has a 10 year history of helping war veterans cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD.
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By David Kupelian
© 2011 WND (WorldNetDaily)
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New Coping Strategies
Fortunately, a new technique for coping with PTSD and other stress-related syndromes – involving neither drugs nor, in many cases, even the psychiatrist’s couch – is now spreading rapidly throughout the various service branches. Although it has proliferated almost entirely by word of mouth – given to soldiers and family members by psychologists, nurses, military chaplains, fellow soldiers and senior officers – its simplicity, privacy and remarkable track record are being noticed at the highest levels.
“In my own experience as a commander who mobilized and returned thousands of wartime veterans, I have seen soldiers make rapid improvement through use of these CDs,” said Maj. Gen. George R. Harris.
“CDs”? Help for a serious condition like post-traumatic stress disorder, just from listening to a compact disc? Really?
Harris – a recently retired West Point general assigned to the Office of the Secretary of the Army – is indeed talking about a single compact disc, playable on any CD player or computer, titled “Coping Strategies,” distributed to the military by a 501 (c)3 nonprofit called Patriot Outreach. The CD, which helps users overcome the negative effects of stress, is sent free upon request to military service personnel, veterans and their families, and also made available to the general public at a nominal cost, which in turn helps pay for the manufacturing and free distribution to military families.
“I can tell you exactly where I’m coming from on this CD,” Harris told WND. “We send thousands of soldiers overseas, and then we bring them back. We try to assimilate them back into life and their families, and there are lots of bumps in the road.”
“As a commander,” he explained, “where I would see those bumps firsthand would be, most often, when a wife would approach one of my chaplains and say, ‘My husband, who you sent to Iraq, didn’t return home the same person. But no matter how much I beg him to seek help, he refuses to see a professional counselor.’
“So in that environment, it was fantastic to have this CD to give to chaplains, who can then work through that wife, and get the soldier to try this. In every case I heard of that he went through the process, it was helpful to the soldiers and their wives.”
In fact, said Harris, it is often “the wives, the spouses, the kids – they’re the ones who will take advantage of this CD and use it themselves, and then encourage their soldiers to do it.”
“Getting soldiers to seek professional help is still the goal,” added Harris. “This is a fallback plan, something the wives and chaplains can fall back on.”
So intrigued was this Army commander by the improvement he witnessed in his super-stressed soldiers using “Coping Strategies” that he tried it out on himself.
“Now, I don’t think I have PTSD,” he cautioned WND, “but, just for the heck of it, I locked myself in my bedroom and tried the CD – it’s about a 30-minute exercise.” Afterward, he said, “I felt completely invigorated, ready to tackle anything.” (Note: Maj. Gen. Harris even recommended this writer try out the exercise, saying it’s beneficial for everyone, not just warriors with PTSD.)
The “Coping Strategies” CD includes two parts: 1) an audio program called “Be Still and Know” – a state-of-the-art mindfulness exercise, which, as the Department of Veterans Affairs states, is recognized as a “benefit to trauma survivors” since it can “increase your ability to cope with difficult emotions, such as anxiety and depression,” thus significantly enhancing the ability to handle stress. And 2) additional audio programs on overcoming stress, fear and pain, as well as field manuals, guidelines, DoD reports, articles and resources that are available on the computer data section of the CD.
While the entire “Coping Strategies” multimedia CD, including “Be Still and Know,” is available free to military, veterans and their families, it is also available to civilians for a small charge. The “Be Still and Know” exercise is also available as a download, free for the military, and at a nominal charge for the general public.
What’s more, “Be Still and Know” can be listened to online by anyone at any time – at no charge.
“I reached the conclusion,” said Harris, “that I didn’t give a damn if I could prove it worked medically, because I know it works. Besides, it’s so much better than what most of the soldiers are now getting – which is nothing.”
And that point leads directly to Patriot Outreach and its founder and president, Col. Antonio Monaco, U.S. Army (Ret.).
Having served the Army in a variety of senior leadership positions including brigade-level commands and deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom as well as in Bosnia (IFOR), Monaco explained his organization’s mission with the following motto: “Coping Strategies provides simple, effective, non-intrusive support, and was designed to bridge the gap between those who seek help and the silent majority who avoid the stigma.”
And just how big is that stigma-avoiding “silent majority”? Believe it or not, said Monaco, of all the tens of thousands of active-duty warriors and veterans dealing with PTSD and other serious combat-related stress conditions, “only about 2 to 3 percent, according the office of the surgeon general, seek out professional help.”
“Coping Strategies,” Monaco said simply, “is for the other 97 percent.”
After all, he said, “We are private and non-governmental. When you come to us, no one knows – so there is no stigma.”
Monaco, recently designated by the Pentagon as Army Reserve ambassador for Kansas, a two-star appointment, notes that over 65,000 CDs and 34,000 downloads have already been provided, rattling off some of the more notable requests he’s received for “Coping Strategies”:
“The 82nd Airborne Division ordered 5,000 CDs; Fort Hood, after the terror shooting event, ordered 3,500; the 91st Division ordered 3,000 CDs for their troops; the Joint Task Force Headquarters, 1,500; USO, 1,000; VFW, 8,000 …”
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