Sign In

Veterans Battling PTSD

June 25, 2020

Amid recovery efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans were stunned last month by the horrific death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, who was killed while in police custody. Sadly, the subsequent protests, riots and looting in cities from Seattle to Miami to New York have increased chaos and divisiveness when our greatest need now is for authentic communication.

Understandably, some observers say we now suffer from “crisis fatigue.” While all of these issues and events warrant our full attention, at the same time, they cast a long shadow on other conditions as well, of which we should also remain informed and empathetic. Congress reminds us of this every year by designating June as “National PTSD Awareness Month” and June 27 as “National PTSD Awareness Day.”

American veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be easily forgotten. Many served their country and returned home bearing both physical and mental disabilities for which there is no cure. PTSD is often the most punishing and the national suicide rate among veterans with PTSD stands at 20 per day. Consequently, these veterans are unlikely to gather in groups to protest anything. They don’t seek photo-ops or press conferences.

The sad paradox is that veterans with PTSD who have the greatest need for help are often among the least capable of asking for it. That’s because they’ve been haunted by their own experiences and have been worn down by their flashbacks; nightmares; anger; depression; anxiety and resulting self-isolation. PTSD often has a profoundly adverse impact on their spouses and children too.

For decades veterans with PTSD have also been challenged by widespread public misperception about PTSD:

That someone who suffers with PTSD should be able to “reason” through it.

That the person who suffers from PTSD is violent and unbalanced.

That no treatment works.

That veterans with PTSD are simply looking for a disability check.

In addition to these obstacles the “stay-at-home” restrictions from COVID-19 add insult to injury for those making the effort to find their path forward. At K9 Partners for Patriots based in Brooksville, we help veterans with PTSD, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and military sexual trauma (MST) with a free, 6-month training program in which we train the veteran to train a K9 partner to become his or her service dog. But, the current COVID-19 restrictions preclude us from interviewing new veteran applicants; or bringing in dogs to test them. We cannot yet conduct counseling sessions with individuals or groups such as our spouses group, or, the female veterans group.

We anxiously await reopening without restriction so that we may be fully available to our growing family of veterans. For them, please know that the scars of PTSD are invisible but just as real as the physical ones they’ve endured for all of us.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more