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 often cope with invisible wounds that lead to emotional numbness, anger, depression, anxiety, isolation and hypervigilance. Attempting to distance themselves from their pain and its effects, they try to repress the intrusive thoughts, flashbacks and nightmares. Their military training, fear of psychiatric labels, lack of trust makes it difficult to ask for help. If 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 the antidote in suicide. The conservative estimate calculated by the Veterans Administration report, is that at least 22 veterans end their lives every day and many more attempt suicide.
To combat the symptoms of combat trauma including suicidal thoughts, Equinox Ranch will invite veterans to become part of their 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 another fourteen day 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 us to turn a blind eye towards their plight. Regardless of our political positions or our support, ambivalence or disapproval of the military or specific wars, what these veterans did, they did in our name. We need to commit our time, attention and money to helping them readjust back to civilian life. It is the very least that we owe them for their sacrifices. Your support of Equinox Ranch will give them the homecoming they deserve.