It’s a new year here at Faces of Combat and we have set some pretty lofty goals. In the past couple of years, we have given out over 2,000 copies of our book to veterans’ organizations, veterans themselves, or to those who love a troubled veteran. This year, we want to reach even more.
We have all seen the movies or read the reports in the media where some veteran has supposedly gone “postal” due to their PTSD. We wish that stereotype would just stop. I have spoken with many, many veterans and, in reality; those with PTSD are more likely to hurt themselves than others. According to the current reports, it is to the tune of 22 per day. Twenty-two veterans per day take their own lives and that is only the number of those who succeed.
Many veterans try for years to hold their demons at bay through a combination of drugs and alcohol and many have ended up in trouble with the law due to this self-medication. Before we throw the key away on these veterans, we want to reach them. Throughout this country, there are now special veterans’ courts. A veteran can choose to go through this system for their non-violent offense and the judge is then able to consider the veteran’s military service and combat experience in relation to their sentencing. Sentencing can even result in inpatient, intensive PTSD treatment. It is these veterans we want to reach in 2016. (Please note that these courts are ONLY for non-violent offenders. The veterans I have spoken with feel that those veterans who use PTSD as their defense for their violent, criminal actions are an affront to the tens of thousands of veterans who suffer from PTSD and only encourage the ridiculous stereotype portrayed by Hollywood.)
For 2016, our first goal is to provide copies of our book to the 160 Veteran Justice Outreach Specialists in the country. This will ensure that each veteran who comes through their program will receive a copy of the book and information on our website. Currently, our website has over 200 free resources for veterans and their families. We hope that each of these veterans will read this book, see themselves in it, and get the help that they need before it’s too late. That’s what happened with me and that’s why I do this today.
Also in 2016, we will be preparing and starting our non-traditional healing classes. Like many of you, I’ve been to the Veteran’s Administration. I’ve taken their pills, still take some. I’ve participated in a number of their therapy programs and I have learned an important thing. Not every program works the same for everyone person. We are all different. We all have different values, belief systems, etc. Everything that makes us unique as an individual is exactly what makes it difficult to find just the right therapy for you. So this year, in our local area, we will be offering healing classes using expressive writing, meditation and shamanistic rituals. We hope that by next year, we will be able to offer some of these programs across the country.
Speaking of “across the country”, the first week of April starts my annual Faces of Combat road trip sharing our programs along the I-90 corridor. Last year, I was accompanied east by one set of grandchildren and west by the other set. We had quite a time! If you are a veteran group and you are along the I-90 corridor, I’d be happy to stop in, drop off some books and discuss what we are all about! (Just as an FYI, this trip is fully-funded by me, not our organization. They only provide the books.)
2016 is going to be exciting! If you like what we are doing, visit the “Get Involved” page on our website and join us!
Faces of Combat