On 8 April, 2018, The Huffington Post published a story on how veterans with PTSD were afraid to seek treatment because they are scared that doing so may lead to the government taking away their guns. Most Americans may not feel that this is a concern and that it should not be a reason for veterans to seek treatment, but it is. This is due to so many gun control advocates saying that those with mental illness should not own guns, and in doing so throwing PTSD into the generalized pool of mental illness.
This is a conversation I have had with fellow Marines. One in particular knew he had PTSD but was afraid that it would lead to his guns being taken away from him. He was also afraid that his PTSD might damage his family relations. For him “the wizard”, term used by aircrew to refer to mental health specialists, always carried a stigma of distrust. Aircrew fear that going to “the wizard” will lead to them being grounded. Now, seeking mental healthcare might lead to having something that he had a close relationship with being taken away from him.
Veterans have a special relationship with guns. They have learned to love and respect them. Although for many, the smell of the gun powder, the recoil of the weapon and the sound of the round being fired might trigger their PTSD, for many more it is a release. And it is for these that enjoy the smell of the gunpowder and firing them, that this is the biggest concern. After all, for a significant portion of their life they were given a gun by the government that they now fear will take it away. And many of them also look at it as if they were trusted with one to protect this country, even while living with PTSD; now that they are no longer part of the military, they cannot be trusted with one.
This stigma is one that we must overcome. It is everyone’s responsibility to remove these fears. Politicians must work closely with Veteran groups and the mental health community to come up with a solution to this problem. We need to get these veterans the help they need, the help they deserve, the help they earned.
Lets not leave these men and women behind. They would not leave us behind.
Start the conversation, leave your thoughts, lets talk about it.
Semper Fidelis and #TrekOn
Huffington Post Story: [https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/veterans-ptsd-treatment-guns_us_5ac523c9e4b09ef3b2431392]