Texas — September of this year is a heavy month for US veterans. The current crisis in Afghanistan and the 9/11 anniversary have caused a lot of trauma to those who served in the army. It is also the month of suicide prevention, and veterans carry one of the greatest risks of suicide.
About 14% of all suicides in the United States are veterans, and the number does not appear to have declined.
Jim Peniman-Morlin was once a soldier. Now he is a family member.
Six fathers, Cedar Park, toured two times in Afghanistan in 2003 and in Iraq in 2004.
“I was a rifle captain,” he said.
He says he has overcome much of his trauma and loss, but his other companions are not so lucky and some of his friends are killing themselves.
“Anyone who participates in the war on terror will know that there are multiple people who committed suicide,” he said.
According to the latest figures from the Department of Veterans Affairs, about 18 veterans die each day in the United States.
In Texas, the suicide rate is 17.2, and for veterans it is 32.4.
“They joined the army because they wanted to help people, protect people, and become a strong pillar of their community,” Peniman Morin said. “It can be really hard to set it aside and realize that you may need help yourself.”
A retired Army lieutenant said last month that the crisis in Afghanistan caused his trauma.
It has been the work of many veterans since the Taliban ruled the country.
“We have many calls for people to come back to treatment because all of these memories are coming for them now,” Street said.
Spectrum News spoke to Street during a training session in Austin.
“Move your eyes from left to right activates the relaxed side of the nervous system, which also helps process stacked images,” says Street.
This psychotherapy is called accelerated resolution therapy or ART.
Instead of speaking, it treats trauma through physical and emotional associations. This is especially useful for PTSD veterans.
“We have trained at more than 20 active military bases using ART as a clinical technology,” she said.
Penniman-Morin says he currently relies on the buddy system for support, but he’s too aware. If the trauma is not treated, it can lead to suicide.
In the 2021 Annual Report of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the suicide rate for veterans who recently used the Department of Veterans Health decreased by 2.4%.
However, veterans who did not use VHA increased by 2.5%.
Therefore, for veterans like Peniman Morin, treatments like ART can make a difference between life and death.
Special training for therapists helps veterans with PTSD
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