While soldiers are deployed, often times their entire driving force is getting back home. But the cold reality for so many soldiers who return from war is that while they make it home physically, a significant part of them was left on the battlefield.
Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) can hold a soldier ransom as he or she returns home, and an internal fight rages that can be every bit as daunting as what was faced overseas. On Thursday, June 28, the Delaware Mission Court/Veterans Treatment Court will present “Of Men and War,” a point-of-view documentary that focuses on several veterans of the War on Terrorism who struggle to overcome their battles with PTSD after returning stateside.
The screening will be held at the Columbus State Community College Delaware campus, 5100 Cornerstone Drive in Delaware, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Rick Fenstermaker, who is a Mission Court mentor coordinator and is putting on the screening, said he chose the campus in large part because “Columbus State has a good presence with the veteran community, helping them get through their education.”
“As our service men and women are returning from Afghanistan and Iraq in support of the Global War on Terrorism, some are experiencing the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),” a press release announcing the showing states. “If not properly dealt with, PTSD can manifest itself in these men and women through poor mental health that can lead to potential legal issues as they attempt to reintegrate back into our communities.”
Fenstermaker, who is a veteran himself and was deployed in 2003, said one of his focuses is how soldiers translate the warrior mentality into being a member of society.
“We’ve become good as a society at welcoming our soldiers home but that aftercare falls through the cracks,” he said.
He added, “By no means do I want to make the impression all soldiers who come back are dealing with PTSD. It’s a subset, but that subset is dealing with some serious issues.”
The film also shows the effect the illness has, not just on the veteran, but on their families as well. As Fenstermaker pointed out, PTSD suffering extends past the person inflicted. He also added that PTSD isn’t simply an issue with returning veterans, saying that victims of traumatic experiences such as sexual assaults are also prone to the disease.
An open discussion will be held immediately following the screening to discuss the issues facing veterans and their families.
For any questions about the film or the upcoming screening, Fenstermaker can be reached at 614-361-4273 or by email at [email protected]
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.