Yountville Tragedy Puts Spotlight on PTSD Treatment

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YOUNTVILLE -- As Northern California tries to make sense of the tragedy in Yountville, inevitably the conversation will turn to veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and how it is treated both in the community as a whole and at places like the Veterans Home of California.

"They do a phenomenal job. We refer our veterans there all the time because we know the quality of work that they do there," said Shing Long of The Soldiers Project.

Long's life work is helping veterans with PTSD cope with and overcome the mental health impacts of going to war.

She says there is one stark statistic, one particular category where veterans struggling with PTSD are more likely than the rest of the population to resort to violence -- suicide rates and self-harm.

"For me, I have no fear," Long said. "I don't take precautions when working with clients because I feel safe."

Connecting veterans with resources and each other is so often the first and most crucial step in treatment.

A proliferation of groups in the region have made it their mission to connect veterans with those resources and reconnect them after their service so they know they are not alone or isolate but rather that they are valued.

"We all are here to try to make a difference and I think mentally when people feel like they may not matter, that they have no purpose, they begin to emotionally become unstable," said U.S. Air Force veteran Aaron Hutchinson. "We all want a purpose. We all want to feel like we are making a difference in his world."

It is, of course, the terrible irony that three women who made it their goal to be the difference for veterans paid the ultimate price for it.