Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Schools, churches, court do what they can to ease soldiers' burden

For families with a deployed member, Christmas can be hard, but for too many, it isn't the first hard Christmas they endured. For many others, even with their family all together, it isn't easy.
"Just a few years back, they hid problems out of fear they’d never advance. Last summer, Fort Campbell’s top-ranked enlisted man, Command Sgt. Maj. Alonzo Smith, released a video about treatment for the psychological trauma he faced after nearly losing his leg to an explosion."

That quote is from the article below on how a community steps up to take care of the soldiers and their families. If we are ever really going to defeat PTSD, the whole family must be taken care of.

Oct 30, 2012
October is National Depression Awareness Month, the 101st Airborne Division Command Sgt. Maj. Alonzo Smith talks about his personal experience after his military vehicle was hit by a rocket propelled grenade during his deployment to Afghanistan in 2010.

Depression is a devastating illness that can impact anyone regardless of age, sex or race. The good news is, clinical depression is treatable. If you know someone who is suffering from depression, please urge them to seek treatment. Remind your fellow Soldiers, Family Members and co-workers that seeking treatment is a sign of strength, not a weakness.

Please read this whole story, about 6 pages long but well worth it.

Tenn., steps up for its Fort Campbell soldiers
Schools, churches, court do what they can to ease soldiers' burden
Dec 24, 2012

CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — Sometimes the kids at Minglewood Elementary gather in a conference room to talk, green-clad stick-people drawings decorating the wall behind them.

How many get to talk to Dad on Skype?

All six raise a hand.

How many will have Dad home for Christmas?


How does that make them feel?

Silence for a moment. Then Evelynn Johnson takes a deep breath and adjusts her little purple glasses. Like so many of her classmates, she’s seen too much to sound like the fifth-grader she is.

“What helps me is to not focus on him being gone,” Evelynn says. “One time I cried because my dad was going, and he told me, ‘You are sacrificing for this country. You’re helping out this country just by being my daughter.’ ”

These are the children of the soldiers at Fort Campbell. They’ve never known life without war. And so they don’t know what it’s like to be free of the nervous-stomach cycle of parents fighting overseas, coming home a different person with every tour, calming down just in time for another call to duty.

“PTSD is contagious, as it turns out,” said Dr. Robert Begtrup, a psychiatrist who launched a school-based program for soldiers’ children. Now he’s in private practice, working with children in Clarksville and other Middle Tennessee areas.

He sees some who wake screaming at 2 a.m. because that’s what their parents do. He sees families isolating because they don’t feel understood, living a war that’s been fought without most Americans sacrificing a single thing. Even though Clarksville does all it can to support them, he said, these damaged families are being called “the new normal” by some.
read more here