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Beyond Marching: some ways to make a difference

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a scourge among our combat veterans, both men and women who sacrificed to provide defense services to our country so that the rest of us could enjoy our very freedoms and liberties every day.

There are many ways, beyond Marching, to make a significant difference for PTSD sufferers. Here are some ways, briefly:

1 Donate to PTSD causes, especially those that focus on providing health and well-being for the unfortunate PTSD afflicted.

2 Communicate with your elected representatives that they should elevate government support for all veterans, but particularly for those veterans with PTSD.

3 Join in community efforts to address homelessness because so many veterans with PTSD are homeless, adrift with insufficient shelter, food, clothing, and medical care.

4 Don't judge a family member with PTSD. Understand that the person has been through some very troublesome combat experiences that have left them mentally and psychologically impaired by those experiences.

5 Be active with family members with PTSD. Participating in family activities helps to inform the PTSD person that he/she is loved and valued and wanted.

6 Show respect, no matter what immediate difficulty or problems the person my be experiencing at the moment. Respect confers dignity on the person, who may believe he/she has no self-worth.

7 Become as knowledgeable about PTSD as you can. The more you know and understand, the more competent you'll be in grasping the burden of the afflicted and assisting in his/her recovery and adjustment.

8 Be an active listener when he/she wants to talk. It is not the time to offer advice, but rather, the time to let the person talk about his/her experiences and the effects of those experiences on his/her life.

9 Above all, be patient. Recovery from PTSD is a long-term journey--much like my 90 Mile March. The March intends to illustrate that a journey to recovery from PTSD takes many steps over many periods of time.

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