Veterans Host Forum about Dangers of PTSD

By: Brendan Ponton Email
By: Brendan Ponton Email

STAUNTON VFW Post 2216 hosted a forum for veterans for the third straight year. This year's topic was all about post traumatic stress disorder and focused on suicide prevention.

Professionals and veterans spoke about how to prevent suicides, an issue that continues to be a major problem for the military.

A report out earlier this year from the Department of Veteran's Affairs says each day 22 U.S. veterans commit suicide.

When Ben Shaw returned home after serving in 2007, he almost became a part of that statistic when scary thoughts started creeping into his head. "Everything is going wrong. I don't know what to do with myself. The careers haven't opened up as a I, you know, I'm a veteran. I'm supposed to just walk into all these jobs, right? No, it didn't happen," said Shaw.

He was able to get past those dark moments of his life and Wednesday morning spoke before a crowd of about 40. He shared his story to offer advice to help fellow veterans move past the dark times.

Shaw said, "It's okay to talk about it. It's okay to have those conversations with people, in a productive way of course. And you're not alone."

VFW Commander Mac McCauley said communication is key. "If we can get some of those veterans to open up and talk about those problems, then we're making progress," said McCauley.

Shaw hoped he could save more of his comrades. "I'd say about a dozen. Of men with whom I served to suicide. Just since 2007, a dozen, that is twice as many as I've known who have actually died in combat situations," said Shaw.

Other presenters talked about the signs veterans might show if they are thinking about committing suicide. One said to be extra watchful of them because often times they keep their sadness to themselves.


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