The following is a guest post by Andrew Huber, Liaison Specialist for the Veterans History Project (VHP).
While most people who serve in the military never see combat, the reality of military service is that it is a stressful, sometimes dangerous vocation. Whether it is from experiences in battle, as a prisoner of war or as a result of trauma such as sexual assault, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects countless numbers of veterans and is a constant concern for military leaders.
In recognition of June as National PTSD Awareness Month, VHP is hosting a special panel discussion on PTSD, during which experts and PTSD survivors will speak about how PTSD disproportionately affects female and minority veterans, the current state of PTSD prevention and research and what can be done about this troubling trend. Free and open to the public, the event will be held at noon on Monday, June 27th in the Whittall Pavilion of the Library of Congress Jefferson Building. Light refreshments will be provided.
The discussion will be moderated by former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Karen Fears, who is a PTSD survivor and was active in the “Taking Charge” program, an experimental therapy conducted by the U.S. Veterans Administration and the Seattle Psychology Center, during which participants used boundary setting, roleplay and self-defense classes in order to facilitate the healing process and be able to feel safe again.
The panelists are highly regarded experts in the field of PTSD research: Dr. Tara Galovski, the Director of the Women’s Health Sciences Division of the National Center for PTSD, is an expert on using Cognitive Processing Therapy to treat PTSD along with gender differences in recovery from PTSD. Dr. Glenda Wrenn is the Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute Division of Behavioral Health at Morehouse School of Medicine, an Army veteran and a West Point graduate. She has published multiple scientific papers on PTSD, racial differences in barriers to treatment and psychological resilience. Dr. Elspeth Ritchie is the Chief Clinical Officer of the D.C. Department of Mental Health and a retired Army Colonel who served multiple tours in Iraq and Somalia. Ritchie spent five years as the top advocate for mental health in the office of the Army Surgeon General and is an internationally recognized expert on mental trauma. Maurice DeCaul is a former Marine, author, poet and playwright. DeCaul is the author of Holding it Down, and Sleep Song, a staff author for the military lifestyle website Task and Purpose and is a contributor to the New York Times, among many other publications.
If you are in the area at noon on Monday, June 27th, I hope you will join us for this fascinating discussion, as we address the tough issues of how gender and race play a role in PTSD, and how we can prevent women and minority veterans from experiencing PTSD at a disproportionate rate. Contact me at [email protected] with questions or to RSVP.
The panel will be recorded for webcast and made accessible at this link soon after the event.