It’s often said that “not all wounds are visible.” This month offers the prime opportunity to reflect on that sentiment and conceptualize how we can ensure that even though some wounds may not be visible, they are still treated like those wounds that are. I believe this starts with the way in which we talk about and offer treatment for PTS.
There is an abundance of research and data about the presence of post-traumatic stress in veterans that is worth sharing and reflecting on. This month I encourage everyone to take the time to educate themselves on the subject and to review the research that is available in order to gain a better understanding. But for the sake of brevity, I will share one statistic here that in particular impacts and informs the work we do at SoldierStrong.
Between 11 and 20 veterans out of 100 who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom experience symptoms of PTS in a calendar year.
SoldierStrong is working diligently to provide those veterans grappling with PTS another tool to aid in their journey of recovery through the BraveMind program. In recognition of PTS Awareness Month, I wanted to shine a light this month on the service that BraveMind provides.
BraveMind helps veterans recovering from PTS using virtual reality therapy. Virtual reality can be used to deliver prolonged exposure therapy – the practice of recalling a traumatic memory while talking through the nuances of that memory with a therapist – an evidence-based method for treating PTS. Virtual reality therapy makes the process of recalling traumatic memories easier for veterans.
To date, the BraveMind hardware and software has been donated to 13 VA Hospitals and other medical centers across the country, allowing a tremendous number of veterans access to revolutionary PTS treatment.
Even if you are not a veteran, have never experienced PTS yourself or do not know anyone who has experienced PTS, I implore everyone to take a pledge this month to raise awareness about the effects and impacts of PTS on veterans. In addition, I think it is just as important to raise awareness about resources that are effective in treating PTS. This can be done by letting those in your life know about the BraveMind program and any other effective PTS treatments you are aware of to help build and establish a greater awareness of treatment options.
The greater level of awareness that we are able to build, the more likely Americans will recognize important symptoms of PTS and the more likely veterans will reach out to receive the treatment they need.
If you would like to learn more about BraveMind please visit us on the web https://www.soldierstrong.org/bravemind/