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Invisible Wounds

This post was written by Liz Fielden, who is in the Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces department at the National Headquarters in DC. Her focus is in mental health services for service members and their families. Follow her on Twitter at @fielden10910.

As Veteran’s Day approaches, I have found myself thinking about the sacrifices so many men and women have made to keep us safe here at home. Like many Americans, images of Arlington Cemetery, wounded warriors at Walter Reed and a vet in a wheelchair often come to mind.

Many service members are returning home from deployment with invisible wounds. Nearly 1 in every 5 soldiers that have deployed over the last 6 years is returning home with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Many of these veterans experience flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance, hyper-vigilance, guilt and anxiety.

Additionally, with the increasing occurrence of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks on Coalition Forces, between 10 and 20% of those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have a Traumatic Brain Injury. Symptoms of TBI include headaches, chronic pain, seizures, behavioral problems and depression.

However, there is hope for healing and recovery.

[Homeward Bound Video: http://youtu.be/eOGvsQ-OpD4]

To learn more about PTSD and TBI and how the Red Cross and other organizations are supporting our veterans, tune Sunday Nov 10th, 2013 from 7-11 pm EST to The Military Channel’s broadcast of the first “Homeward Bound”, a four-hour national telethon supporting veterans suffering from PTSD and TBI.

See what others are saying about the #HBTelethon: