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Everyone Should Be Talking About Removing the Stigma of PTSD That Veterans Face

02/22/2013 04:04 pm ET | Updated Apr 24, 2013

More than 200,000 veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. These are brave men and women who fought for our country; they are the reason why we can live in a free country. It's estimated that 18 veterans suffering from PTSD will commit suicide every day. We hear a lot about the incredible stories of Navy seals doing heroic acts, but we don't hear about the Seals who commit suicide due to PTSD. A reason why these members of military are committing suicide may be the stigma surrounding getting help. In the Army, suicide is the leading cause of death, surpassing being killed in active combat. A lot troops who are suffering don't even know where to go to get help.

I think a national discussion on promoting any and all possible methods should be brought to attention. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin - Madison say that half of the people suffering from PTSD do not respond to conventional treatments. The government should look into everything; they should look into integrative medicine, Western medicine, and other alternative procedures.

Ten years ago, I suffered from severe panic attacks and anxiety. I no longer have severe anxiety or panic attacks, and one of the things I used would probably be considered weird or off the beaten path in Western medicine. I used meditation. It was so weird that I didn't want to tell my friends I did it, but the reality is, it worked.

I'm not saying meditation is a magic bullet, or it can cure anything in particular, I'm just saying that people should be exposed to all possibilities when it comes to health care. We live in a bureaucratic country that likes to form committees and push the attention toward something other than solving the problem. This is a topic that needs immediate action.

I also think the celebrities that live in this country should be using their influence to raise awareness about this subject.

Here are some resources:

National Center for PTSD Home: This is a National Center for PTSD and one of the leading research and educational centers on the topic. This site has a great deal of information about PTSD.

Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Training (MMFT): MMFT is a class that is taught over eight weeks, designed for people working in stressful environments. The program teaches stress resilience skills and mindfulness skills. It gives specific exercises to build attention control and concentration.

Samueli Institute: Center for Military Medical Research: The Samueli Institute's Center for Military Medical Research uses various complementary and integrative health care practices to be used at military medical centers, veteran medicals, and in other military settings.

Project Welcome Home Troops: Project Welcome Home Troops offers The Power Breath Workshop, which is a mind-body resilience training program for veterans.

Troops suffering from PTSD also need to be offered more opportunities for jobs in this country. They need support from the government, corporations, and the country as a whole. I'm proud to live in America, and I love the fact that brave men and women support the military efforts of this country by keeping us safe. They should also be offered the proper health care and employment opportunities to get back onto their feet. No member of the military should be stigmatized for having PTSD.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

For more by Robert Piper, click here.

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