Battles are still being fought by many veterans in Sumner and surrounding counties.
Back home, there’s another battle to take on — post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide.
Local and state veteran groups are hosting a PTSD and suicide prevention town hall meeting 6-9 p.m. Jan. 20 at First Baptist Church in Hendersonville. Veterans of all conflicts and active duty military, as well as their families, and first responders are encouraged to attend.
The conflicts for many veterans are not over as memories of war provide that PTSD has major consequences: depression, family conflicts, homelessness and suicide. It can be triggered by a terrifying event, either witnessed or experienced. Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
“More American service members, both active duty and veterans, have committed suicide over the past decade than made the supreme sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan combined,” said Barry Rice, president of the Tennessee State Council, Vietnam Veterans of America. “When called to duty, Vietnam veterans answered. Now, as citizens, we are answering the call of our brothers in arms, and families, in the darkest hour of need.”
There are 2.3 million veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and somewhere between 2 percent and 14 percent have been diagnosed with PTSD. According to a 2006 analysis of military records from the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study, between 15 percent and 19 percent of Vietnam veterans experienced PTSD at some point after the war.
The Jan. 20 meeting, hosted by the Tennessee State Council, Vietnam Veterans of America and Sumner VVA Chapter 240, will include presentations on the history and causes of PTSD and symptoms and treatment options, talks from treatment providers, and time to visit with veterans service officers.