Our veterans are in danger — even after returning home. “Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That’s a suicide every 65 minutes,” CNN reports. The troubling numbers raise important questions about is being done — and what more we can do.
The unfortunate truth is that traditional programs, such as group and/or talk therapy, may not work for everyone. Post traumatic stress disorder help, for example, does not have to be so strictly regimented. Here are some non-traditional ways vets are getting help:
From Tetris to Virtual Reality
Surprising research shows that veterans suffering from military trauma, such as post traumatic stress disorder, may get relief from playing video games, like Tetris. “Focusing on a highly engaging visual-spatial task, such as playing video games, may significantly reduce the occurrence of flashbacks, the mental images concerning the trauma that intrude on the sufferer afterward,” LiveScience writes about an Oxford University study.
Other researchers are exploring the therapeutic potential of virtual reality. “This unique approach to immersion therapy, VR-style, is being tested and applied at 20 military PTSD clinics around the country. An offshoot program is being developed for civilian first-responders and emergency workers,” NBC states. “We try to create an environment where someone feels the stress, and give them the tools to emotionally cope with it,” psychologist Skip Rizzo tells NBC.
Can Service Dogs Treat Psychology Symptoms?
As with traditional talk and group therapy, immersion therapy and/or visual distraction may not be a cure-all. Some may require a different sort of therapy. For years, the VA enlisted service dogs to help disabled or blind veterans. Now researchers suggests that service dogs may also benefit veterans suffering from military sexual trauma or post traumatic stress disorder. “I have been in Soldier’s Best Friend for six months. Before I started the program I had severe depression and rarely left my house. Since I got Maddy my life has much more purpose and my depression has gone away. My PTSD symptoms are much less severe,” one veterans says of a non-profit program pairing up vets with dogs. Unfortunately, the VA does not offer funding for service dogs as a treatment for PTSD. Consider legal advice for veterans to find out where funding is and isn’t available.
Veterans are taking their own lives at alarming rates. Seek legal advice for veterans to find out more about veteran rights and suicide prevention programs for veterans. Find out more about this topic here.