Changing the Conversation about Veterans and PTSD
When it comes to the fight against post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicide prevention for our nation’s heroes, it is often easy to argue that we are not doing enough. There are so many different needs when it comes to each individual veteran; every case is different.
Post-traumatic stress can cause a great deal of tension and hardship on not only the veteran, but those who struggle with them, such as close family members. A PTSD diagnosis is not a death sentence, that fact cannot be overstated. However, while some cases of post-traumatic stress may be more severe than others, each journey will most likely share many similarities from one veteran to the next.
Although there are a number of veteran suicide awareness organizations out there, Mission Zero seeks to help veterans with a more innovative approach across a broader range of methods and networking.
Some of the most common methods used today are not always effective or a long term answer. With new, innovative therapies on the horizon, raising veteran suicide awareness and prevention is showing some real promise.
What is currently being done to help veterans with PTSD?
United States military veteran suicide rates are some of the highest of any occupation in America. Each veteran is estimated to be nearly 20 times more likely to take his or her own life than nonveterans. While America’s troops are ostensibly at a higher risk, veteran suicide rates have remained relatively flat over the years. That fact is a double edged sword, however.
On one hand, it tells us that while the problem may not be getting much worse, it certainly isn’t getting much better either.
One of the most common stories you will see among vets seeking help for post-traumatic stress is a cocktail of prescription pills and regular visits with a psychologist or psychiatrist. This method is not always effective, but does shed some light on the fact that there are veterans out there who are seeking help, by whatever means they are able to. That is often one of the most difficult facets of veteran suicide prevention, a willingness to heal on the part of the patient.
There is hope, however. These days, there are number of auxiliary and main options which are currently being utilized or experimented with in the realm of United States military veteran suicide prevention.
What are some of the new efforts being made in veteran suicide prevention?
There are many. Some of these innovative methods can start as soon as troops return from war, and before they are discharged from active duty/reserve/national guard. As long as a veteran is willing to seek help, there is no shortage of different avenues they can explore in the fight against the mental scars that war can leave behind.
Aside from the efforts of veteran suicide prevention and PTSD organizations, some of the groundbreaking methods showing promise to our nation’s warriors are: cognitive processing therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, and stress inoculation training. These therapies are offered by qualified professionals and may help veterans to cope with and process the traumatic events they experienced during their service to America. EMDR is currently one of the most new and promising therapies of the aforementioned. Aside from that, some of the more experimental therapies include things like: yoga, meditation, and medical marijuana products (CBD, THC and CBN). While some who suffer from PTSD may or may not be willing to try medical marijuana because of its psychoactive properties (such as with THC) there are a number of other cannabis products available which have little to no psychoactive properties (CBN and CBD), and are available without prescription.
How to help or get help
If you or someone you know is a veteran impacted by PTSD and mental illness, please reach out to us at Mission Zero (a veteran suicide prevention organization) for assistance and guidance on resources, tools, and other options available. Any veteran experiencing thoughts of suicide is urged to call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
If you are interested in helping veterans with PTSD, donate to Mission Zero or contact us to inquire about corporate sponsorships and other partnerships.
PTSD doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Together, we can change the conversation about veterans and PTSD.
Mission Zero is a registered nonprofit in the state of Florida.