Post-traumatic stress disorder affects an estimated 10 percent of Gulf War veterans and a further 11 percent of those who served in Afghanistan more recently. Researchers, government officials, the medical community and others have worked hard to develop treatments for this affliction in the past few years, while veterans have turned to a range of supports to cope, including certain medications and rehabilitation programs.
Awareness has long been held as the first step toward more comprehensive treatment of PTSD among the veteran community, and one Marine recently took to walking 5,000 miles to get the word out about the disorder. Now, one new program and a government initiative are poised to positively impact the veteran community through more successful treatment of PTSD.
Healing in the wilderness
ABC 23 recently reported that Outward Bound, a nationwide wilderness program, has begun to focus its efforts on helping veterans with PTSD heal in nature. Thanks to donations, the source pointed out that this particular program is free for veterans, while the Wounded Heroes Fund in Kern County in California is pushing for more donations to send 10 more former servicemembers to the wilderness for the healing process.
According to the news provider, participants are faced with challenges ranging from tough hikes to those that are more focused on the mental aspects of recovery, while the professionals who run the show also work to instill new skills into veterans. This includes communication and other soft skills, as well as methods to navigate the normalcy of a workday after returning from combat overseas.
ABC 23 noted that both Outward Bound and the Wounded Heroes Fund are currently accepting donations to help send more veterans off on these highly effective wilderness ventures in hopes of mitigating the tougher aspects of PTSD.
Puppies for the win
Fox News reported that the House of Representatives is currently weighing a bill that would fund a new program at the Veterans Administration to pair veterans and puppies in an effort to rehabilitate those with PTSD. Similar programs have been around for years, though this would be the first government-funded one.
The source stated that the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers Act, also known as the PAWS Act, will put roughly $10 million into the initial venture, and then build out depending upon how the measures play out.