Military families: Losing My Father at War, One Letter at a Time

Conversations - two chairs and table - military families

Photo by katie dureault (Creative Commons)

Military families communicate during deployments, but the words and information is filtered and sometimes self-censored.

Kate Hoit writes about the frustration and fog that came with her service in Iraq. Trying to stay focused on her military job while her father—himself a veteran of another war—slipped into illness and dementia.

Read the story here.

Military families: about this entry

This story appears as part of the Letter from Italy, 1944 Conversations series. Click here to see the index.

PTSD: What is it?

PTSD graphic from NIMHPTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a real condition, but just what it is and how to understand its effects is an emerging discipline.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) offers a wealth of resources for people seeking a better understanding of PTSD.

They emphasize that many people have been exposed to “potentially traumatic events.” They consider post traumatic stress a widespread condition that can hinder one’s daily life.

A video on the landing page offers insight into treatment of military service members, but says that such treatments can be offered to anyone.

PTSD information

Their “landing page” for PTSD-related information is at this link.

This page includes reliable scientific and medical information about understanding this emerging field. We hope you will find it helpful.

Fixing the Failed Elevator Pitch: Translating Military Skills for Civilian Employers

Link

On one level this link has nothing whatsoever to do with PTSD. On another level, it could be a best friend for a traumatized veteran.

With the many challenges of reentry, it is already difficult to answer the question, “What did you do in the service?”  A veteran struggling with PTSD might find it nearly impossible.

This concrete tool, developed and promoted by a retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel, works like a translator to turn experiences into résumés that any civilian employer can read.

Fixing the Failed Elevator Pitch: Translating Military Skills for Civilian Employers – NYTimes.com.

MST themed retreat at Project New Hope April 12

Project New Hope will offer an MST workshop in AprilA retreat on MST—military sexual trauma—issues is being offered on the weekend of April 12-14 in Shutesbury, Mass.

Project New Hope is a resource that supports military veterans and their families. Unlike other resources focused solely on the vet, Project New Hope considers the veteran’s entire network of loved ones who also are affected by the veteran’s service and re-entry into civilian life.

The April 12 retreat is one of a series being offered this year with different focuses. They include “Gold Star & Survivors,” “Family,” and “Women Vets.” The registration deadline for this retreat is March 31.

The Rev. Todd Farnsworth, pastor of the Belchertown Congregational Church and a retreat presenter, said that “more men than women have signed up so far” for the MST retreat. Mr. Farnsworth will be offering a workshop on the discipline of “Tapping Prayer” as an aid in relieving trauma and anxiety in a spiritual framework.

Details for the MST retreat

Retreat attendance is free of charge for participants. All veterans are welcome. According to the Web site, participants need to bring “twin sheets, blanket (or sleeping bag), pillow, and personal hygiene items to include a towel and appropriate clothing for the season. [You should also bring] medication and inform Project New Hope Inc of any allergies.”

MST – Military sexual trauma hazard some female vets face

MST is an injury that overlays PTSDThe growing exposure of MST (Military Sexual Trauma) stirs both heartache and compassion among families and friends.

Truthful numbers are only beginning to emerge. A study cited in this New York Times article says that of homeless (not all) female veterans surveyed, 53 percent said they had experienced military sexual trauma.

This suggests that the injury is an underlying cause of homelessness among a slight majority of female veterans.

MST article in the New York Times

The NYT article profiles several female veterans who have MST. It also offers links to several helpful resources for homeless and traumatized veterans.

Read the article here.

PTSD Music therapy can help veterans overcome PTSD

PTSD music therapy through guitar lessons for vetsPTSD music therapy can involve very simple tasks. One treatment for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) suffered by veterans involves music and guitar. The founder of the program is himself a Vietnam veteran.

National Public Radio (NPR) ran a feature story on Mark Duran, the founder of Guitars for Vets, in July 2011. Here is the story description:

Guitar Heroism: Veterans Fight PTSD With Music

An alternative treatment for veterans suffering the effects of PTSD and traumatic brain injury is growing in popularity, as is its wait list. The PTSD music therapy program, started by a Vietnam veteran, uses the soothing sounds of the guitar to help heal the vivid memory of bomb blasts, gunfire and other lingering symptoms of combat.

Go to the story page (transcript and audio file) by clicking here.

PTSD: The Life and Death of Clay Hunt

PTSD profile  on clay hunt

Clay Hunt

The newsmagazine program 60 Minutes aired a story about a brave Marine veteran whose struggle with PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder – led him to take his own life for reasons that may not be clear at first.

60 Minutes has provided a “landing page” for this story that includes a link to the broadcast itself, a transcript of the story, and other resources.

View the Resource

You can go to the landing page by clicking here.