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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Barbara Van Dahlen

1413 words - 6 pages

Ever since the United States had gained its independence from Britain in 1776, we have prided ourselves upon the courageous military personnel that have devoted their lives to guaranteeing freedom and protection to citizens of this country. However, what happens when our sole protectors and guardians experience severe mental anguish and are the ones that need help to simply go about their daily lives? Little by little there has been one woman who has provided that comfort and assistance to the military men and women, and who has realized the severity of the effects that combat has on the mental states of these men and women and their loved ones. Barbara Van Dahlen has become a prominent and notable leader through her consistent effort of aiding those who fought or are fighting in wars and supporting the families and communities impacted by the military troops.
“In September 2005”, Van Dahlen created a nonprofit organization called Give an Hour, where she and other highly skilled psychologists work together for the common goal of providing free mental health care to military personnel and their loved ones (“About Us”). Slowly but surely, Van Dahlen has created this organization that has produced “volunteers capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions” and she has had the honor and privilege to forever change the lives of our country’s protectors for the better (“Mission Statement”). Growing up, a young Barbara Van Dahlen always had an immense respect for our military, as the daughter of an injured World War II veteran. Occasionally, she would hear her father reminiscing about his days in the service and all of the battles and training that he participated in. However, she recalls that he would often excise the dark and eerie portions of the stories, partially because of the pain of those dreadful memories. Therefore, by combining her psychological background and her desire to aid all soldiers coming back from combat, she was able to provide a comfortable environment that encouraged healing and welcomed any soldier or their loved ones, despite lack of money or knowledge.
As time has progressed, it is quite clear that more and more soldiers have been returning from service with more severe wounds, for only a fraction of those who suffer head trauma while deployed receive proper examinations. For years, there has been a common misconception with regard to returning soldiers, whereas the general belief is that these military personnel are the strongest people in the world, so that must obviously mean that they can undergo anything and remain unaffected. However, that is completely untrue, for of the millions of men and women who have been deployed to fight in the Middle East over the past decade, “some 20- 35 percent will suffer from post-traumatic stress” (Van Dahlen). Post- traumatic stress (PTS) is a reaction that a person develops after experiencing a horrific event, such as war, and if untreated, it can develop into...

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