Back in the U.S., Pamela Benge, the mother of Alfred Alongo, killed in El Cajon, CA, said, "We came from a war zone, Uganda
If the skillfully employed force of the beloved community helps veterans of war, their families and children, and their providers to heal, it can similarly help survivors of violent loss in our neighborhoods. And law enforcement personnel whose stress levels are off the chart.
Working with thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families has taught me that war trauma -- be it abroad or a result of cumulative, traumatic, war-like violence at home -- operates like an IED blast.
War trauma brings in its wake a collapse of time. The present is engulfed; the past colonizes moment-to-moment experience; and the future is collapsed. Severe PTsxD and all variants of PTspD are characterized by an experience of haunting.
It's January 2007, the first moments of our first Coming Home Project retreat, an opportunity for veterans and families from around the country to come together to share stories and support one another. We gather for our first circle, thirty-three veterans and family members from seven states, with four facilitators.
I want to focus on one troubling truism that research has unfortunately made quasi-axiomatic: It's not the deployments -- their intensity, their frequency, or their number -- that contribute to the epidemic of military suicide.
Traumatized Veterans on Screen at the Istanbul Film Festival: Laurent Bécue-Renard's 'Of Men and War'
Laurent Bécue-Renard's documentary "Of Men and War," which screened this past weekend at the Istanbul Film Festival, testifies to the grislier "truth" of war. It showcases the lasting horrific effect of combat on both those who serve and their families.
With counseling and psychosocial support, young lives devastated by war and childhoods violently taken away can be reclaimed. We see it happen when they begin to smile again, laugh again, and play again.
October 10 commemorates World Mental Health Day and is observed, in part, to raise public awareness about mental health issues. One matter that deserves critical attention is better integrating mental health care in global humanitarian responses.
How quickly we forget war's multidimensional and devastating costs. How thoughtlessly we label the crucial act of remembering as "blindness," and judge ourselves and others for our understandable weariness.