Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Veterans Getting Help Through Photography Class

Veterans Getting Help Through Photography Class
Class is helping former soliders cope with post-traumatic stress disorder
By Damian Trujillo
Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013

They spent the morning snapping pictures of anything that seemed interesting to them.

“Wow, that’s a nice picture,” said Ramon Ontiveros before he clicked his camera. “I’m learning to be a decent husband. I can’t believe how bad I treated my wife … I see my feelings in my pictures I take.”

Ontiveros fought in the Vietnam War, and now he’s enrolled in a photography therapy class at the Menlo Park Division of the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System.

The class is part of an alternative therapy program for veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental illnesses.

“It’s an alternate way for them to be able to talk about and express themselves as part of their recovery,” art therapist Jeffrey Stadler said.

The program began last summer and averages 10 veterans per 6-week class.

“I was the target of military sexual trauma in boot camp,” U.S. Army veteran Christine Stout-Holmes said.

The veteran said she held in her abuse and became a good soldier, but was no longer able to hold in her depression, and sought help at the VA.
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