Returning from active duty with a serious injury can make adjustment to civilian life very difficult for veterans today. Whether or not an individual suffers a physical wound, he or she may also bear psychological scars that are invisible yet still dangerous, and vets with these ailments who don't receive treatment may end up with serious complications over time. This is where nonprofit groups and agencies can step in to ensure that these individuals, who have sacrificed so much while serving their country, get the best care possible, tailored to their specific and unique needs.
Today, there are many different programs that offer aid to wounded vets, with some regions containing several. The following examples, both from the Miami area, are different from one another but can each help service members coping with trauma. This goes to show the range of options that exist.
"Life can be hectic and this may exacerbate the trauma of living with a serious injury or disability."
Taking to the seas
The relaxing nature of the ocean makes it an ideal venue for therapeutic pursuits and, according to the Miami Herald, a group called Veterans Ocean Adventures is harnessing that power to help combat veterans deal with trauma. Life can be hectic and this may exacerbate the trauma of living with a serious injury or disability. The program's founder, Branson Rector, explained that scuba diving takes individuals to a more tranquil world. The organization also offers sailing, fishing and rock climbing classes and excursions.
Veterans Ocean Adventures is run by volunteer staff, and allows veterans to connect with one another as well as experience nature. The peace of the ocean and the camaraderie of interacting with others can fight back against the mental strain and isolation that have become scourges to service members around the world.
Veterans who want to take one of Rector's expeditions don't pay out of pocket – The Miami Herald reported that the organization is funded via donations from private sources, as well as a grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs. These sources are enough to fund trips for between 400 and 600 vets a year.
Relaxing with yoga
While the sea is a great place to relax, peace for wounded vets is available on land, too. A separate Miami Herald report highlighted another of the region's programs that can help deal with both physical and mental trauma – yoga classes. The physical component of the yoga sessions is only one piece of the puzzle. Warrior Wednesday, the monthly yoga class associated with veterans group Mission United, is designed around both meditation and communication. Vets and civilians alike can fight stress through community spirit and physical exercises alike.
The news source explained that the most recent session of Warrior Wednesday focused on mindfulness. Its host, yoga instructor Molly Birkholm, runs a practice called Warriors at Ease specifically aimed at veterans with physical wounds or mental trauma. Physical yoga exercises accompanied mental tasks, and the end goal was less restlessness for participants. Trauma can follow vets home from active duty and keep them up at night – programs such as Warrior Wednesday are designed to resolve these feelings and keep individuals from running into mental roadblocks on their way to reintegration into civilian life.