CHICAGO, Ill. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — It’s among America’s most depressing statistic: every single day, 22 veterans commit suicide … fighting invisible enemies far away from battle lines. But, cellphones may become weapons to fight against depression and post-traumatic stress.
Fighting on the front lines in the Iraq war was bad enough for army veteran Dan Jabs.
Dan said, “We were getting constantly exposed to IEDs.”
But when Dan Jabs returned home, he found out the war, for him, had not ended.
“Panic attacks, insomnia, sleeplessness, restlessness,” Dan told Ivanhoe.
Navy veteran, Samantha Michelle Reeves, said, “You see some things that civilians don’t understand. And because of that, anxiety, constant fight or flight mode, you’re always tense.”
Samantha Michelle thought her constant nightmares were actually normal after coming home from operation Iraqi freedom.
She said, “I was also afraid to go ask for help because I thought people are going to look at me like I’m crazy.”
Thankfully, both vets eventually found “vets prevail.” It’s a free, anonymous online resource that connects them with other veterans for support.
Samantha Michelle said, “Talk to peers. Because it’s been so helpful, I can’t even describe how helpful.”
Founder and CEO of Vets Prevail, Rich Gengler says a clinical trial already shows ‘Vets Prevail’ works as well as face-to-face sessions and at a fraction of the cost.
“There’s a lot of power in a model like this,” Gengler told Ivanhoe.
Now, on the other side of the program, Dan Jabs knows that power.
He said, “I see these guys and gals who are having issues that I’ve been through before, and I recognize that you know what? You can get through this.”
Help right at your fingertips.
“Vets Prevail” is tailored to the needs of veterans, and vet peers are available 24 hours a day. For more information, or help on this free mental health program, log onto vetsprevail.org.
Contributors to this news report include: Jennifer Jefcoat, Field Producer; Brogan Morris, Assistant Producer; Brent Sucher, Videographer; and Tony Dastoli, Editor.
(Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181836/, http://www.ptsd.ne.gov/what-is-ptsd.html, https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=how%20many%20veterans%20commit%20suicide) BACKGROUND: Every 65 minutes another veteran commits suicide. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is common among war veterans. Soldiers who suffer from PTSD often relive the experiences of war through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged. These symptoms can be so severe that they last long enough to significantly impair the person’s daily life. For instance, PTSD can lead to problems with social or family life, occupational instability, marital problems and divorces, and difficulties in parenting. PTSD is associated with a decreased volume of the brain’s hippocampus and an abnormal activation of the amygdala. Both are involved in the processing and application of memory. The amygdala has also been found to be involved in coordinating the body’s fear response. An estimated 7.8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, with women (10.4 percent) twice as likely as men (5 percent) to develop PTSD. More than half of all male Vietnam veterans and almost half of all female Vietnam veterans have experienced some clinically serious stress symptoms. Many turn to alcohol and drugs to deal with their anxiety and trauma.
OTHER SOURCES FOR HELP: If you know someone suffering from PTSD there are many choices for help in addition to Vets Prevail:
- Veterans Crisis Line. Based in Canandaigua, N.Y., the Veterans Crisis Line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days year. It is completely free to veterans and their families. They offer a hotline, online chat or text messaging. Visit www.veteranscrisisline.net for help and more information. Warning: the New York Times recently wrote an article that this department has not been up to par, resulting in unanswered phone calls from veterans. But, management has changed, and they say they are working to fix the problem. You can read the news article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/17/opinion/sunday/for-suicidal-veterans-a-frayed-lifeline.html?_r=0.
- Wounded Warrior Homes. This is a non-profit organization that provides affordable housing for any veteran who suffers from PTSD or Traumatic Brain Injury, TBI. Go to www.woundedwarriorhomes.org for more information.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This department breaks down what PTSD is, how it affects the veteran and his/her family, and tells you how to help or where to find professional help. There is an unlimited amount of information and tips at their website, www.ptsd.va.gov.
* For More Information on Vets Prevail, Contact:
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