For many returning combat veterans, their homecoming was not the celebration that they or their loved ones dreamed about while they were deployed. These veterans cope with invisible wounds that lead to emotional numbness, anger, depression, anxiety, isolation and hyper vigilance. Attempting to distance themselves from pain and its debilitating effects, they try to repress the intrusive thoughts, flashbacks and nightmares. Military training, fear of psychiatric labels, and lack of trust makes it difficult to ask for help.
When they do summon the courage to ask the treatment is cursory, capricious, involves long waiting periods and sometimes confinement to a hospital. Locked in the past, feeling alone and in agony, some veterans seek solace in self-harm and even suicide. The conservative estimate calculated by the Veterans Administration report, is that at least 22 veterans end their lives every day.
To help alleviate the symptoms of combat trauma Equinox Ranch will invite veterans to become part of our program beginning with a fourteen day session that will introduce them to various coping skills, and therapies surrounded by a supportive, naturally beautiful environment. Veterans will be encouraged and supported to continue their treatments when they return home. Six to ten months later they will return to the ranch for a week long session intended to build on their experiences.
Less than one percent of the current U.S. population has served in uniform. While there are millions of troops returning home from war, those who have served in today’s all-volunteer military are still a small and isolated minority. This fact has helped to hide their plight from everyday Americans. Regardless of our political positions, ambivalence or disapproval of the military or specific wars, what these veterans have done and experienced has been in the name of the American people. We need to commit our time, attention and money to helping them readjust back to civilian life. Your support of Equinox Ranch will give them the homecoming they deserve.