DUBLIN, OHIO —“Being a patriot right now means staying home and taking care of yourself,” said Dr. Chrisanne Gordon, founder of Resurrecting Lives Foundation of Dublin.
- Veteran servicemen and women are carrying the extra burdens of PTSD and traumatic brain injuries
- A Central Ohio Doctor has a message of hope for the feeling of being isolated during the global pandemic
- Ohio has 17,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars dealing with PTSD
The foundation advocates for military service members with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Right now, she and her non-profit organization are focused on supporting veterans from the Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam Wars in 28 states during such an isolating time.
“We've been receiving a lot of calls, from our veterans, primarily in the hot spots, New York, California, and areas of Detroit and Michigan. And I think that sharing the information that we have in Ohio is helpful to them, reminding them that they can reach out like this, reach out virtually, text, talk to people on the phone,” said Gordon.
Gordon says about 25 percent of the three million returning from Iraq and Afghanistan come back with a traumatic brain injury, which comes with its own list of frustrations, like memory loss and confusion. Many of those vets already feel detached from society, but the pandemic can add its own layer of isolation.
“750,000 young veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan alone, who struggle everyday with PTSD and TBI. In the state of Ohio there are about 17,000 so we definitely need to reach out to them,” said Gordon.
She's advises those feeling alone to reach out to others and try to find healthy coping skills, like exercise and internet-based games, to help maintain that sense of community.
“Things like “Jack in the Box,” where you actually have to reload your game and can play with maybe four up to 100 people. Trivia, strategy, problem solving, all of that kinda keeps the brain really sharp. There's also a lot of them getting that are getting together to help each other not to become over abusive of alcohol for instance, or our young veterans maybe on medical marijuana, not to overuse that,” said Gordon.
Gordon says many of the veterans she has spoken to consider the coronavirus the enemy.
And they're not worried about themselves, but about keeping their wider community safe and informed.
If there's one key piece of advice she's given over the last month, it’s maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit.
“Everybody should be getting up at the same time, going to bed at the same time. Try to establish very good habits for during the day when you eat, when you wash those hands, make sure to take those breaks. And take some time out for reflection or spiritual kind of activities. You can find almost any type of service online,” said Gordon.
In these trying times, we’re all called to action and constantly reminded we are all in this together.
If you are a veteran experiencing mental distress, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, or text 838255.