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Sunday, March 19, 2006

PTSD Documentary Airs Today

New England Cable News (NECN) is set to air a new documentary, Hidden Wounds, detailing the struggle of three local soldiers who've returned from Iraq with post-traumatic stress. If you're in the viewing area, you can catch it today at 10:00AM and 7:00PM. NECN will re-broadcast the special throughout the week [times/dates - scroll down]. For those not in the viewing area, the Boston Globe has an article out today and online clips are available.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

The pop of a firecracker in a parking lot was all it took to send Nate Fick back to Iraq. That sound had him ducking behind the nearest car, grabbing for the pistol holstered on his thigh. Except his gun wasn't there. The former Marine was in Maryland with his sister and it was July Fourth, about a month after his return from Iraq. "I stood up a few seconds later, and said, 'Man, I'm out of my mind,'" Fick said in an interview this week. ...

"Hidden Wounds," which debuts Sunday at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., tells the stories of Fick, currently a Harvard graduate student, Sgt. Russell Anderson, a longtime military man from Norton, and Jeff Lucey, a Marine who killed himself several months after returning to Belchertown. "These are three very different men," said Iris Adler, the film's producer and writer. "In spite of their differences, they all come home with post-traumatic stress disorder."

About one in six soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, according to studies cited in the documentary. The soldiers in the film believe that the percentage is much higher, but a stigma prevents others from admitting the struggle. "There's a lot more people out there than you think like me," Anderson, 55, said this week.

Anderson's and Lucey's experiences are briefly outlined before returning to Fick's story:

Fick, a Dartmouth graduate, joined the military to test himself and because he believed members of the privileged class should serve. In Iraq, he led a reconnaissance unit to Baghdad. Carnage became commonplace, and the pressure of making life and death decisions was relentless. When he returned home, Fick fell into deep depression. He found relief writing about his experiences, an exercise that became the book, "One Bullet Away."

Fick said he hoped telling his story makes post-traumatic stress disorder real to people who don't know a soldier. People returning from Iraq are going to have serious problems, he said, and society needs ensure they get proper care, unlike so many Vietnam veterans. "Their problems have endured the 30-40 years since they came back," Fick said. "I don't want to see that repeated."

Don't forget to view the online clips if you're outside of the viewing area; and take a moment to thank NECN for their efforts at getting more to understand the plight of those troops coping with PTSD.

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