The cries of help may be found everyday on the internet: soldiers or their parents telling friends through social networking about their struggles with PTSD, getting through deployments, having issues transitioning into family and civilian life.
And there is no couching this in pretty language: the staggering statistics are heartbreaking. The Army reported as many as 32 suicides in July 2011. While one could spend lots of time delving into what the military and the VA has or hasn’t done, there’s room for an additional question.
What is my community’s response to soldiers coming home?
You can look at community in so many ways –from who you hang out with, to your interests. But the one that means the most to someone who has served is to put it in terms of geography.
What is the response to the soldier coming home to where he or she lives?
Community takes on a more literal meaning. It’s not an easy question to answer because most people rarely ask it. War is an uncomfortable topic –it pushes political, moral, and sometimes even religious responses. And most the time the responses are seen only along institutional lines: “The VA will handle it.” “The cops will handle it.” “Their families will handle it.” But don’t they deserve a better response?
Paul Zipes, a former Navy Diver and now a yoga teacher and studio owner, founded Yoga For Vets. Studios and yoga teachers can sign on to offer four free classes combat veterans. For him, it’s all about helping those who have served in war, helping them find their breath, relax and as he says, “I just want to help them get a good night’s sleep.” Over 300 yoga studios across the country have signed on.
Be part of your community’s response. Sign up at Yoga For Vets. What are you waiting for? From his blog, here is Paul’s To-Do List.
1) Facebook. tell 20 or 2000 of your closest friends about Yoga For Vets and our Facebook Page.
2) Call your Aunt or Uncle. Most family members know at least one combat vet. Ask them if they know about Yoga For Vets and direct them to our site.
3) Email your Ashram. Okay, this applies only to yoga teachers. Email the friends you graduated with and and tell them you support Yoga For Vets and ask them if they will too.