Sunday, June 11, 2017

Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program Spreads Healing PTSD

Local veterans are finding help through peer support
OUR MILITARY: Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program aims to help PTSD, depression sufferers
Lockport Union Sun Journal
BY TIM FENSTER
June 10, 2017
"I just picked myself up off the floor of the Humvee and continued to do my job," Greg Conrad
Joed Viera/Staff Photographer
Members of the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program enjoy a recent afternoon together at a local stable

When Greg Conrad thinks back to his two tours in Iraq, he sees a striking image that summarizes his experiences at war — a bomb going off.

While serving with the U.S. Army in overseas in 2007-08 and 2009-10, Conrad was involved in five separate enemy attacks using improvised explosive devices. He managed to avoid injury from the bombs themselves, but the attacks took a severe toll on his mind and body.

"My battalion commander lost his legs (in an IED explosion)," he said. "It's one of those things that just stays in your brain. It brings up crazy emotions."

In another attack, on a summer night, he was standing in the turret of a Humvee when a roadside bomb went off. The driver pulled off the road to evade further enemy ordnance, and drove into a raw sewage ditch alongside the road. Conrad was thrown forward into the turret ring, injuring discs in his back. But, like with so many other injuries he suffered during the war, he never stopped and gave his body the rest and recuperation it needed.
In 2015, Conrad was connected to the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program. Unlike traditional mental health programs that involve trained counselors and psychologists, the Dwyer program connects veterans with other veterans.
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