Here’s a response to the general who asked for a change in the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to encourage more military members to seek help for PTSD symptoms. Cheyenne Forsythe is a blog contributor, a student veteran and a former Army Combat Stress Control Team member who served in Iraq in 2003 and survived two IED attacks.
BY CHEYENNE FORSYTHE
Step 1. A little marketing research
I’ve done that. While monitoring a Facebook site called Military with PTSD, I came across an increase in spouses demanding change around the turn of the year. The exact same thing happened last year. So much so that the facilitators of the site retrieved an article they had written last year asking spouses to be more patient with their vets.
How do we get otherwise honorable people to change behavior? We get them to make a promise or resolution. In other words, we use their integrity to get them in the door.
Vets have to see the difference between those that get help and those that continue to allow themselves to suffer. They have to see where those two people end up.
Step 2. Getting the Word Out
I’ve come up with a commercial for the New Year resolution season when the will to make behavioral changes meets the need from spouses to see that change.
We see a veteran always promising to go to the VA to ask about PTSD. Always promising and promising, “Yeah, sure I’ll go honey.” We then see a New Year’s Eve party, drinking and then an altercation. We then see our veteran in jail where we hear a narrator make a resolution to go to the VA. We fade to black and see the VA contact information. We fade back to our veteran as we see him hugging family and friends in his graduation cap and gown, everyone smiling and happy.
There it is. A real effort to get troops in the door that has a better chance than, yet again, another name change.
Step 3. A Name Change vs. Credible Outreach
The name isn’t the primary problem, it’s the marketing. Before I could get soldiers to talk to me, I had to sell myself by volunteering and going on as many missions as I could. In the end, the Buffalo Soldiers, 1-10 CAV, only wanted to speak to me out of my entire four man CSC Team, which included a psychologist and a social worker.
They had to see for themselves what I was all about before they sent one of their own to talk to me. They had to see that I took this serious enough to risk my life for them. In the end, it worked and I didn’t get killed.
Step 4. Marketing Can Build Relationships
Marketing says, look, we can help and here’s how. It says, its important that you get this help from us and here’s why. It says we are located here and this is how you benefit.
We’re making this way more complicated than it needs to be.
- A Veteran Living with PTSD on Losing Control (offthebase.wordpress.com)