(Washington D.C., Friday, June 8, 2018) - For returning service members and veterans, early intervention for psychological health concerns plays a critical role in successful care, recovery and reintegration. A 2016 study showed approximately 40 percent of returning Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans are diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Since 2014, PTSD Awareness Month has been observed in June as an opportunity to bring greater awareness to the invisible wounds of war and to promote increased access to care and treatment.
Retired Army Major Jeff Hall started to experience symptoms of PTSD after returning from his second tour of duty in Iraq. As Hall readjusted to life at home, he continuously faced depression, thoughts of suicide, anger and feelings of isolation. Eventually, with support from loved ones and his command, Hall reached out for help and experienced positive outcomes as a result of that decision.
AFTER I RETURNED FROM MY SECOND TOUR OF DUTY IN IRAQ, I BEGAN TO FEEL INCREASINGLY ISOLATED AND ANGRY. EVEN THOUGH I NEEDED HELP, I PUSHED MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY AWAY, NOT WANTING THEM TO HAVE TO EXPERIENCE MY STRUGGLE WITH INVISIBLE WOUNDS OF WAR. AS TIME PASSED, I LOST INTEREST IN ACTIVITIES THAT I USED TO ENJOYâ€¦SOMETIMES EVEN THINKING ABOUT SELLING ALL OF MY POSSESSIONS. IT WAS DIFFICULT TO GET THROUGH EACH DAY. HOWEVER, WITH SUPPORT FROM MY LEADERSHIP AND FAMILY, I DECIDED TO REACH OUT FOR HELP WITH MY POST TRAUMATIC STRESS AND LEARNED HOW TO COPE WITH MY SYMPTOMS. TODAY, Iâ€™M SHARING MY STORY AND ENCOURAGING OTHER WARRIORS TO TAKE THE FIRST STEP BY ACCESSING THE TOOLS AND RESOURCES AVAILABLE FROM THE REAL WARRIORS CAMPAIGN. REACHING OUT IS A SIGN OF STRENGTH.
If you or a loved one is coping with an invisible wound, resources are available, and treatment works. Visit realwarriors.net or call the Psychological Health Resource Center at 866-966-1020; the phone line is available 24/7 and is confidential.