AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)— June is National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month. Ten to fifteen percent of veterans struggle with PTSD, but they don’t have to suffer in silence. The condition is treatable, you just need to reach out for help.
“It’s not something that someone just has to learn how to live with or has to suffer with permanently,” director of Trauma & Recovery Clinic at Charlie Norwood VA, Dr. J. Richard Monroe said.
John “Truck” Carlson, local veteran and program coordinator of Veterans for Clean Water, says addressing PTSD head on has changed his life, and the lives of many he knows.
“It’s like dropping your rucksack after a long road march. It’s just… I can breathe, my shoulders aren’t just so clenched,” Truck said.
He advises veterans to be willing to listen to their loved ones. And for loved ones, be gentle but firm when having a conversation about PTSD.
“You get out of the military, and you don’t realize just how many programs are out there,” Truck said. “Register at the VA. Get the help that usually your significant other is telling you you need. Because we’re the last ones to figure out we need help.”
And there are signs to keep an eye out for.
“Getting really reactive when something reminds them of the trauma, either emotionally or a physical reaction. Being really on edge or nervous. Easily startled,” Dr. Monroe said.
Truck says getting help with PTSD is a life or death matter.
“Still we lose 20 veterans a day to suicide,” Truck said. “The same hand that they rose to defend our nation is now the hand that’s taking their own lives. And that’s unacceptable.”
Veterans can walk into the VA and be seen same day.
ForcesUnited connects veterans and families with resources.