« Surprise, I just joined the Marines | Main | Marines leave no place for insurgents to hide in western Al Anbar »

Wounded Warrior Project holds conference for stress

NEW YORK (Feb. 27, 2006) -- Service members and families exposed to combat-related stress recently participated in a conference on stress management coordinated and sponsored by the Wounded Warrior Project here, February 15 and 16.


Submitted by: New York City Public Affairs
Story Identification #: 200622414410
Story by Cpl. Lameen Witter

The two-day conference took place at The Lighthouse, a center primarily for the blind, and was open to any returning Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom veterans and their family members. The 17 attendants of the conference learned how to cope with combat-related stress while reintegrating into society, as well as effectively manage the average stress encountered by people on average basis.

The World Trade Center Healing Services, the agency that provided free stress and trauma counseling for survivors of September 11, led sessions throughout the conference with stress relieving alternatives like acupuncture and meditation.

Each day was also led by a keynote speaker. A former NYPD Bomb Squad officer turned Air Force Anti-Terrorism Task Force member addressed the conference on the first day, and a peer counselor from the FDNY followed on the second day of the event, testifying on their own experiences and methods of dealing with them.

Following each keynote speaker, attendants broke into different groups based on their circumstances, such as, family members of returning veterans, veterans OIF and OEF, and government personnel who interact with OIF and OEF veterans.

The Wounded Warrior Project National Policy Director, Jeremy Schwat, was the main coordinator of the event and worked toward making the conference as beneficial for service members as possible.

“I thought the conference was successful. The hardest part of it all was to get service members to attend the conference. Often times the macho-ness of a service member may get in the way of them asking for help,” said Schwat.

Reluctance to attend the conference may have stemmed from the fear of service members being labeled as having a post traumatic stress disorder, said Schwat. He emphasized that the conference was strictly for combat stress and nothing more laying to rest the concerns of many service members.

Since its development, the Wounded Warrior Project has dedicated its efforts to assisting combat veterans of the Armed Forces. The organization plans to take the conference to major military instillations throughout the nation, and encourages participation of service members.

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. As long as there has been war, there has been combat stress, and the service member in combat has been placed in an abnormal situation. So, certainly that will impact them later on down the line, and the important thing is to get help in any way, shape, or form,” said Schwat.