Veterans speak out about PTSD and hardships service members face - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Veterans speak out about PTSD and hardships service members face

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ALBANY, N.Y. - On a day designated to honor and remember Veterans, many want to remind us of the hardships Veterans and active duty service members face.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs experts believe that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs with 11 to 20 percent in Veterans of operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and 30 percent among Vietnam Veterans like John Yule.

"My kids and my wife are afraid to wake me up because I jump, and it's been 40 years," said Yule.

Veteran Lisa Taylor served two tours in Iraq as a combat medic. She has seen many soldiers dealing with PTSD and believes that noticing the symptoms can be crucial to a service member receiving help they need.

"It's very hard to tell at times if somebody is going through it. It can range from something minor, hearing a flash or seeing fireworks and being startled, to having problems communicating with other people," said Taylor.

"Every day, every minute is high stress, and when he comes home all that stress is supposed to be reduced, but his body is still reacting to that stress," said Veteran David Benamati.

For Yule and many service members the reality of war is a tough thing to cope with.

"I can't say 'Oh I didn't do that,' I did, and I know they were trying to kill me and my friends so it is a very difficult transition and you live with what you did for the rest of your life," Yule said.

According to a report from the Pentagon in June, the suicide rate among the nation's active duty military personnel was more than the number of troops dying in battle. Suicide rates in general have risen since 2005 among active duty and combat veterans.

"We still have surviving WWII Vets who are committing suicide. We have Korean Vets committing suicide and the numbers on the Vietnam Vets today that are committing suicide is astronomical," said Benamati.

On Sunday at a Veteran Memorial service at the Arlington National Cemetery President Obama committed to taking care of Veterans and thousands of troops who will be returning from overseas in the next few years.

"If you find yourself struggling with the wounds of war such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injury, we'll be there for you as well for the care and treatment that you need. No Veteran should have to wait months or years for the benefits that you've earned," said President Obama.

Veteran David Benamati founded Patriot Hills of New York five years ago, and now the organization has a wellness center in the works for the Capital Region. The center will provide transitional services, integration and therapeutic healing for all service members and Veterans. For more information you can visit www.patriothills.org

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