June 20, 2021

This week’s guests during our one hour radio broadcast with host Dale Throneberry:

  • US Navy Vice Adm. (ret.) John Bird, USAA Senior Vice President, Military Affairs
  • US Army Lt. Gen. (ret.) Mike Linnington, CEO of Wounded Warrior Project
  • Cindy Ross, Author of “Walking Toward Peace”
Wounded Warrior Project

Wounded Warrior Project and USAA

June is PTSD Awareness Month, and according to a 2020 Wounded Warrior Project survey of the wounded warriors it serves, 83% report living with the symptoms of PTSD, and 30% reported having thoughts of suicide in the last two weeks. USAA, an organization founded  by military for the military community to include active service members, veterans and their families is working with Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and other nonprofit organizations to raise awareness of PTSD, its effects on veterans and military families, and resources and information that can be helpful to those impacted by PTSD and their families.

US Navy Vice Adm. (ret.) John Bird, USAA Senior Vice President, Military Affairs, and US Army Lt. Gen. (ret.) Mike Linnington, CEO of Wounded Warrior Project, would like to speak with you about:

  • The continued threat of PTSD to U.S. veterans and active servicemembers. In a recent WWP survey of the wounded warriors it serves, almost all (93%) reported experiencing a severe mental injury during their military service, and 83% reported experiencing more than one. Injuries include PTSD, anxiety, and depression.  While PTSD symptoms often start within three months of a traumatic event, they can sometimes emerge years later.
  • Barriers that those with PTSD face in getting treatment. Stigma and long-held misconceptions on PTSD are real. According to a new survey from Cohen Veterans Network, two-thirds (67%) of Americans believe the majority of veterans experience PTSD, that one-in-four (26%) believe veterans suffering from PTSD are violent/dangerous, and nearly a quarter think PTSD is not treatable. WWP’s survey underscores these misconceptions finding that 29% of wounded warriors had difficulty getting mental health care, put off getting care or did not get the care they need due to barriers such as personal schedule, fear that treatment may bring up painful or traumatic memories, inconsistent treatment, uncomfortable with existing resources, or felt they would be considered weak for seeking treatment
  • PTSD is treatable. Nearly a quarter of people believe PTSD is not treatable. However, there are evidence-based and effective treatment options for PTSD. Numerous veteran nonprofit organizations like Wounded Warrior ProjectCohen Veterans NetworkVets4Warriors and Strong Star Training Initiative that offer resources, services and treatment to those affected by PTSD.

Cindy Ross, Author of “Walking Toward Peace”

Walking Toward Peace explores the intimate stories of veterans who have wrestled with PTSD.

Through a process called “ecotherapy,” spending time in nature to promote healing and mental health, they have found new tools to deal with issues resulting from combat experiences: survivor’s guilt, nightmares, lack of trust, depression, hypervigilance, thoughts of suicide, and lack of purpose.

Some veterans profiled in this book spent months on long-distance expeditions such as hiking the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail or canoeing the 2,320-mile Mississippi River. For others, however, brief excursions in the outdoors can offer an opportunity for healing.

Author Cindy Ross shares current research and perspectives of professional therapists and provides information on organizations devoted to healing veterans in the outdoors. Through the veterans’ collective stories of wartime traumas and their present lives, what becomes clear is that anyone suffering from any form of PTSD may discover the powerful comfort and healing that can be found in the outdoors.

Cindy Ross is director of River House PA – Healing in Nature, a nonprofit that coordinates with Pennsylvania-area Veteran Affairs hospitals to take veterans into nature to hike, paddle, and mountain bike. Ross is the author of nine books and lives in New Ringgold, Pennsylvania.

For more information: riverhousepa.wordpress.com

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