Military with PTSD in the News

11168063_881402675240553_3524931528223291386_nHow combat veterans are coping with July Fourth fireworks

(CNN)Independence Day is often celebrated with delicious food, family get-togethers and Fourth of July fireworks that light up the night.

What some may not realize is that fireworks can be a source of stress for some veterans — and there’s a movement to make sure revelers realize it.

Fireworks ignite discussion about vets, PTSD

(MSNBC) Shawn Gourley, co-founder and executive director of “Military with PTSD,” joins Alex Witt to explain how people can be mindful of veterans when they light fireworks on Independence Day.Duration: 4:02

 

How Fireworks Can Trigger PTSD

 

time
Fireworks will be going off with a bang all weekend, but for some, they cause more anxiety than celebration

(Time) You may see the signs popping up around your neighborhood this July 4—red, white and blue notices that indicate the home of a vet with the request to “Please be courteous with fireworks.”

The signs are the work of a Facebook-launched nonprofit, Military With PTSD, begun by Shawn Gourley, whose husband, Justin, served in the Navy for four years and returned with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sudden and loud noises can trigger episodes of PTSD, bringing veterans back to traumatic experiences they have lived through during their service. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, up to 20% of military personnel who served in Iraq or Afghanistan experience PTSD each year.

 

July 4 can be a bad day for veterans with PTSD

(USA TODAY) CINCINNATI — As a Marine Corps veteran, Sam Deeds loves the Fourth of July, the flags and parades in celebration of the nation’s founding. But he dreads the night, when the sounds and flashes of light leave him cowering. And he’s not alone.

“It’s like I’m getting blown up all over again,” said Deeds, 38, of Independence.

 

For Vets With PTSD, Fireworks Aren’t Always Cause For Celebration

(ThinkProgress) In the days leading up to and after July 4th, revelers of all ages take to the streets and set off their arsenal of sparklers, firecrackers, rockets, and cherry bombs in celebration of America’s revolutionary birth. For more than a week, sparks of red, yellow, blue, and green light the night sky and neighborhoods and local parks across the country reek of gunpowder.

With each crackle and loud pop comes another opportunity to bask in the outdoors with loved ones and neighbors, an experience that builds a greater sense of community.

 

U.S. campaign highlights stress of fireworks on combat veterans

(Reuters) Every Independence Day for the past eight years, Shawn Gourley and her family have left their Indiana home for remote campgrounds to escape the fireworks that trigger her veteran husband’s wartime memories.

Gourley’s husband Justin, who served in the U.S. Navy from 2000 to 2004, is one of about 500,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, which can be worsened by the cracks and thunder of celebratory fireworks.

“Anytime that we get scared, we react. They do the same thing,” said Gourley, whose husband becomes anxious at the sound of fireworks, paces back and forth and searches for ways to guard his family.

This year, in an effort to expose an issue about which many veterans feel shame, the Gourleys launched a sign campaign to educate their neighbors about the effects of fireworks on combat veterans.

 

Vets Are Posting Signs Asking Neighbors to Be Mindful of Fireworks

(Good Housekeeping) Every Fourth of July, millions of Americans gather to cook out, hang out, and watch fireworks light up the sky. But for some U.S. veterans, these pyrotechnics can have frightening consequences. The big booms or other loud noises could trigger any lingering post-tramautic stress disorder and memories of previous combat experiences — like gunfire or explosions.

 

PTSD-Stricken Vets: Think Before Setting Off Fireworks

(NEWSMAX) Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are asking Americans to be considerate when setting off fireworks this July 4 weekend – and are posting red, white and blue signs aimed at getting neighbors to give them a “heads up.”

The signs – distributed to vets nationwide by a group called Military With PTSD – read: “Combat Veteran Lives Here. Please Be Courteous with Fireworks.”

Vets With PTSD Ask Neighbors to Be Courteous With Fireworks

(NEWSMAX) Every Independence Day for the past eight years, Shawn Gourley and her family have left their Indiana home for remote campgrounds to escape the fireworks that trigger her veteran husband’s wartime memories.

Gourley’s husband Justin, who served in the U.S. Navy from 2000 to 2004, is one of about 500,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, which can be worsened by the cracks and thunder of celebratory fireworks.

 

Be aware of veterans with PTSD when setting off Independence Day fireworks, group says

(The Telegraph) In cities and towns across America on Saturday the skies will be alight with fireworks in celebration of Independence Day.

But for the past several years, Shawn Gourley and her husband Justin were not around to see them.

Mr Gourley suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after three tours in the Middle East, and the Gourley family trek to isolated campgrounds to get as far away as possible from the bangs and flashes that could spark flashbacks and panic.

“Basically we would run away,” Mrs Gourley told the Telegraph.

This year the Gourleys, founders of the group Military with PTSD, decided to do something about it.

They produced a sign which read: “Combat veteran lives here, please be courteous with fireworks”, and are distributing it across the US.

 

Forth of July fireworks jitters: How to cope

If you’re a combat veteran, chances are good you may already be feeling a little edgy.

It’s that time of year when well-intended Independence Day fireworks — often spilling out for days before and after July 4 — can cause heightened anxiety, flashbacks and other triggers of painful wartime memories.

There’s no shame in a perfectly normal reaction to the perfectly unnatural trauma of combat. But there are some things you can do about it, experts say:

 

Indiana group warns of fireworks’ impact on veterans

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Evansville group is urging people to be aware of who is living nearby before shooting off fireworks.

The non-profit, Military with PTSD, is raising awareness nationwide about the problems loud fireworks can cause for combat veterans.

 

 

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