My father served in the Signal Corps in Palermo, Italy in the Army before I was born. He witnessed two children playing who detonated a land mine. He was never the same again. He never talked about the experience. He never complained and he was never diagnosed with anything.
What must a person go through when you see real life (MASH) Mobile Army Surgical Hospital for real right in front of you? What if you are a victim of a gut wrenching brain trauma injury that leaves you with permanent injuries often that are repaired physically on the outide but which cannot be repaired inside?
Many young adults coming home from abroad are not in tact. They re-enter our communities that are unprepared and unequipped to handle the challenges of their experiences. We have to consider life long trauma informed care for all of these people.
Had I understood what my father had gone through I would have addressed the conditions, which were imperceptible to a child completely differently. I would have encouraged my father to share his experiences and that there is no issue with feeling the terror and pain of catastrophic loss.
Laura Williams and Laura Wildt are two people who have resources with the State of Colorado Department of Human Services who can offer suggestions as well as Marguerite McCormack from the Metro State College of Denver. She’s a consultant, trainer, and practitioner in the field of trauma and vicarious traumatization. She works nationally with issues of trauma, disaster, organizational trauma dynamics, and vicarious trauma. She is the former Director of Trauma Practice at Jefferson Center for Mental Health, the former project director of Columbine Connections, the community-based response to the shootings at Columbine High School, and the former Coordinator of the Student Counseling Center at theUniversity of Colorado at Denver. She is one of the principal authors of the Colorado State Mental Health Curriculum for Intervention in Disasters, Introduction to Trauma Therapy, Working with Children in Disasters and Vicarious Traumatization. She has also been an adjunct faculty member at the UC-Denver, Metro State College of Denver, and the University of Denver. She presents regularly to physicians, nurses, law enforcement, attorneys, correctional staffs, first responders, and mental health clinicians.
A service exists through the VA at http://giveanhour.org, where clinicians provide an hour of intervention weekly for victims of TBI. There is also a Trauma Court for Veterans (VTC) to help veterans with mental health issues and substance abuse.
Paraphrasing some point made by Dr, McCormack: “30% of the returning veterans will have TBI Trauma Brain Injury. 20 – 30% will return with PTSD Post Traumatic Depressive Disorders. About 15% of the returning veterans will return directly to the street because they have no place to stay. At the present time we have seen 10% of the returning veterans and the other portion are about to return from abroad in the ensuing years. We are not equipped to meet the challenges of their return with mental health, substance abuse and social problems of readjustment. Women are more likely to be victims of rape than being shot. Their numbers are rising from 16% of the military personnel at the present time.”