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Healing Hidden Wounds

Discussion in 'News, Politics & Debates' started by Marlene, Jun 27, 2007.

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  1. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    Dr. Judith Broder had counseled many distraught patients in her 33 years as psychiatrist in Los Angeles, from teenage mothers to screenwriters. But one night in 2005, a play had her in tears. The Sand Storm: Stories From the Front Lines featured candid monologues by Iraq War veterans. The unflinching depiction of the war’s serious but unseen mental wounds was penned by marine Sean Huze, who’d lived it.

    “It was for me such a powerful demonstration of how theater and art can affect people,” Judith recalls. “It was heartbreaking. I walked out and I said, ‘I have to do something.’ Well, that was after I finished crying.”

    She put out the call to fellow psychiatrists to join her in helping veterans and their families cope with post-war life. “Everyone was excited to be able to do something positive and not just wring out hands,” says Judith.

    Soon 30 therapists volunteered, and The Soldiers Project was up and running, offering free counseling for anyone affected by the Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts-servicemen and women on active duty, veterans, spouses, families.

    Why offer free counseling when vets, at least, could turn to the military for assistance? Many reasons. If newly discharged soldiers admit to depression they must remain at the base instead of returning to their families-not a likely choice. Certain types of discharges limit access to benefits. Navigating hospitals and paperwork is frustrating. The nature of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can prevent soldiers from seeking help. People with PTSD sometimes experience emotional numbness and isolate themselves from others. Soldiers are also afraid going to counseling will be perceived as a sign of weakness or will mar their military record.

    Which is why The Soldiers Project is anonymous-and successful. As the number of participants and volunteers have grown, the program has expanded to Orange County and San Diego, and Judith hopes to take it national. “I feel so passionate about this,” she says. “It’s positive and it’s a relief for people to know there is help out there.”

    Source: Positive Thinking Magazine
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  3. Kathy

    Kathy I'm a VIP

    This is only too true, sadly. In the Canadian military, it is still considered quite shameful to suffer from combat stress or PTSD. The Military Family Resource Centres are trying to change that, but it is a slow process.
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