Showing posts with label PTSD awareness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PTSD awareness. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

South Korea's "trauma week" filling the void on PTSD

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 19, 2022

This is according to the VA on PTSD Awareness and "8 million"
Help Raise PTSD Awareness There are currently about 8 million people in the United States with PTSD. Even though PTSD treatments work, most people who have PTSD don't get the help they need. June is PTSD Awareness Month. Help us spread the word that effective PTSD treatments are available. Everyone with PTSD—whether they are Veterans or civilian survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events—needs to know that treatments really do work and can lead to a better quality of life.
But on another page from the VA there is this and "12 million"
Facts About How Common PTSD Is
The following statistics are based on the U.S. population:
About 6 out of every 100 people (or 6% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
About 12 million adults in the U.S. have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
Apparently, in December it there were 3 million more, but no idea why they changed the number from "15 million" or can't seem to make up their minds.
If the National Center for PTSD is unaware of their confusing data, that is not a good way to raise awareness of something this important.

The thing is, we are doing a lousy job raising awareness of anything meaningful on helping survivors with PTSD heal. After all, considering the stigma is still keeping people from even admitting they need help, it shows how bad we are at it. 

If you mention PTSD to someone right away, they connect it to veterans. After all, that is all they hear about. Tell them you have PTSD from some other cause, they trivialize it unless they have it too or know someone with it. What do we do? If we manage to get the courage up to say we have it, we choke on answering the next question they have when they want us to explain how we have it. 

Too often what comes next is, they say they know someone who went through the same thing and they are fine. You can tell by the look on their face they are wondering why we are not fine.

If you know what PTSD is and what it does, and learn how much power you have over it, you can stand your ground and explain it to them patiently. If you don't know, then you walk away feeling as if you've just been judged as being weaker than the person they know.

It is time to remember that we're survivors and there is nothing to be ashamed of at all, even if the rest of the country hasn't caught up to the facts we live with.

So how is it that South Korea is doing something all our news stations should be doing?

Arirang News

This week is South Korea's "trauma week"... where mental health experts and survivors of national tragedies gather to raise awareness on how to treat trauma.

Our Shin Ye-eun met some of those traumatized by South Korea's worst disasters, and looks at what is being done to help them recover.

Everyday on the news… we see tragic events wreaking havoc around the world.

But what we don't see are the lasting effects on the people affected.

Many develop trauma.

Trauma is an emotional response to experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event.

While most people recover quite quickly with the help of friends and family... some... develop post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Many people suffering from PTSD develop other mental health problems like depression or anxiety.

"I'm a survivor of the collapse of Sampoong Department Store."

"27 years ago… where I am walking right now, South Korea saw its deadliest building collapse."

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Firefighters don’t just fight fire

Firefighter helps veteran suffering from PTSD episode on airplane
FOX News
Michael Hollan
The firefighter is part of a specially trained support team that helps other firefighters deal with tragedy and PTSD. Capt. Davidson used his training to keep the other veteran calm and the plane was able to land without diverting its course.
Captain Bobby Davidson, who was flying home with his family from vacation, rendered assistance to the passenger and was able to prevent an emergency landing. (Burton Fire District)

Firefighters don’t just fight fire.

The captain of a South Carolina fire department helped calm a fellow airplane passenger down who was in distress. According to reports, the other passenger was a veteran who was suffering from a PTSD crisis.

Captain Bobby Davidson, who was flying home on an American Airlines flight from a family vacation on June 15th, rendered assistance to the passenger and was able to prevent an emergency landing, according to a Facebook post from the Burton Fire District. The firefighter was also able to keep other passengers calm during the ordeal.

The Burton Fire Department confirmed to Fox News that the other passenger is a military veteran and was experiencing a PTSD crisis. While the flight crew was concerned that the plane may need to make an emergency landing, Capt. Davidson stepped in to help.
read more here

Find new posts for PTSD Patrol here

Monday, June 1, 2020

Help raise PTSD HEALING Awareness

Learn how to make a difference

Wounded Times
Cross Posted on PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
June 1, 2020

No matter what you think you know about PTSD, the truth is,  you have a lot more power than you think you do. The problem is, until you learn how to use it, things will still suck!

PTSD Patrol Family Road Trip Guide
We have actually taken a back seat for far too long!

This video was the first one I did on PTSD and Wounded Minds to help you learn more about the difference you can make. Originally it went up in 2006 and was reposted afterwards.

Help Raise PTSD Awareness

National Center for PTSD

There are currently about 8 million people in the United States with PTSD.
Even though PTSD treatments work, most people who have PTSD don't get the help they need. June is PTSD Awareness Month. Help us spread the word that effective PTSD treatments are available. Everyone with PTSD—whether they are Veterans or civilian survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events—needs to know that treatments really do work and can lead to a better quality of life.

Join Us
During PTSD Awareness Month, and throughout the entire year, help raise awareness about the many different PTSD treatment options. You can make a difference in the lives of Veterans and others who have experienced trauma. Everyone can help.
read it here

Sunday, June 30, 2019

PTSD Awareness is watching them fall

Raising PTSD Awareness, hardly working

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 30, 2019

While it seems as if there are more people "raising awareness" on PTSD and suicides, than ever before, we need to recognize that it is hardly working. Once we accept that fact, then maybe we can change the outcome. Until we stop settling for something that is not working, nothing will change.

Back in 2008, I was at an event with the VA. I talked with a couple of mental health professionals, I once admired, until I asked them what they thought of "Battlemind." 

It was a program the DOD was using to get servicemembers to "train their brain" to become mentally tough. The results we astonishingly abysmal.

When they gave me the usual talking points as to why they were spreading the program out as much as possible following the DOD as a guide, I pointed out the results.

The reply from the "professionals" was "it is better than nothing."

Thirty-seven years ago, that answer may have been acceptable, since few knew what was going on with researchers working very hard on finding the best treatments. 

I know because I read their books with a dictionary at the local library month after month with as much free time as I could spend there. It was 1982 and we did not even have computers in our homes.

Now we have cellphones, putting the world in the palms of our hands, but as oblivious as most were back then, it seems to be accepted as trendy now.

I read stuff being shared all over social media and wonder if anyone has really given any of it any thought at all. Do they ever wonder how large the chain of domino knockdown is?

Sure, it is cool to watch stunts like this, but the result is, something that stood up...fell down.
This article sums it all up very well.

Statistics on PTSD in Veterans

U.S. News and World Report
By Elaine K. Howley, Contributor 
June 28, 2019

This article is based on reporting that features expert sources including Freda C. Lewis-Hall, MD, DFAPA; Janina Scarlet, PhD; Rand McClain, DO; Ken Yeager, PhD, LISW

AS GENERAL WILLIAM Tecumseh Sherman famously noted during the Civil War, “War is hell.” It’s hell for civilians caught in the cross-fire and can be hell for the political powers that petition for it. But most especially war can become an exceptionally cruel and lasting hell for the soldiers tasked with waging it.

Once called shell-shock, then Vietnam Veteran’s Disorder, a condition now referred to as post-traumatic stress disorder is common among military personnel who have served, and it, too, is considered a hellish condition by many people who have it. Though PTSD occurs at higher rates among military personnel than the general population, we now understand that it can develop in anyone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.

How Common Is PTSD Among Veterans?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder among veteran varies depending on which conflict a service member was involved with.

About 11 to 20 out of every 100 veterans (or between 11 and 20%) who served in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have PTSD in a given year.

About 12 out of every 100 Gulf War Veterans (or 12%) have PTSD in a given year.

About 15 out of every 100 Vietnam veterans (15%) were currently diagnosed with PTSD when the most recent study of them (the National Vietnam Veteran Readjustment Study) was conducted in the late 1980s. It’s believed that 30% of Vietnam veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.
The article also had this.
These troubling statistics point to another complication of life after war for veterans – a lack of support and connection to others, Yeager says. “The whole idea of the band of brothers is a very real neurophysiological situation. You never feel more alive or more connected with people than you do when you’re in that combat field and I think for many vets combing back who’ve had their neurotransmitters firing at a very high rate, they struggle with ‘how do I find this again? Where can I get this kind of feeling alive?’”
Should you wonder if it is worth it the next time you see something you want to share? Yes! Share what works. Share what is offering hope to those who have lost theirs. Share facts. Share real support. Then maybe we can run the knockdown of dominos in reverse and watch them all stand up. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Conclusion PTSD Awareness Delusion

Well, just like all other years, today began with everyone talking about PTSD Awareness, but as with all the other years, the results SUCK!
The National Center for PTSD promotes awareness of PTSD and effective treatments throughout the year. Starting in 2010, Congress named June 27th PTSD Awareness Day (S. Res. 541). In 2014, the Senate designated the full month of June for National PTSD Awareness (S. Res. 481). Efforts are underway to continue this designation for the fourth consecutive year in 2017.
Why are we still expecting different results from people  "raising awareness" after all these years and this result?

Yes, time to face the facts. 
“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” 
Aldous Huxley
It is time to put the awareness people out of business. Yes, they missed that after all these years, all this money being spent by the government and the public donating billions into "awareness" no one figured out it would be a good idea to help veterans be aware of why they should live.
“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” 
Martin Luther King Jr.
 Reporters missed the massive failure  of the DOD to change their "battle mind" plans to prevent suicide when it got worse just as the number of enlisted forces was reduced. The only thing that proved to be "resilient" was their own ignorance! Mind blowing when you consider they actually admitted their "resilience" training did not work. Seriously? Yes, reporters missed that one too.

When Generals came out and said that "non deployed" were the majority of the suicides, they admitted the training every member of the military had to take, was not even good enough to prevent non-deployed from committing suicide.

But, when we see veterans over the age of 50 being ignored by all of these "efforts" they still face a loaded gun instead of open arms to help them actually find being home more welcoming than being in combat,

but when we see families having to stand next to a coffin, admitting they did not know anything about what was attacking someone they loved,

but when we see friends left behind wondering what they could have done because no one taught them what they needed to know,

but when we see them being turned away when they find the courage to ask for help,

we turn around and wonder why it is all still happening!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Facts, those pesky little details on veterans committing suicide

If I Could Walk Away, I Wouldn't
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 16, 2017

There is so much you have to learn about PTSD, but you won't. Because what is popular, like repeating numbers, keeps putting roadblocks between you and the knowledge that could save your life.
"If I could, I'd protect you from the sadness in your eyes, give you courage in a world of compromise, yes I would If I could. I would teach you all the things I've never learned, and I'd help you cross the bridges that I've burned. Yes I would, if I could. I would try to shield your innocence from time, but the part of life I gave you isn't mine, I've watched you grow so I could let you go if I could. I would help you make it through the hungry years, but I know that I can never cry your tears, but I would if I could."
That is one of songs I am most touched by. It is almost as I have been living in a time machine, repeatedly going back over the last 35 years of my life. Going back to the time when I had to read clinical books at the library with a dictionary to understand what combat did to the man I loved. I've been saying "if I could" as I read all the reports on veterans and suffering from where they've been.

I have a unique seat at the table for this one. To understand my husband and learn enough to help him, it made me a quasi-expert, but living with it made it personal to me as a spouse. We're celebrating wedding anniversary number 33 this month. This year marks my 35th year of trying to get to a point where I could walk away from doing this work so I could just enjoy being "normal" again. 

I never thought I'd still be doing this after all these years. I really thought I'd be able to stop when the internet connected the world and things once trapped in whispers were being shared while searching for answers. Soon, I discovered that within those keystrokes, there was a lot of lies, misdirection, and avoidance of facts.

Facts, those pesky little details that make all the difference in anything worth researching should matter, but folks will fall for whatever they are told. They walk away as if that is all they need to know.

That is what happened when the Department of Veterans Affairs released their report on veterans committing suicide. The headline was "22 a day" but the pesky fact was that number was an average from just 21 states. Reporters avoided the part where that was mentioned, as much as they avoided the fact that we have 50 states, so that number came from less than half the country.

What made it even worse, was they avoided mentioning that within that same report, the largest group of veterans were 65% of the suicides, and they were over the age of 50. You know, the veterans no one thought was worth mentioning.

When the VA put out the follow-up study and had the number at "20 a day" no one thought it was worth mentioning the fact that while the CDC knew how many suicides occurred every year, they did not know how many were veterans, and neither did the VA itself. Yes, one more pesky little fact, is that many states did not have "military service" on their Death Certificates.

States like California, with over 2 million veterans, announced this month they will now start tracking their veterans committing suicide. The San Diego Union Tribune added this in their report, " At least 27 vets under age 45 died by suicide in San Diego County over 18 months." Illinois did not have the ability to track veteran suicides either. In May this was reported by the Chicago Tribune.
Cullerton passed Senate Bill 1693 to allow deceased veterans with military service to include their veteran status, branch of military and the period of time served in the military on their death certificate.
Illinois has over 700,000 veterans, and now you have an idea of how many veterans were not counted. If military service was not on their Death Certificates, then the CDC did not know they were veterans while they did know the manner of death was suicide. The CDC Suicide Report states that there were 42,826 suicides and was the 10th leading cause of deaths. 383,000 more survived and made it to the emergency rooms.

One more pesky little fact is no one is talking about the attempted suicides within the veteran's community, any more than they are mentioning the other fact, that there are higher number of suicides within the military itself. Now you have a better idea of what was known by some thinking this topic was worthy of searching for facts and putting it all together.

All that may give you a better idea of why I find all this "awareness" repulsive. If not then this should really clue you in.

This was when there was very little being done to prevent suicides other than what the VA and established veterans groups were doing. 1999 population of veterans in the US was 26.4 million but in 2015 there were only 21,369,602. And that number was after over a decade of folks talking about suicides, using the word "prevention" along with "awareness" yet, as the VA reports showed, less veterans were alive to learn how they could stay that way.

The last report from the VA put the number at "20 a day" but if you do not see it has gotten worse, then stop pretending to care. I bet since you're reading this, you are thinking "Oh My God!" it is worse. Then again, you'd also probably be aware of the other pesky facts, like all the money spent by Congress as they claim to care and repeat the same stuff that did not work going all the way back to 2007. (yep a decade ago) Or the fact that the Veterans Crisis Line has been taking calls since the same year and has this piece of pesky fact.
"Since its launch in 2007, the Veterans Crisis Line has answered nearly 2.8 million calls and initiated the dispatch of emergency services to callers in crisis nearly 74,000 times. The Veterans Crisis Line anonymous online chat service, added in 2009, has engaged in more than 332,000 chats. In November 2011, the Veterans Crisis Line introduced a text-messaging service to provide another way for Veterans to connect with confidential, round-the-clock support, and since then has responded to more than 67,000 texts."
If that is not proof enough you need to stop supporting all these awareness stunts covered by reporters who do not even care enough to ask what the end goal is, then pay a visit to your local newspaper and the obituary section. Look for the word "veteran" and see where all this absence of facts has produced.

Now, if you are not sufficiently pissed off yet, read the following report and add into it what you just became aware of.

Suicide among veterans highest in western US, rural areas

Associated Press
Hope Yen
September 16, 2017 
"This report is huge," said Rajeev Ramchand, an epidemiologist who studies suicide for the RAND Corp. He noted that the suicide rate is higher for veterans than non-veterans in every single state by at least 1.5 times, suggesting unique problems faced by former service members. "No state is immune."

Suicide among military veterans is especially high in the western U.S. and rural areas, according to new government data that show wide state-by-state disparities and suggest social isolation, gun ownership and access to health care may be factors.
The figures released Friday are the first-ever Department of Veterans Affairs data on suicide by state. It shows Montana, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico had the highest rates of veteran suicide as of 2014, the most current VA data available. Veterans in big chunks of those states must drive 70 miles or more to reach the nearest VA medical center.
The suicide rates in those four states stood at 60 per 100,000 individuals or higher, far above the national veteran suicide rate of 38.4.
read more here 

Seems like someone is pushing the "privatization" of veterans getting the care they need instead of actually demanding answers as to why all these years has produced these pesky details no one has been held accountable for.

So no, even if I could walk away after all these years, I wouldn't. I started out for selfish reasons and that was my own future with my husband, when no one was talking about any of this. Now I look back and wish I could change what you know into what you need to know, but I can't as long as all this crap keeps getting in the way. If the truth does not come out, nothing will change for you because apparently this has become acceptable to far too many!


Pennsylvania veteran suicide rate lower than national

  SaturdaySept. 16, 2017

The suicide rate for Pennsylvania military veterans in 2014 was slightly below the national rate but more than twice the state's overall suicide rate, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs study released Friday.
The figures represent the first-ever data on veteran suicides by state. Overall, the study showed that suicides were higher in the western United States and rural areas.
The Pennsylvania rate of 37.9 suicides per 100,000 veterans was lower than the national veteran suicide rate of 38.4.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

PTSD Awareness: We Suck At Giving Real Help

What You Didn't Learn During PTSD Awareness Month 
Combat PTSD Wounded Times 
Kathie Costos 
July 1, 2017
There are so many things that you probably did not learn during PTSD Awareness Month. If we are ever going to start getting rid of the stigma of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it is time the facts came out and the bumper sticker slogans stopped being the center of attention. 

When all has been said and done, the facts remain veterans are still killing themselves after risking their lives in combat, in service to this country and for each other.

Fact 1
The lives of others mattered so much, they were willing to die for them. These same men and women could no longer believe they mattered and no one would fight for them. 

Fact 2
While the size of the military has gone down, suicides have not gone down accordingly, nor have they reflected any of the "efforts" in prevention working.

Fact 3
Majority of veterans in this country are over the age of 50.

Fact 4
Majority of the suicides, 65% are over the age of 50.

Fact 5
Suicide rate among veterans going to the VA are lower than among those who do not.

Fact 6
There are over 400,000 charities claiming to help veterans but if they say anything at all about what they are doing, almost every new charity is not doing anything for the majority of our veterans.

Fact 7
Most of these "charities" are sending veterans to others for help, if they send them at all. The best way to help a veteran is with Peer Support but only if the one giving the support knows the facts and how to help. It does not work if you think that a Facebook post or text is all that is being given.

Fact 8
Congress keeps writing bills that are the replication of other ones they passed and funded during the past decade when there are absolutely no beneficial results and did not fund what worked.

Fact 9
No wound is any different from any other wound caused by any other war.

Fact 10
When it comes to taking care of our veterans, we suck at it!

VA Suicide Report 2016 Key findings from this year’s report include
 In 2014, an average of 20 Veterans died by suicide each day. Six of the 20 were users of VHA services. 
 In 2014, Veterans accounted for 18 percent of all deaths by suicide among U.S. adults and constituted 8.5 percent of the U.S. adult population (ages 18+). In 2010, Veterans accounted for 20.2 percent of all deaths by suicide and represented 9.7 percent of the U.S. adult population. 
 The burden of suicide resulting from firearm injuries remains high. In 2014, about 67 percent of all Veteran deaths by suicide were the result of firearm injuries. 
 There is continued evidence of a high burden of suicide among middle-aged and older Veterans. In 2014, about 65 percent of all Veterans who died by suicide were age 50 or older. 
 After adjusting for differences in age and gender, risk for suicide was 21 percent higher among Veterans when compared with U.S. civilian adults. (2014)  After adjusting for differences in age, risk for suicide was 18 percent higher among male Veterans when compared with U.S. civilian adult males. (2014) 
 After adjusting for differences in age, risk for suicide was 2.4 times higher among female Veterans when compared with U.S. civilian adult females. (2014)  In 2014, rates of suicide were highest among younger Veterans (ages 18–29) and lowest among older Veterans (ages 60+). Furthermore, rates of suicide among Veterans age 70 and older were lower than rates of suicide among civilians in the same age group.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

PTSD Suicide Awareness Same As Empty Box For Christmas

PTSD Awareness Nothing More Than Empty Box with Pretty Packaging
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 25, 2016

When I think about all the results of a decade of folks running around the country screaming they are raising awareness about veterans committing suicide, it may all look pretty but in fact, there is nothing inside of what they are willing to give.

This morning I was thinking about how some things are not what they appear to be. I have a regular day job in an office within a cubical. One of the departments has taken an empty cubical and filled it with boxes wrapped in Christmas paper. There are stacks of gifts that look pretty but have nothing else to offer. After Christmas, the paper will be taken off, thrown away and the boxes will be recycled. There will be no traces of joy left behind, nor reminders of the fact someone cared enough to think of the what was within the wrapping.
Everyday more and more veterans have only one wish, that the next day would be better than their last worst day. One reason to reach out one more time at the glimmer of hope before their eyes. What they, too often, discover is that glimmer turns out to be nothing more than the metal tips at the end of a taser gun. The pain they felt is still there but it hurts even more knowing there is no hope in the hype being sold as help.

What good do push-ups do them? No help for them but plenty of feel-good moments for the folks lining up to do them. What good does it do to write a check to support the talk about what someone thinks if happening when talking is free? What good does it do to set up a Facebook group with thousands of followers if the only support being given boils down to "I'll pray for you" which again, is free. 

The doers simply do not want to invest the time of researching what the veterans really need. They do not shop around for the best help available and support that work already being done. They probably know more about their cell phone than they do about how to save a life.

Every time you argue with these folks and try to ask them to specify exactly what their goal is, they respond with "raising awareness" yet do not even know the basics. Asked who they are trying to raise awareness to and they reply with "veterans." Yet somehow they missed the part about veterans already know they are killing themselves but what they do not know is how to stay alive.

I did not start out over three decades ago to make this my life mission. All I wanted to do was figure out what I was getting into when I met a Vietnam veteran. I had to fill my head with facts before I opened my mouth, so I sat in the library with stacks of clinical books and a dictionary. The more knowledge I gained, the more I knew why he had PTSD along with millions of more veterans the average citizen had no clue about.

Back then, there were plenty of folks, just like me spreading the word. Backed up with enough facts to offer comfort, understanding and above all else, hope that healing was possible. It was harder then because we did not have computers or cell phones. We used hand written letters to the editors of newspapers and eventually, other researchers, used typewriters to write books before bookstores had self-help sections.

The key in all of this is, back then it was actually producing better results considering there were a millions more veterans still alive in the country. For proof of this, you need to look at the study from the Department of Veterans Affairs on the all too often quote of "22 a day" veterans committing suicide.

So, if you really want to do something about saving their lives, stop talking and start learning. Stop offering empty stunts to get attention for yourself when they have been forgotten. Stop supporting stuffing when they keep suffering. If saving their lives is actually as important to you as you claim, then invest the time to prove it and then, only then, will you actually do something to save the "one too many" everyone keeps talking about.

The results produced in the last decade are more despicable than re-gifting last years fruitcake and expecting it to be appreciated by the recipient when they rush to the bathroom.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Right Battle Wrong Intel on PTSD

No Veteran Should Ever Fight Alone
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 26, 2016

Tomorrow is PTSD Awareness Day and I want you to wake up knowing a lot more than you knew today. It is time for some brutal honesty and that begins with the simple fact most of the veterans committing suicide are over the age of 50. Stunning I know but you are 78% of the veterans within the VA system taking your own lives and you did not even know it.

A visitor at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington passes early in the morning on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2013, to look at the names inscribed on the wall. J. David AP
29 and younger 3%
30-39 5.2%
40-49 14%
50-59 23.4%
60-69 19.6%
70-79 20 %
80 and older 14.8%

Ironically that is on page 22 from the Department of Veterans Affairs Suicide Report. While most of you are jumping onto your motorcycles for one charity ride after another trying to make a difference, it has been a worthy battle for the right reasons but with the wrong intel.  As with combat, the wrong intel costs lives.  In this case, it has meant more veterans your age are dying by their own hands instead of being lifted up by yours.

I see it all the time.  I have never known a finer bunch of people than Vietnam veteran families. Patriotic and lovingly committed to other veteran no matter what branch, war or MOS your dedication is inspiring. That is the most heart-wrenching thing of all. You are not even aware you are in the greatest need of help.  You are also the in the best position to help others heal.

So here is your new MOS.  Specialize in healing so you can go on a Mission of Surviving to help others heal.

Vietnam veterans came home with the same wounds as all generations before them and after them.  The difference is, it was your generation to being the fight to heal from what war did to you.  

You pushed for all the research and funding on trauma that allowed the civilian population to address what trauma does to them.  Because of you there are crisis intervention teams responding to events just like the one we had in Orlando at the Pulse when over 100 people were shot and 49 of them were killed.  Because of you it is also known that that one horrible night will effect all the others for many more years to come.

It was not just the families notified their kids were not coming home or the survivors recovering from bullet wounds, but also those who escaped and those who left the club before it all began. Yes, we're talking about survivor guilt.

It is because of you it is known that the responders are forever changed as well and will need help to recover from it.

Because of you it has been learned that PTSD is caused by the trauma itself and is a wound.  Trauma is Greek for "wound" so it is a wisely chosen term.  It did not begin inside of you.  It hit you.  It hit you because you were there and felt it more than others.  It has nothing to do with being weak but more to do with the strength of your emotional core and your commitment  to others.  That same commitment that allowed you to be willing to die for the sake of someone else.

As a matter of fact, your choice of profession after military service reflects that perfectly. The number one job veterans seek is in law enforcement, followed by firefighting, emergency responders, medical service and then teaching.  Serving others is in your emotional core.

With that out of the way, you also need to remember you are not a "victim" but a survivor.  You lived through combat. So why is it so hard for most of you to not be able to survive so long afterwards?

You have not been made aware that you can heal.  You do not have to suffer as badly as you may be doing right now.  This could very well be your last worst day and tomorrow can be the day you start to feel better.  As a matter of fact, once you begin to heal you can end up being even better than you were on your best day in the military.

You did not fight alone in combat and there is no reason for you to feel as if asking for help now is wrong.  It is just as vital now as it was back then. Getting all the support you could find to defeat the enemy saved lives and now getting all the help you can find now could very well save your own today and others when you help them heal later on.

Coming Out Of The Dark from 2006. The only difference is the numbers are higher, not lower after all these years of raising awareness.

Think of it a s new mission. You did all you could in combat to save them and that included being willing to pay the price with your own life so why not be willing to sacrifice your pride now? After all, there is nothing to be ashamed of if you have PTSD but your pride in discovering that has gotten in the way.

There is an ever growing list of Medal of Honor recipients talking about their own struggles because it has nothing to do with lacking anything including bravery.  You can't get much more of a stronger example of bravery than having a Medal of Honor around their neck.

If you have survivor guilt and wonder why you are still here, that was not up to you. That was up to the person who put the bomb in the road or pulled the trigger of the gun.  The question should be not about why you lived but what you are going to do with the rest of your life?

Do you do all you can to help yourself so you can help others?

Do you do all you can to make tomorrow better and make things up to folks you may have hurt? 

Do you restore relationships and be the best person you can be or do you plan on just getting by today getting numb instead of felling all the good that has been trapped inside of you?

Do you go on spreading rumors as if they mean anything that will make any kind of a difference to anyone or do you learn the truth so you can give another veteran a reason to wake up one more day?

The choice is yours. What you become aware of tomorrow could very well save lives and that, that should be your new mission.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Congress Repeats What Already Failed on PTSD Awareness

PTSD Awareness efforts failed. It is simple to see that. So why is Congress just repeating everything that has not worked? Why are thousands of new groups going around the country to "raise awareness" when they are not even aware of basic facts? How long are you going to be fooled into thinking that the outcome will change when nothing else does?

The National Center for PTSD promotes awareness of PTSD and effective treatments throughout the year. Starting in 2010, Congress named June 27th PTSD Awareness Day (S. Res. 455). In 2014, the Senate designated the full month of June for National PTSD Awareness (S. Res. 481). Efforts are underway to continue this designation for the third consecutive year in 2016.
Yes, you just read the year 2010.  So how is it that they managed to just repeat the reason to have PTSD Awareness Month instead of making sure every veteran knew enough to get help?

This is from Congress about this year.  They should have just copied and pasted what they had back in 2010. The only difference is the numbers are higher and not in a good way.

S.Res.512 - A resolution designating the month of June 2016 as "National Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month" and June 27, 2016, as "National Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Day".
Whereas the brave men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States (in this preamble referred to as the ``Armed Forces''), who proudly serve the United States, risk their lives to protect the freedom of the people of the United States and deserve the investment of every possible resource to ensure their lasting physical, mental, and emotional well- being;

Whereas more than 2,000,000 members of the Armed Forces have deployed overseas since the events of September 11, 2001, and have served in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq;

Whereas the Armed Forces have sustained a historically high operational tempo since September 11, 2001, with many members of the Armed Forces deploying overseas multiple times, placing those members at high risk of experiencing combat stress;

Whereas, when left untreated, exposure to traumatic combat stress can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (in this preamble referred to as ``PTSD''), sometimes referred to as post-traumatic stress injury;

Whereas men and women of the Armed Forces and veterans who served before September 11, 2001, remain at risk for PTSD and other mental health disorders;

Whereas the Secretary of Veterans Affairs reports that, in fiscal year 2015, more than 569,000 of the nearly 6,000,000 veterans who sought care at a medical facility of the Department of Veterans Affairs received treatment for PTSD;

Whereas many combat stress injuries remain unreported, undiagnosed, and untreated due to a lack of awareness about post-traumatic stress and the persistent stigma associated with mental health conditions;

Whereas exposure to military trauma can lead to PTSD;

Whereas PTSD significantly increases the risk of anxiety, depression, suicide, homelessness, and drug- and alcohol-related disorders and deaths, especially if left untreated;

Whereas public perceptions of PTSD or other mental health disorders create unique challenges for veterans seeking employment;

Whereas the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as the larger medical community, both private and public, have made significant advances in the identification, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and the symptoms of PTSD, but many challenges remain; 

Our veterans deserved better. So did the families left behind after they had to bury one of them. So do the families falling apart praying someone will do something that will actually make a difference in their lives.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Canadian PTSD Veterans Finishing Long Walk Home

Veterans suffering from PTSD walk across Canada to raise awareness
CTV Atlantic
September 7, 2014

Three Canadian veterans were one step closer to home on Sunday night as they neared the end of their cross-Canada march to raise awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder.

Jason McKenzie and Steve Hartwig are walking towards their hometown of Antigonish, N.S. Both have been living with the disorder since they came back from military service in the former Yugoslavia.

“When I came back to Canada, I just realized there was something wrong,” says Hartwig. “I didn’t have the coping mechanisms or skills in place. I didn’t have any care available at the time, and people really didn’t know about PTSD then.”

That’s why Hartwig began a cross Canada march in Victoria, B.C. earlier this summer with a plan to raise awareness and how it affects the military and first responders.

“With more awareness comes more education and ultimately more acceptance,” adds Hartwig.
read more here

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wounded Times-Wounded Minds, Veterans and PTSD Awareness

This morning I came across a group out of California calling themselves "Operation Wounded Minds" and I thought I read it wrong. I didn't. If you were among the thousands watching my video "Wounded Minds" I wanted to clear this up.

Operation Wounded Minds, have no connection to me, my work or to my video going back to 2006.

At the time, there was not much being done to help the troops learn what Vietnam veterans knew.

Wounded Minds was on YouTube for years along with others.

I received many emails on this video but the one that explains how hard the troops were searching for information, was the one I received from someone in the Navy.
I saw your PTSD presentation online and want to share it with our Sailors returning from Iraq/Afghanistan.

Thanks for providing this much needed information,

Again, I have no idea who these people are and have nothing to do with them

Fresno VA is stop on PTSD awareness tour (video)
The Fresno Bee
June 24, 2014

"There's nothing really forcing accountability," said Operation Wounded Minds co-founder Dwayne Jones.

"This needs to be mandatory reporting."

Operation Wounded Minds is working with the research firm EMC to develop technology for collecting data on veteran suicides, Jones said. It has sent letters to California senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and will send a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown to ask that reporting be mandatory, he said. read more here

Saturday, June 14, 2014

PTSD Awareness Month Remembered with 660 White Crosses

Crosses at Ypsilanti church represent suicides by veterans, raise awareness for help
The Detroit News
Holly Fournier
June 13, 2014
Sgt. Zachary Potter with his father, Timothy, and sister, Jordan. at the Taylor Sportsplex in 2008. Zack's suicide inspired friends to create the Veteran's Refuge Network.
(Timothy Potter)

Timothy Potter blames an overwhelmed Veterans Affairs system in the death of his son.

Army Sgt. Zachary Potter of Dearborn struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder for nine years after serving two tours in Iraq. He was in and out of VA hospitals in Tennessee and Michigan.

Frustrated by delays for medical help, he took his life Jan. 9. He was 32.

“I just really feel like the military let him down,” said Timothy Potter, also of Dearborn. “He was out there looking for help.”

Zachary Potter’s death prompted close friend Andrew Turner, his wife, Jamie, and friend Laura Chirio to create the Veteran’s Refuge Network to raise awareness of veteran suicides and remove any stigma associated with PTSD.

This month, as part of PTSD Awareness Month, the organization launched a “660 White Crosses” awareness campaign on the campus of Pineview Church in Ypsilanti. Volunteers are planting 22 wooden crosses each day. The crosses represent the estimated 22 veterans of all ages who commit suicide each day, according to a 2010 study by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
read more here

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Veterans deserve the truth about PTSD

Veterans deserve the truth about PTSD
Wounded Times Blog
Kathie Costos
June 6, 2013

A good place to start on this is attacking the news reports coming out insinuating there is anything new on PTSD. This is insulting to all veterans and advocates. They are angry because they have paid attention. They also earned the right to be treated properly. Given the fact that as reports come out, the truth has been covered up. They are dying needlessly because reporters ignore the history of efforts claiming to be addressing PTSD as well as suicides. Veterans deserve the truth.

This is PTSD Awareness Month but while it may sound like a new endeavor, it isn't. Wounded Times even has the link up on the sidebar. It is up there because far too many people still don't understand it. The veterans know what it is doing to them. Their families are starting to learn about it. But what if I told you raising awareness started for OEF and OIF veterans back in 2008?

Major General David Blackledge came out and talked about his own battle with PTSD.
"It's part of our profession ... nobody wants to admit that they've got a weakness in this area," Blackledge said of mental health problems among troops returning from America's two wars.

"I have dealt with it. I'm dealing with it now," said Blackledge, who came home with post-traumatic stress. "We need to be able to talk about it."

As the nation marks another Veterans Day, thousands of troops are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with anxiety, depression and other emotional problems.

Up to 20 percent of the more than 1.7 million who've served in the wars are estimated to have symptoms. In a sign of how tough it may be to change attitudes, roughly half of those who need help aren't seeking it, studies have found.

Blackledge was followed by General Cater Ham talking openly about his battle with PTSD.
Now the commander of U.S. Army Europe, Ham, along with his wife, discussed his post-combat difficulties in an interview just before Christmas. It was the second interview the pair have given to a newspaper. Their willingness to speak publicly about the issue is rare in traditional military culture, but they appeared entirely comfortable. “Frankly, it’s a little weird to me that people are making a big deal about it,” Ham said of the response to his openness. “Like lots of soldiers I needed a little help, and I got a little help.”

By the end of 2008 Army Times reported that more than two thirds of Americans had no clue what PTSD was.

A month later, January of 2009 the DOD suicide prevention conference started to focus on PTSD and the stigma.
An Army staff sergeant who had lost Soldiers in the war zone was called a coward, a wimp and a wuss from a leader when he mentioned he might need psychological help.

It is this type of stigma from toxic leadership that can kill, and that is being examined by scientists, clinicians and specialists in an attempt to eliminate it, said Army Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Loree K. Sutton, who is the Army's highest ranking psychiatrist.

Dr. Sutton described the staff sergeant's real experience during her opening remarks of the 2009 Department of Defense/Veterans Affairs Annual Suicide Prevention Conference being held Jan. 12 through 15 in San Antonio. More than 750 people -- specialists from the military, VA, and civilian social workers, chaplains, researchers, and family members effected by suicide -- gathered with a common goal of finding ways to reduce suicide.

"The secretary of Defense and chairman of the joint chiefs have both emphasized, 'seeking help is a sign of profound courage and strength.

In March of 2009, The Department of Defense testified before Congress on A hearing meant to give Defense Department officials a chance to explain their plans for spending $900 million allocated for mental health care quickly turned into a debate on how that money should be spent.

As yet, military experts on post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries are still working out which studies should be funded, which treatment methods should be adopted and which pilot programs should be put in place.

“We keep getting studies,” Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., chairman of the House defense appropriations panel, said at a hearing Tuesday. “That’s the problem with the Defense Department — they study it to death.”.

Studied to death was a proper choice of words considering that 2012 brought the highest number of attempted and successful suicides tied to military service after billions had been spent. Congress has been just as guilty of talking about it, funding bills and pushing programs that have not produced good results. What do they do? They fund more of the same and veterans, well, they get news reporters pretending that everything being done today is new.

Now that you have some idea, you need to know that efforts to raise awareness about PTSD had started many years before. FOR THE LOVE OF JACK, HIS WAR/MY BATTLE told the story of what was happening to Vietnam veterans and their families and was originally released in April of 2003.

Read THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR so that you will know who did what and when it was done. Billions spent funding the same programs that have a history of failure. Reporters ignoring the voices of psychiatrists and psychologists and advocates screaming about how the programs have made it worse and in fact prevented far too many from seeking help. History has proven we were right all along. How families suffered without knowing what they could do to help. If you think there is no need to fear what is coming, consider this last thought. The Department of Defense still has not released their comprehensive report on military suicides for 2012. It is almost the end of June. The data should have been released months ago. The report on Army, National Guards and Reservists for May have not been released yet. This all points to a very bleak outcome for all the campaigns to raise awareness and prevent needless suffering.