Though the fight may seem like it already ended, coming home is not what it used to be for our beloved military people. For some, there is a never-ending war in their minds. Repetitive sounds of bombs going off, children crying, the voices of their fallen comrades, and showers of bullets are probably killing them in their sleep right now.
Depression is a very common symptom of PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is commonly known as “shell shock” or “combat stress”. The symptoms brought by combat stress can be very agonizing for war veterans. “To be diagnosed with PTSD, you usually have to be directly affected by the traumatic event, believing that your own life or those you care about are in danger,” says psychiatrist Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, MD, chief of psychiatry at Medstar Washington Hospital Center.
Combat stress gives a very heavy burden which is likened to the feeling of having the battlefield inside the mind. A lot of veterans would suffer from depression brought by the intense amount of stress from their experiences during the war. According to Alicia H. Clark, PsyD, “Working effectively with stress requires taking control of our responsibility and our attitude.”
Now, you probably are feeling the urge to help out or reach out to these people. We all have been blessed with brave men and women who are ready to risk their lives even if it means suffering physically and mentally.
Now is the time to show our gratitude by helping them out in whatever situation they are in right now. “During a moment of offering kindness, there’s a certain kind of connection that can happen, especially if the other person receives it graciously,” says John Amodeo Ph.D., MFT.
The question is, with the feeling of gratitude we have in our hearts, how can we help them fight depression?
Reach Out And Talk To Them
Find someone whom you can thank for serving in the military. For people who are suffering from depression, it is a great help to make them feel that someone is there for them. Moreover, it would really have a greater effect on them to find out that some stranger is grateful for their lives.
If you feel like saying “thank you” is not enough, do what you think will make our heroes feel good. Take them out for lunch. Drive them to your friends and families. Let them share their inspiring stories to your loved ones.
Let them know that they are important and everything they have experienced is recognized. There are people who acknowledge their greatness and contribution to our country.
Volunteer And Initiate Professional Help
We all know that the best way to approach depression is through professional help and proper treatment. If you are not a professional, do not stop helping. You can always volunteer and give a hand not only to our soldiers but also to institutions and organizations who have the same mission. There are several groups and organizations out there that want to help out war veterans.
Soldier On is an organization that offers free service to veterans. You can do your research to find some institutions near you that would cater to volunteers. You can also offer to connect mental health professionals to war veterans who are not yet connected with one.
Share the truth about the condition of our war veterans. This is one way to show that you are really grateful for their sacrifices. Talk about this to your friends and families. Maybe, like you, they will also feel grateful for the sacrifices of our heroes.
One reality about the mental health field for militaries is that there are not enough psychiatrists for veterans as reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune. If you are a medical professional, a psychiatrist to be specific, another way to help out is to offer your services to the veterans. Talk about this need for mental health care. Who knows, you might just meet someone who is willing to help out our veterans!