By Shannon Collins
May 10, 2016
Former President George W. Bush and Britain's Prince Harry discuss the topic of post-traumatic stress during the 2016 Invictus Games Symposium on Invisible Wounds in Orlando, Fla., May 8, 2016.ORLANDO, Fla. (May 10, 2016) -- Great Britain's Prince Harry, former President George W. Bush, and service members from each of their nations led a discussion at the 2016 Invictus Games Symposium on Invisible Wounds presented, May 8, by the George W. Bush Institute.
(DoD photo by EJ Hersom)
Former First Lady Laura Bush said she and the Bush Institute leadership were grateful the symposium was addressing an issue that affects so many veterans, as well as their family members, many of whom become their caregivers.
"George and I are committed to caring for our veterans and their families through the Bush Institute," she said. "We celebrate the service and sacrifice of our veterans at the 100-kilometer bike ride we host at our ranch and at the Warrior Open, a competitive golf tournament held in Dallas. We listen to the warriors tell their stories -- their triumphs and their struggles. Through these testimonies, we've recognized that the invisible wounds are not treated in the same way as the visible wounds, and that's why we're here today, to educate more people about those invisible wounds."
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Prince Harry said the Invictus Games in 2014 in London smashed the stigma around physical injuries, and that he hopes this year's Invictus Games can do the same for invisible injuries.
The prince, who served in Afghanistan as a combat helicopter pilot, recently acknowledged that he has post-traumatic stress to bring light to the importance of recognizing invisible injuries. He said the key to fixing the problem is speaking out and using the resources available.
"I've spoken to everybody who has severe PTSD, through to minor depression, anxiety, whatever it may be, and everybody says the same thing: if you can deal with it soon enough, if you deal with it quick enough and actually have the ability and platform to be able to speak about it openly, then you can fix these problems," he said. "If you can't fix them, you can at least find coping mechanisms. There's no reason why people should be hiding in shame after they've served their country."
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