90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
PTSD And Military Spouses

Tom Gjelten in for Tom Ashbook

The U.S. military’s new push to help the spouses of servicemen and women with post-traumatic stress disorder.

With all the country's military engagements around the world, post traumatic stress disorder is becoming a major problem in the ranks. (AP)

With all the country's military engagements around the world, post-traumatic stress disorder is becoming a major problem in the ranks. (AP)

With two major wars and more than eight years of fighting, the U.S. military is feeling the strain. Many servicemen and women have experienced severe combat stress, the effects of which can linger long after they’ve returned home.

The burden falls also on their spouses; post-traumatic stress disorder –– PTSD— affects entire families.

And now there’s a special program for the spouses of service members with PTSD.

This hour On Point: Caring for the caregivers.

-Tom Gjelten

Guests:

Victoria Bruner, director of the military’s new pilot program –- the Spouses and Significant Others Support Group –- for the spouses of servicemen and women affected by PTSD.

Col. Charles Engel, psychiatric epidemiologist and director of the Deployment Health Clinical Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Shamale Dancey, participant and peer facilitator in the Spouses and Significant Others Support Group program. Her husband, Army Specialist Marcus Dancey (temporarily retired), experienced PTSD after returning from Iraq.

Sheri Hall, participant in the Spouses and Significant Others Support Group program. Her husband, Army Major Jeff Hall, experienced PTSD after his second tour in Iraq.

More:

Here are some general resources about PTSD collected by the Spouses and Significant Others Support Group.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Terry Tree Tree

    TEN YEARS, and they are just realizing this problem exists??   I’ll bet Halliburton, KBR, and/or a lot of the other Cheney/Bush “No-bid, no oversight, no morals, corporations are getting far more for administering these programs, that they deliver to the victims of their greed!   Remember the Veterans’ Administration Out-Patient Clinic, administered by one of these, to the tune of over $100, Million per year, and they didn’t even spend the maintenance money to eliminate mold and mildew, causing deaths.   Care to bet if their offices got cleaned better?  They belong in a musty, moldy, mildewed cell!!!  Killing our veterans that way.  How low can someone sink?  I doubt we’ve seen how low yet!!

    • Yar

      Since you mentioned private contractors, think about all the injuries those workers have experienced that don’t show up in the stats.  We have a much bigger problem than we have acknowledged. 

  • Michael

    Just another reason for our troops to come home.

  • Yar

    I have my own experience with the effects of PTSD, my former wife was a child of a vet killed in Vietnam when she was 11.  That cost of that war is not yet paid for in the suffering of its vets and family members.  9/11 affected her in profound ways, her dad was shot down with a plane load of women and children evacuates.   War offers up pain that keeps on giving for generations.
    I recently read the US armed services may have as many as 90,000 members who received a traumatic brain injury during their military service.  The effects of those physical injuries alone are staggering.  Add psychological trauma on top and the only sane way to care for our vets is complete medical coverage for life no questions asked.  Family members need assistance as well.  Living with an injury does not just affect the individual, the family unit also suffers and is part of the treatment team, they must be considered in dealing with the vet.  
    These are the costs of war.  To not pay them is the same as declaring defeat.
    As a nation the way we treat our most dedicated servants is how we define ourselves.

  • Anonymous

    Can anyone remind me of why my tax dollars may be needed to treat these men and women who served in my place.

    God bless all of us

  • Thinknaboutit

    I also think our veterans deserve complete medical coverage for life, but I’m afraid the most they will be offered is a voucher to use on the private market.  Yet another problem a single payer system would solve immediately.

  • Freeman Kirby

    In response to- Thinknaboutit

    Isn’t it very sad that Federal Workers get FULL Medical Coverage for life after only six years. Learned that on news conference from goeff morrell leaving Pentagon. Why is there so much injustice in the American Democracy ??

    • ThresherK

      Why is it sad that Fed workers get full medical coverage for life after six years?

      Why do you need to pit Federal workers against military families?

      Are you just jealous because your private-industry-supplied healthcare used to be OK and it now sucks?

  • mike at HOPE-Connection

    FYI, another RESOURCE is HOPE-Connectiondotcom near Boston, which offers hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Not useful for everyone, hyperbaric oxygen is useful for concussions, head injuries, PTSD, and depression when used in conjunction with other therapies, including conductive education. I encourage more people to learn about HBOT (or hyperbaric oxygen therapy).

  • Lucy

    Will the US Government be taking its findings in helping military PTSD personnel — and the people who support them — to provide the American public with additional resources and insight into how to help survivors — and the people who support them — of rape / sexual assault / domestic violence?  

  • El

    As a daughter of a former POW from WW2 who lived through more than 50 years of a dad with PTSD and was not diagnosed until 50 years after the war, please, please help all these military personel and their families.  It was chaos at times, scary a lot of the time, and so sad to live in a household like this and no treatment for any of us. 

  • Ellen Dibble

    Do servicepeople ever find support in keeping in touch with those from their units in the field?  Especially in this era of internet connectivity? 

    More toward a perhaps subsequent program, but:  Picking up on the intergenerational aspect of this, two nights ago I was sleuthing around till dawn trying to find war-time comrades of my father, in the army at the battle of Okinawa and following, and I know that the Army records for 1942 to 1946 were burnt to the ground in 1973 in the records building I think near St. Louis.  It is possible to find college alumnae memoirs and even plays written by people in his class, but nothing from his service “class.”  Yet it seems to me that it was the service experience that pretty much bottled him up, and returned him to his wife, my mother, perhaps totally different than how he had left.      His co-servicemen could go so far towards — I do keep hoping some serviceman will write that up — even about maybe serving with OSS in Japan postwar.  Is the pain to be bottled up forever?  Is that what soldiers are told?  Old soldiers never die; they only fade away.  But I’m waiting for a reappearance via online memoirs.

  • Webb Nichols

    This discussion makes me depressed. As a Vietnam Veteran to look at the carnage resulting from the use of war as an extension of politics for the narrow self interests of individuals and countries is to witness the insanity of man.

    Calmly talking about PTSD and its effects as if it was part of menu , part of the diet that we should accept. How about all these skilled clinicians pushing back and railing against war and the abuse of loyal, well meaning, patriotic Americans and the killing of thousands of innocent people, collateral damage in the name progress.

    Walking through Walter Reed Hospital one must have to be deluded to justify the effects of war.

  • Dee from NYS

    My Reservist son was in Iraq for 9 months; he’s been home for 3 years and is still seeing a counselor (privately, because the Army doesn’t provide mental health service to Reservists). The price he and every other soldier are paying for these wars of choice is horrendous; as for the families – we wait and hope that they will make it through. There are so many incalculable costs to modern warfare in terms of the human costs.

  • elizabeth

    I had PTSD myself as a result of being threatened by a vet in my extended family. I had PTSD for two years after the death threat. It gradually went away, but I have to avoid that person forever to avoid triggering my panic.

    The lady from the Army talks calmly about “resilience” and “reaching out,” as if that’s all you need to deal with violent family members. The war comes home:  men who have been trained to be violent perpetrate that violence on civilians at home.  Then those civilians, in turn, have PTSD, yet we are told to continue to “support the troops.”

    All for a war that was begun for no good reason, that we were talked into with lies about WMD, and that continues to harm our society in incalculable ways.

    • BrothersKeeper

      So, don’t provide counseling?  Don’t try to help them?  You think that “helps” society?  Society sent these guys to do its “dirty work” and now they are being washed with the laundry.  This is a mental health issue and these people need help.

      • elizabeth

        The more counseling and help the better.  The Army lady just sounded too glib to me.

  • Dave

    Is their still a stigma among most of the servicemen/women about seeking psychological help for PTSD? I have a relative that does serve in the military, and has a negative view towards others who do seek help; stating that it is a form of weakness for seeking help. Even though this relative is displaying the textbook symptoms of PTSD. Is their an effort to also address this attitude within the rank and file?  

    • Frank

      Not only is there a stigma in the military, but within our society those with it are considered as having done something bad, wrong or to have broken under pressure. Thatos not true. It took me 37 years to realize (I couldn’t remember 2 months of ’69) that I had a problem. VA will help, but they aren’t the answer. The only thing that helps is each other because that’s the only place where we fit.

  • Frank

    I have had PTSD for 44 years from Vietnam; lived with it for 37 years before diagnosis but have been in a voluntary support group for over 25 years. PTSD IS PHYSIOLOGICALLY-INDUCED. It is caused by a portion of the brain, the amygdala, being excessively exposed to adrenalin and growing; it never goes down so in reality, ptsd won’t EVER go away! The best help we get is from each other. Our generation knows what works for us and we can halp younger veterans set up their own groups, but no one will listen – they think we are crazy. WRONG, every footbaall coach I had in high school and most WWII vets had it too. We Vietnam vets desperately want to help our brothers. We didn’t do anything wrong or bad and they haven’t either; they have to get over the stereotype of being mentally ill. It’s a struggle to get through VA, and all they can do is give you medication and some training. YOU HAVE TO HELP EACH OTHER. Would gladly help tell you how to do that; any Vietnam veterans with it will do the same.

    • Ellen Dibble

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_movement_desensitization_and_reprocessing (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing).
      In my region, people with PTSD are being treated with EMDR, which is reputed to cause healing, and in a physiological way, versus so many other social/mental-training sorts of adaptation/reprogramming.  
        If people google PTSD and eye movement, you’ll find lots of links.

  • mark mcnamara

    an idea (for those willing to experiment) to reset the rhythms in the body of a soldier with pstd…get a massage table, the soldier lying face up…five people do hands on , both shoulders, both legs and the head…and respond in their own bodies what they are feeling in the body on the table…this is all in the body, not the head, no theory involved…the edge of doing something and not doing anything is a powerful quantum space in how the body’s reset mechanisms work…this is very ‘open heart’ work and there must be a measure of letting go into the unknown if the effects are to reach a threshold of being able to access the brain in the body of the soldier to make the compounds that the body needs… with this assist the body will heal itself…if through practice the five people are able to  ground their own energy simultaneously, quantum effects in the nervous systems will change breathing rhythms and start the process …anyone can learn this skill but it takes doing it, failing at it, doing it again then understanding it…good luck

  • Ellen Dibble

    Thanks, Frank.  It seems to me a point worth restating, “We have to help each other.”  I haven’t gone through the links up top, but there is quite a bit of focus on what the VA can do.  Michelle Obama certainly has expanded this:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/joiningforces/, and again, I don’t know about that.  But I can remember families turning AWAY from other vets, as if allergic to it, as if any vets or vet organizations would scratch at the scab and cause bleeding.   Come Memorial Day parades, one makes a family expedition AWAY from town center.  One chooses to “remember” by looking AWAY and forward, in the process losing connections and skills that the family may really need.  An entire family can learn denial, pretending, “acting” normal, while suppressing and numbing everything stemming from that amydala — or the amygdalas at this point of the children as well.  
        I am thinking of the very positive things that military service contributed, to my recollection.  There is huge respect for fellow citizens.  One learns that there are people from every walk of life who have hearts and skills that can come together in ways otherwise unimaginable.  One learns something special about the role of coordinated training in life as well.  One might set up a kind of bootcamp obstacle course for the children to re-enact at birthday parties (instead of pin-the-tail-on-the donkey).  Everybody from age five onward is creeping under windows horizontal about a foot off the ground, things to climb over, etc., etc. The first team to complete the course wins, perhaps, but it’s not about competition.  When you grow up, it seemed, it’s about cooperation.  In school, you might try to be best; but in real life, it’s about survival, and apparently that’s about teamwork.
        I don’t know what the wars since 2000 have to teach, but surely part of that is good.

  • sister of a soldier

    How do family members talk to their soldier? My little brother was a paratrooper/tank gunner in the 82nd Airborne Division from the time he was 18 until he returned from his 3rd deployment to Iraq/Afghanistan at the age of 23. In all the 2 1/2 years he has been back, he and i have not talked about anything relating to what happened to him while he was gone.  I don’t need to know details unless he wants to share, I just want to know what i can do to help alleviate his mental/physical anguish.  His wife’s grandfather was in Vietnam, but has never uttered a single word about his experience.  Just recently, the grandfather has begun to seriously fall apart emotionally and mentally.  I don’t want this to happen to my brother.  Soldiers:  There is NO SHAME IN ASKING FOR HELP.  

  • Mary

    I worked as a data analyst for a major Persian Gulf War Syndrome study at the Univ. of Iowa under Dr. Brad Doebbeling in 1998.   One thing we saw was that veterans would not seek mental health services for PTSD because of the stigma of getting a job in certain related fields such as police work.  It would help if police departments were not allowed to use seeking treatment in the past as a disqualifying measure for current employment if the person has mostly recovered, and thus PTSD persons would not feel they could not seek treatment without jeapordizing future job possibilities.

  • Anne

    I am the second wife of a disabled army veteran who served
    in WW2, Korea, and Vietnam.
    He was injured in battle and spent several years recovering in a military
    hospital when he returned to the states.

     

    Mental illness in military vets, and the effects on it their
    families, is nothing new.

     

    We not only lived with the madness of war…but the madness of
    so-called “peace” when these veterans come home emotionally deadened, violent,
    and addicted to alcohol (rather socially accepted in the old days) or drugs.

     

    The spouses of earlier generations of vets have gotten no
    help whatsoever.

    Why should we complain…we were married to “war heroes”,
    weren’t we?

    Different times, then.

     

    But there hasn’t been one week in 35 years that wasn’t a private
    24-7 walking minefield.

     

    Many military benefits are tied to the vet electing them.
    The spouse cannot do so on his/her own. My husband’s military income was his
    and his alone. I had to beg for money to feed and cloth his/our 5 children.
    When I went back to work (on and off the farm) I had to pay my husband for the
    right to live in “his” house and eat “his” food. I still have the cancelled
    checks!

     

    One of our children died. My husband didn’t shed a tear.

    He hasn’t laid a hand on me in kindness in almost 3 decades.
    The only human touch I experience is twice a year at the dental hygienist’s
    office. Thankfully, there are the farm animals that need to be groomed and
    talked to, so there is some kind of personal exchange  ( no, I’m not crazy… talk to other rural farm
    wives! The animals count!)

     

    Now we are all suffering from his Alzheimer’s and have no
    real idea if where this will lead the family financially, since I have no
    access to his money and don’t know what he has saved.

     

    I am now 60, with too little money of my own left (after
    living expenses and stock market debacle) to divorce or retire, and health
    issues of my own. Working opportunities are few and far between for older rural
    women, even with two master’s degrees.

     

    Why couldn’t we military spouses have received some social
    security credit for the care-giving we’ve done? A small cash stipend of our own
    would have alleviated certain violent confrontations along the way and maybe
    given us an “out” of our own, if necessary.

     

    Many of us approach old age in social isolation and facing a
    declining future in poverty.

     

    If my 60 year old self could give advice to my 30 or 40 year
    old self it would be: get out and get out now! You will not change someone
    else’s disability if they themselves refuse to be treated. You can not change
    the basic culture you live in – which leaves military families to take up the
    terrible slack that government and other citizens refuse to deal with. Get out
    while you are still young enough to be hired, to maybe find someone else with
    whom to share your live…and fight like hell for your kids.

     

    Get out with your life before it’s too late.

     

    I’m glad this is coming more openly to the fore….maybe
    younger spouses will not have to go through the hardships and waste that
    spouses now aged 60-90 years lived with alone.

     

    We older military families served the country too.

     

    It just shouldn’t be like this.

  • Pbusch77

    PTSD affected my family post WWII.  My father served in Army, Navy & Marines.  He was in the S Pacific, came home with malaria & was no longer the happy go lucky man I have a few pictures of.  I guess there were no support services at that time.  He dealt with his demons by stuffing them, alcoholism and hyperactivity.  He got alzheimers at 60, died at 68.  Our family was very dysfunctional, and as a result, my sister became a closet alcoholic, dying of liver failure at 47.  She didn’t even make it to 68. And the dysfunction keeps on going with her children, and their children.  I was lucky, I was interested in psychology and started digging into dysfunctional behavior during college.  Thank goodness we have some programs to help servicemen & women now!  But we need more, I think our society is affected in many different ways by past and present PTSD incidences.

  • AJ

    I would like to recommend the blogs Spousebuzz and Family of a Vet.  They are good resources and the people there get it.

  • Nancnp

    Please check out http://www.acceptingtheashes.net    Great book by Quynn Elizabeth called Accepting The Ashes that can help families of soldiers with PTSD understand what  is happening.

    • Ellen Dibble

      “‘Accepting the Ashes’ was written by Quynn Elizabeth, daughter of a two-time Viet Nam (also spelled Vietnam) veteran in the year of her father’s death.  Due to her father’s experiences in war, he struggled with Post Traumatic Stress, heart sadness and alcoholism all his adult life even though he didn’t get diagnosed with PTSD until 1992.  In “Accepting the Ashes” Quynn shares her personal story so that other loved ones and soon-to-be veterans, who are fighting right now, might not have to wait 30 years to heal their painful feelings often caused by experiencing war-related stress.  Currently, Accepting the Ashes is being used by The National Chaplain Center in its Veterans Community Outreach Initiative.”  – for training clergy in community outreach.  Here is apparently a daughter unraveling things after decades.  I am also thinking about military PTSD as it affects global populations and has affected our ancestors.  It seems to me evolution incorporated religion into our sociocultural software in order to accommodate such stressors.  But what is new is body armor and antibiotics such that a far larger percentage of warriors survive.

  • http://twitter.com/FilipinoBoston FilipinoBoston

    I never heard of Filipino Soldiers having PTSD. I only heard of this sickness in America especially with US Military personnel. A lot of my friends in the Philippines are still serving in the Philippine military and still active in Mindanao. I am not sure if Caucasians are susceptible with PTSD. As far as I know alot of Filipino soldiers are use in war environment especially if the Filipino soldiers were born poor. Filipino soldiers can tolerate hunger, depression and lack of military equipment. I am not an expert but I think economically and physically it depends if the Soldier can tolerate hardship especially war.

    • http://twitter.com/FilipinoBoston FilipinoBoston

      My 2 Uncles were guerilla in WW2. After the war they seem to act normal and never shown any sign of PTSD or any illnesses associated after effects of combat duties. They fought the Japanese for almost 3 1/2 years ang again with lack of food and supplies.

      • Ellen Dibble

        Did those uncles have families, wife and children?  I’m thinking this culture has taught suppression, which is basically “passing” as normal.  To be strong is to keep “problems” to yourself, but a family is the first notice, firstly by a sort of abstraction — well, you can read the thread here and see.  
            If the entire family has been subjected to stress (living in a war zone, for instance), then perhaps the integration of the stressors within the family holds up a lot better.  

        • http://twitter.com/FilipinoBoston FilipinoBoston

          Filipino families are very close or should I say Asian families. They don’t hide anything from their parents or kids. If one shows PTSD IT is very noticeable. The thread here or comments are made by Caucasians (if there is a minority). It hard to explain or understand if you are not Asian. As far as I know my Uncles died mentally normal.

          • Ellen Dibble

            It seems to me that some of the problems with American families that came to the fore today had to do with families being too close, trying to contain within themselves things that the panelists were saying need to be uncorked.   Depending on the spouse to accommodate all the problems that challenge even professionals can cause the veteran’s problems to damage her, and her children, and then perhaps damage the way the more extended family functions together (or not).  
                 From what I know of the tight cohesion of families from the Far East, it can be very, very dysfunctional, and just as with American families, the object is keep this under wraps.  It is seen as shameful.  So I’m not drawing any snap conclusions about Filipinos being better at managing traumatic stress, but I hear you.
                 Especially, I don’t think World War II veterans went to war out of anything like a coddled past.  Their families were still struggling with a decade of The Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, etc., and did those vets handle it better than the Vietnam vets?  Well, the Vietnam vets in many cases came home without much of a welcome at all.

          • http://twitter.com/FilipinoBoston FilipinoBoston

            Well to answer this mysterious PTSD. I will email my friend from Manila Bulletin to investigate the PTSD in Filipino soldiers. But as far as I know since I was started reading newspapers by the age of 8. I never read or saw a report on PTSD with Filipino soldiers. I will ask my Investigative Manila Bulletin reporter if she can research or interview my friends (one of them is a BSN) serving in the Philippine Military. I know that PTSD is more rampant in US Military personnel and Police officers than any other armed forces.

    • Decorated Veteran with PTSD

      Racism and bigotry anyone?…FilipinoBoston seems to think “caucasions are susceptible to PTSD”.  Actually he said susceptible “with” PTSD, but that’s just a lack of education…not because he’s Filipino.

      • Ellen Dibble

        It’s possible he/she is calling it like he sees it, and hasn’t been in the Philippines since before the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) came into being and with it clear definitions for this diagnosis.  In World War II, I believe psychological injuries were referred to as “battle fatigue,” but people here refer to alcoholism, which might not have been seen as related to war experiences at all.  And that’s just in America.  In the Philippines, they may have been using the terminology inherited from the World War I era, which was something else that I can’t recall.  But my impression from all I’ve read is that part of the tragedy of PTSD is that a person can seem so totally all right — until he or she blows his or her brains out, or is revealed to be seriously addicted to drugs, legal or illegal, or that his or her family has been seeing their loved one as “no there there” for years on end, running on automatic, a shadow of who they were.  Soldiers might be exceedingly grateful to have survived at all, and might think their best future lies in totally suppressing the jitters, the jumpiness, etc., etc.  But where this might be manageable within the regimented familiarity of the functioning military unit, it can fall apart dramatically at home.   Irony.  Home cursed home.
             But if the Filipinos have some secret cure or preventive, I’d like to hear it.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Ellen,  The WW-I term was shell-shock.  My grandfather was a victim of shell-shock, but evidently recovered pretty well.  I heard of no, or remember no lasting evidence, except his actual injury, that finally killed him in late sixties.

          • Ellen Dibble

            Hi.  Yes, shell-shock.  I’ve been watching the PBS series All Creatures Great and Small (and other Masterpiece Theater and detective series too, many on that era) which talks about soldiers returning from the Boer War, the Great War, or World War II, the way the British society/culture made accommodations for individuals and families affected and so on.  There are some writers who have direct experience and can relate it.  That is, they can try.  
                It seems to me that the way women of my generation experienced our fathers, the veterans — we coming of age along with Women’s Liberation — was that the generation of our fathers might seem fine, but compared to their sons (long hair, rock music, LSD, Haight Ashbury, Woodstock, civil rights marches, peace and love), they were “suits,” regimented in ways that were inexplicable.  
                I don’t know if there’s a scale from 1 to 100 for the impact of war trauma, but … it would be interesting to see if there is a style of culture or family-structure that deals with it best.      Best would be not to have wars and traumas.  Total peace and prosperity.       Good for your grandfather.

      • Anonymous

        Interesting thought that it may be affected by one’s culture or ethnic makeup.  I wonder how many Iraqis, Afghans, etc. suffer from this disease.  Or is their trauma  different than that of a our military personnel with PTSD?

      • http://twitter.com/FilipinoBoston FilipinoBoston

        don’t be such an Hyprocrite.

      • http://twitter.com/FilipinoBoston FilipinoBoston

        one sign of PTSD is being a war freak. by the way I’m only 1/4 Filipino. I am Filipino because I was born in Manila but it doesn’t I’m 100 pure Filipino.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Brother Vet,  Please look at Filipino’s comment, as a way to find help for our Brother Vets.  If PTSD is lower in the Phillipine Military, a study of why IS in order.   If it doesn’t help, it was worth checking.  I am sure there are many factors involved in PTSD, in varying proportions.  Helping the victims, is the REAL goal.  Vietnam era, non-combat vet.

  • Pingback: PTSD And Military Spouses: The U.S. military’s new push to help the spouses of servicemen and women with post-traumatic stress disorder. | The Governor's Focus on Returning Combat Veterans and their Families

  • Bshamale

    Thanks to everyone that tuned into the show today. I hope everyone can get the resources they need not only for their soldiers but for themselves.

    Shamale Dancy

  • ceecee

    Just wanted to bring to the moderator’s attention that, in addition to those veterans who are service connected and suffering from PTSD, there is another large population of veterans who are not “service-connected.”  This means that veterans who served and were injured, were discharged with no VA services or benefits.  There is an 18 month wait list for those veterans to get their applications processed.  I know, because I have been helping a combat veteran (multiple concussions in Iraq), survive without any assistance from the VA.  The VA diagnosed him but is unable to provide services.  We’ve learned that there is a backlog in the hundreds of thousands for veterans waiting to be service connected.  We submitted our application in August of 2010…it’s 10 months later.  My friend has no income, no benefits and is now on SS disability of $1000/month.  He would be homeless without my support.  He also suffers from PTSD.  There was no mention of this additional challenge for “caregivers” on this morning’s program.  My friend wants help, he’s been asking for it, the VA just can’t get it to him fast enough.  VA: please process the applications faster.  Caregiver?  I’m keeping him alive.

  • Peter

    Question: What is the military doing as far as preventative medicine against PTSD?

  • Anonymous

    I do not the military is doing very much to reverse the energy cultivated to kill other people.  Most are simply released and returned to civilian life with very little support or intervention.  I have a daughter who was a Marine and married Marine, both seeing combat up close and personal.  After two tours of Iraq and leaving the service, neither have found jobs, and their son, almost 7 years old, is disruptive in his early educational classes.  The father spends a lot of time online at night, and withdrew from burying his father last month in Georgia.  My daughter feels as though her service did not bring success, but to a large degree heartache.  Because of what she was exposed to she is unable to have any more children.  So what is the solution.  They both returned home different as I knew they would, but because of the isolation and the rejection by this society they don’t feel good about their service for this country.  How do they bounce back and get back into civilization?

    • Anonymous

      Talk and share with others.  I AM A FORMER veitnam era vet, got out returne retired for 10 yrs after doing 22yrs, returned as a civilian.  Cared for soldiers, their dependents and TBI victims.  The most common issue along with exposures to explosions, was undiagnosed or minimally addressed was PTSD.  I recognized and realalized if the soldier or spouse was given opportunity to voice concerns it was forthcpoming, participating and they appeared satisfied with the effort.  however the leadership and command was less receptive.  I withdrew my request for retirement during the first Gulf War,  because the service often ignored behavioral issue no matter cause unless could be labled pre-existing.  Suffering my own 3 severe TBI, family, freinds, and relatives experiences your frustration and I YOU DAUGHTER and son-in-law frustration.  I was Army, FATHER wAS Marine – Korean War, life long Alcholic but always a Marine- Semper Fi!  Goodluck and thank you and yours for my freedom. 

  • Anonymous

    I wanted to suggest the website http://www.MilitaryMentalHealth.org This website provides free, anonymous mental health screenings to military service members and their families.  The website screeens for PTSD, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, alcohol use disorders and bipolar disorder.  Once a person completes a screening they are given a list of resources they can reach out to if they feel they need help.

  • Pingback: PTSD Affects Entire Families – Caring for the Caregivers « Off The Base

  • Anonymous

    The military chain of command need to include the family, at minimum children and spouse in therapy sessions.  TBI and PTSD is a family ordeal.  Why would anyone want to contiue to jeopardize their families well being, and at the same time avoid behavioral health intervention.  I would suspect retention and job performance would greatly be negatively affected.

  • http://twitter.com/FilipinoBoston FilipinoBoston

    My friend said there is PTSD in the Philippine Military. it is not reported or some soldiers don’t say anything. the percentage is unknown which is disturbing.

    • tomcatters

      want to conduct a study for that if i had a time..

  • Puremcmae

    I am a military wife and my husband is on his 5th deployment and I think I have PTSD myself but there is NO help for me only how to help him. As military wifes we are to be the backbone of the family while he is away take care of the house and kids all on our own with no family nere by to help, we must do it alone and are not to cry and let our soldier now that things are tuff. Smiles only never tears when they call if you do he could be to destracted down range and get him self killed or others is what the miltary teaches us.
      I have a feer every time my doorbeel rings, when I see white buses full of troops I brake down crying, freak out when I dont have my phone next to me at all times. And this not just while he is away but all the time even when he is home.
    I would like to see something for the wives with PTSD we are the forgotten. I by no means want to sound like a whiner but the goverment has set up programs for the service members and the children but nothing for the wives

    • Linda Bosia

      Puremcmae,

      You are not alone in your situation. Tens of thousands of other spouses are going through the same feelings of isolation, lonliness, and burnout due to “single parent” syndrome. Fortunately, there are now many resources available to military family members and significant others. I served for nearly 20 years as a Navy Spouse, and back then we were truly on our own. Now there are information and services  available such as the Workshops offered through Fleet and Family Support Programs (www.cnic.navy.mil/navylifesw), free and CONFIDENTIAL counseling services are also availanle to you and your husband and children should you need it. Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (www.nmcrs.org) can lend a hand with financial counseling, thrift shops, budget for baby, and financial assistamce to those who qualify. Military One Source is a Mega-website with all kinds of information and free downloadable information as well as free 24-hour phonleine for information and resources throughout the world–call  1(800) 342-9647 or http://www.militaryonesource.com.Please know that in the last decade, the military has began to understand the needs of spouses and continues to beef up and roll out some awesome programs….no, you are not alone.

      Respectfully,

      Linda Bosia, M.Ed
      Education Services Coordinator
      Fleet and Family Support Programs
      Bayview Hills Branch
      1967 Sky Harbor Rd.
      San Diego, CA 92139
      858.431.6344
      linda.bosia@mwrsw.com          

  • Guest

    All the advice I hear from several websites are good but what about how the spouse is supposed to start the reach out process. He has been deployed twice- and 70% disabled. If I leave him alone or if I try to interact with him, most of the time it is the same reaction. Been a few times I showed my weakness because the tension just won’t let up and the tears just won’t stop. Then I regather myself and get back up. But in the moments of my weakness is the only time I see and feel the man I fell in love with. I have had deep conversations with him, worried about his well being and he says he appreciates me talking to him rather then assuming things but the conversation automatically goes to how he has been and continues to be the victim. He can never say anything positive. I know he hurts, but I can only take so much of his actions that make me feel like I mean nothing, I am not good enough and it’s over. Two 3 year olds to take care of and him. I will die before I give up on him… But I don’t want to fall in the same depression and want to remain strong for myself, the kids and him. By no means do I want to take away the impact and power of his and other soldiers emotions and devalue the things they have and continue to go through. But how do I stay strong when all seems gone and how do I get him to see that myself and the kids need him. How can I get him to realize that not everything is negative and life is worth living and that it’s going to be ok?

  • http://www.ukbeadscharms.com/bracelets-charms Asdgdcasd

    Top Italian Charms – Girls’ ChoiceHere are the ones who have left the female in the style globe obsessed with the Italian hyperlink charm bracelets and hence they became a well-liked option.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 28, 2014
This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

American companies bailing out on America. They call it inversion. Is it desertion?

Jul 28, 2014
U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and our uneasy peace right now.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 25, 2014
Guest Renee McLeod of Somerville, MA's Petsi pies shows off her wares. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

There is nothing more American than a piece of pie. We taste and talk pies.

 
Jul 25, 2014
Pallbearers carry a coffin out of a military transport plane during a ceremony to mark the return of the first bodies, of passengers and crew killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, from Ukraine at Eindhoven military air base, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

Secretary of State Kerry to Israel. Obamacare back in the courts. Mourning as remains of Malaysia Flight 17 victims come home. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

More »
Comment
 
The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

More »
Comment
 
Hillary Clinton: ‘The [Russian] Reset Worked’
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took time out of her global book tour to talk to us about Russia, the press and the global crises shaking the administration she left two years ago.

More »
1 Comment