According to a 2013 Veterans Administration report, 1 in 4 Americans who dies is a veteran. Twenty-two veterans commit suicide daily. Many of those deaths are linked to PTSD. Though there are no statistics on how many veterans locally have committed suicide, law enforcement has told me it’s more than we might think.
Filmmaker Karen van Vuuren is making a documentary focusing on veterans at end of life. “As the daughter of a World War II veteran, I was daunted and helpless in the face of my father’s explosive PTSD,” she writes on her website. “My father, Jack, a volatile, charismatic Dutchman, waited until his deathbed to share his first soul-shattering war experience, one that transformed him from civilian to soldier at age 14. A week or so before he died, he blurted out: ‘You know, me and my best friend, Huyp, strangled a German in our village. He was the enemy. We had to do it!’”
She believes that therapy and medication aren’t enough to help veterans deal with PTSD.
“I discovered a 7-Step Process we can all follow to free our veterans from the shackles of war,” said van Vuuren. “We spend millions on therapy and medication, but these fail to focus on the soul wounds of those who have witnessed unimaginable horror.”
Her Go in Peace approach is based on the work of two authorities on veterans’ care, Dr. Ed Tick (author of the best-selling “War and the Soul”) and Deborah Grassman, advanced registered nurse practitioner (former VA clinician) and author of “Peace at Last.” She believes that her seven-step process for caregivers and family members can help veterans deal with PTSD.
The filmmaker said, “With five major wars in 50 years, our society has failed to meet the needs of veterans who are infected by the can of worms that’s inside them.”