head of the videotherapy center and an occupational therapist who spoke at the beginning of the five-hour conference. “We did this to embrace our soldiers and bereaved families.” The conference began with a 24-minute film made by Hagai, an IDF medic who participated in Operation Protective Shield in Gaza, and his friend Ariel. Unlike films made by bereaved fathers, they actually wanted their work to be shown, and the movie – Ma Rodef Samal Rishon? (What Pursues a Staff Sergeant?) was presented a few months ago at Docaviv.

They served together in the war, in the Sufa Battalion.

When the battle ended, Ariel bought an old Peugeot, while Hagai purchased a video camera.

One of them is shown living out of his car, even sleeping in it. He moves around the country, returning to scenes near Gaza, cooking vegetables, chicken and ground beef on a camping stove and watching passing sheep. He recalls that “horrible things happened in the war.” He is clearly unable to settle down after the trauma of his buddies’ deaths. In one of the film’s sequences, a soldier is sitting on an armored car. The narrator explains that an IDF physician told the soldiers to wear their bullet-proof vests, but that some ignored his advice. A mortar suddenly lands, killing one of the soldiers. The storyteller was saved because he by chance bent down to reach something. He was saved, but a friend was killed.

“His eyes and mouth were open. I knew he was dead. I felt his last two heartbeats before he died. I tore myself away and put on a vest.”

War, he said, “messes you up. Many guys I know suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. You can’t survive such an experience without getting shell shock.” They dedicate the movie to the memories of Daniel Marash, Liran Adir and Noam Rosenthal, who were killed in action.

“From World War I, shell shock was recognized. At first,” said Ariel, “it was thought it resulted from some chemical in the gunpowder. In later wars, especially Vietnam, it was realized that the problem was psychological trauma.”
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