PTSD – A Guide to Understanding and Getting Treatment

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What is PTSD, and who does it affect? Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an illness that affects approximately one-in-five veterans from all eras. It is an acute reaction to a traumatic event that can cause negative symptoms associated with that trauma. The technical definition of PTSD is “a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.” Symptoms  Did you know that there are 4 main types of PTSD symptoms? 1) Reliving the event When a traumatic event happens, a lasting symptom of PTSD is the reliving of the traumatic event. At any point you can feel that sense of horror you had when the event happened. This may come about through nightmares, flashbacks, or a trigger like a sight, smell, or sound that

Mental Health Awareness Month and What You Should Know

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and at DVNF, this holds added meaning. Mental health is a common issue that’s mentioned when talking about veterans. Military service not only challenges veterans physically; it tests them mentally even more. And when it comes to combat, the mind is just as vulnerable to injuries as the body. Combat has changed drastically over the course of several decades. While advancements in modern technology and medicine have helped save lives, is it coming at the expense of our veterans’ mental health? TBI Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is becoming more prominent in today’s warfare. In fact, according to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), among post-9/11 veterans, more than 360,000 have suffered a TBI, accounting for 22% of combat casualties. This injury can be a problem that’s

Female Veteran Suicide Rate Increasing

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Veteran Suicide Still a Growing Concern - Especially for Female Veterans Veterans take their own lives at an alarming average of 20 each day. However, female veteran suicide continues to grow as well. What's behind this alarming and upsetting trend? According to the NPR piece, women veterans are two to five times more likely to take their own lives than civilian women. The audio discusses many common contributing factors to this trend, including: PTSD Financial concerns Loneliness Depression Family concerns However, they mentioned a few additional factors that are a bit more troubling. Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Sexual assault and/or abuse is an issue that continues to pop up in headlines. It's become a contentious issue that comes about in sports all too often. Regrettably, it is not discussed enough when it comes to the military. Did you know that one in four women

DVNF Veteran Employee Spotlight – Nicholi Ambersley

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A Navy Veteran with a Great Perspective As part of DVNF’s commitment to serving the men and women who stood in our defense, we understand the importance of having team members who have been in their shoes. The following story gives some background on one of the veterans working at DVNF. Nicholi Ambersley, DVNF’s Donor Services Specialist, came to DVNF in 2016. This soft-spoken Navy veteran is originally from the island of Jamaica, having moved to New Jersey in 1997. Nicholi spent nearly 10 years in the Navy, serving from 2004 to 2014. His highest rank was Petty Officer Second Class (E-5). He served at a Naval Operation Support Center (NOSC) in New Jersey for a few years. Here, he receive the duty of funeral honors. This role required him to make sure that those who served before and passed away received

WATCH: Homeless Vet Talks About What’s Important to Him

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Through DVNF's Health & Comfort program, the items that we send to stand down events to support homeless, low-income, and disabled veterans make a bigger difference than many might realize. Wayne Stewart, a homeless Navy veteran in DC, spoke with us about his experience as a homeless vet, and which supplies that DVNF sent made the biggest difference. “Toiletries! Because when a person is clean, looks good, smells good, they have a tendency to feel better about themselves."  “I would like to say 'thank you' to all of you [DVNF donors] – without your services, without your kind gestures and your kind thoughts, trust and believe me – it would be much harder for us. Thank you, DVNF!” Countless veterans are helped through the Health & Comfort program, and each time a donor gives, we're able to provide critically needed

DVNF Veteran Employee Spotlight: John Paruch

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A Humble Veteran As part of DVNF’s commitment to serving the men and women who stood in our defense, we understand the importance of having team members who have been in their shoes. The following story gives some background on one of the veterans working at DVNF. [caption id="attachment_1522" align="aligncenter" width="823"] DVNF employee, John Paruch, takes a photo with a veteran at the 2016 Wheelchair Games[/caption] John Paruch, DVNF’s Director of Corporate Sponsorships and Foundation Relations, has been with the organization since 2015. John, like so many veterans, is humble by nature. “I always say I was a veteran in the loosest sense of the word. I didn’t serve during any conflict, and really didn’t do anything very significant.” Many veterans often express this same sentiment. However, they need to remember that willingly putting your life on the line – regardless of

WATCH: Veteran Discusses His Experience with PTSD and Drinking

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PTSD and Drinking Can Send Life into a Tailspin Drinking is a common activity that is usually ingrained in the military experience. But what happens when drinking is used as a self-medicating coping mechanism? Things can spiral out of control in a hurry. Just listen to this Marine veteran's experience with drinking. When I drank, got drunk, you know, all the anxiety, depression, my purpose, the betrayal - all that, it went out the window ... For the next 3 years I was drunk probably - drunk or hung over 75 percent of the time. So when I went out I couldn't just have one ... and that caused problems. For veterans struggling with PTSD, drinking might feel like a temporary solution to what you're going through. Unfortunately, it isn't a solution at all. If drinking has become a problem for you,

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

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April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and this is an issue that is especially relevant to so many veterans. There are many reasons veterans in particular can often be prone to misusing alcohol. One aspect that increases the likelihood of a veteran misusing alcohol is that they are often predisposed to it as a part of their military experience. In fact, did you know that medical expenses related to alcohol use by military personnel average nearly $425 million per year?1 Perhaps alcohol is used as a bonding tool or even a team-building exercise, or maybe for others, it’s seen as an escape route from handling a difficult experience. Either way, it’s something that most service members are familiar with before they even leave the military. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism demonstrates just how prevalent the alcohol culture is

Shipment to Albany Helps Veterans Displaced by Fires

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As part of DVNF’s Health & Comfort program, we help stock various veterans’ shelters with clothing and supplies they need to support the veterans who visit seeking support. In some cases, it can be in the middle of an emergency. This was the case recently when we sent a shipment to Albany, NY to the Veterans Miracle Center. They keep a free “store” that veterans can visit to get common supplies they often struggle to afford. DVNF’s shipment happened to come at a critical time. According to Barry Feinman, the organization’s administrator, January and February not only brought cold temperatures, but it also brought several fires in the region. In one evening alone, seven veterans lost their homes and all their possessions. Feinman explained how the shipment helped: The day after the fire, the VMC was called upon to clothe

“Suit Up” Hiring Fair a Success for Veterans

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On Monday, March 13, DVNF, in conjunction with the Detroit VA and because of an incredible donation from Jos. A. Bank clothiers, was able to participate in a “Suit Up” event to get transitioning veterans ready to reenter the civilian workforce. At the event, 110 Veterans were able to get a suit or other professional clothing, along with a $50 Visa gift card from DVNF to cover the cost of some of the alterations, that will prove useful as the attend this weekend’s military job fair at the Detroit VA. This event followed the first “Suit Up” on February 25th. The first event had light attendance due to poor weather. In addition, they had to use an alternate location due to construction near the Detroit VA. How this made a difference to veterans Joe Sattler of Marine City was a Helicopter Pilot in the