Posts Tagged ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’

Military Leaders to Promote Meditation at Iowa Summit to Help Reduce Veteran Suicide Epidemic

October 4, 2012

 Military Leaders Promote Meditation to Reduce Suicide
Epidemic Among Veterans

VA Funds Studies on PTSD; Iowa Summit to Showcase Benefits

Eighteen veterans commit suicide every day—
a horrific consequence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
More veterans die by suicide every year than are killed annually in Iraq and Afghanistan.

New York, NY — October 4, 2012: America’s veterans and their families are turning to meditation to ease the trauma of combat and pave the way to a healthier life.

The David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity founded by iconic filmmaker David Lynch to bring Transcendental Meditation to at-risk populations, will hold an Iowa Veterans Summit on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at the West Des Moines Marriott. A press avail will take place at 10:00 A.M., followed by the Veterans Summit from 1:00 P.M. to 2:30 P.M.

The Summit will present the research and clinical applications of Transcendental Meditation for reducing stress, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), substance abuse and suicide, depression and enhancing resilience and performance.

The Washington Post reported in May that the Department of Veterans Affairs, seeking new ways to treat PTSD, is studying the use of Transcendental Meditation to help returning veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thousands of veterans have learned Transcendental Meditation. Research on veterans who meditate has shown that the technique not only reduces the psychosocial symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, but also balances serotonin and norepinephrine, and regulates the sympathetic nervous system. Transcendental Meditation is used on the oldest private military campus, Norwich University.

Panelists at The Iowa Veterans Summit include: Dr. Richard W. Schneider, USCGR (Ret.), President, Norwich University; Jerry Yellin, World War II P-51 Fighter Pilot and National Co-Chair, Operation Warrior Wellness; Col. Brian Rees, M.D., Command Surgeon, 63rd Regional Support Command and Luke Jensen, Operation Enduring Freedom veteran and Operation Warrior Wellness (OWW)–Iowa Advisory Board Member. All panelists have extensive experience in using Transcendental Meditation.        

Bob Roth, the Executive Director of The David Lynch Foundation, stated, “It is imperative that we help veterans and the brave men and women still in active-duty deal with the stress that stays with them long after they have returned home. Transcendental Meditation is a wonderful tool that can help those overcome the stress and anxiety from the theater of war, allowing them to lead healthier, more resilient lives.”

Todd M. Jacobus, the Chair of the Iowa Commission of Veteran Affairs, also stated, “Reducing the number of suicides among our Army personnel and veterans today is a top priority of the Army community. Commanders and leaders at all levels of our U.S. Armed Forces are making efforts to remain engaged in the lives of our Soldiers in order to be responsive to their needs and issues, and to get them help. However, these efforts can’t succeed without the involvement of the greater community, including programs like Operation Warrior Wellness, and the Resilient Warrior Program.”

WHAT: Presentations will highlight program outcomes for active-duty military personnel, veterans, cadets and their families. Those invited include military and Veterans Affairs leadership, behavioral health officers, mental health professionals caring for veterans and their families, policy makers, medical researchers and educators.

WHO: Dr. Richard W. Schneider, RADM USCGR (Ret.), President, Norwich University; Jerry Yellin, World War II P-51 Fighter Pilot and National Co-Chair, Operation Warrior Wellness; Col. Brian Rees, M.D., Command Surgeon, 63rd Regional Support Command and Luke Jensen, OEF veteran and OWW–Iowa Advisory Board Member   

WHERE: West Des Moines Marriott, 1250 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, Iowa

WHEN: Thursday, October 11, 2012

10:00 A.M.: Press avail

12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M.: Lunch

1:00 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.: Veterans Summit

You can view the event brochure by visiting, http://www.operationwarriorwellness.org/iowa_summit.

To arrange an interview with Bob Roth or Jerry Yellin, please contact Ken Chawkin at 641-470-1314 or kchawkin@mum.edu.

About The David Lynch Foundation
The David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 2005 to fund the implementation of scientifically proven stress-reducing modalities including Transcendental Meditation, for at-risk populations such as underserved inner-city students; veterans with PTSD and their families; American Indians suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high suicide rates; homeless men participating in reentry programs striving to overcome addictions; and incarcerated juveniles and adults. For more information, please visit www.davidlynchfoundation.org.

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Reported in The Gazette: Summit in Iowa to promote meditation to reduce suicide among veterans. Radio Iowa: Veteran shares story in hopes of helping others deal with impact of war and Matt Kelley of Radio Iowa interviews Jerry Yellin about an Iowa Veterans Summit solution to PTSD

Here is a newly published Letter to the Editor of the Air Force Times by Dr. Leffler and Dr. Schneider: TM CAN SLOW AGING EFFECT. Also see: Norwich University Studies the Benefits of TM on Cadets.

See video highlights of the Iowa Veterans Summit – PTSD and Transcendental Meditation

A Transcendental Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress by David Lynch and Norman E. Rosenthal

July 13, 2011
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL OPINION JULY 13, 2011
A Transcendental Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress
One study of soldiers showed a 50% reduction in symptoms after eight weeks of meditation.

By DAVID LYNCH and NORMAN E. ROSENTHAL

War wounds come in many forms. Some are obvious, such as scars, gashes and amputations. Others, the psychological ones, are less visible but equally devastating. The numbers in this second group are staggering: The military’s latest mental health survey of combat troops in Afghanistan found that 20%—one in five—suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

People with combat-related PTSD often suffer from periods of emotional numbness and depression that may coexist or alternate with intense anxiety and delusional thinking. Their days may be afflicted by flashbacks to traumatic situations. Their nights are often disrupted by sleeplessness and nightmares, from which they awake drenched in sweat as though back on the battlefield.

Yet most veterans with PTSD do not receive adequate treatment for various reasons, including fear of stigma, a dearth of effective treatments, and insufficient government resources. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, recently acknowledged that, “The therapies used for treatment of brain injuries lag behind the advanced medical science employed for treating mechanical injuries.”

Clearly, there is a need for new, creative approaches: Transcendental Meditation, better known as TM, is a promising candidate. An ancient Vedic technique developed in India, TM was brought to the West in the late 1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It involves sitting comfortably with eyes closed for 20 minutes twice a day while thinking a mantra. It does not require adherence to any religious belief system or ritual practices. Yet to date there are over 340 peer-reviewed papers describing the beneficial effects of TM on the mind and body.

lynch

The David Lynch Foundation recently hosted an event to help raise funds to teach TM to our wounded warriors returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. We heard from veterans of three wars: Jerry Yellin, a fighter pilot in World War II who flew 19 missions over Japan; Dan Burks, who served in Vietnam; and David George, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Despite differences in age and wartime experiences, these men had two things in common: All suffered terribly from PTSD, and all experienced tremendous relief from TM. Life became once again peaceful and even joyful for them.

What was clear from these men’s stories was how great a toll their symptoms took on their families, as well as on themselves. In a poignant video, Mr. George’s mother described the transformation of her son from a courteous young man into a hard-drinking, depressed and deeply disturbed veteran, who she feared would take his own life or someone else’s.

All that changed when Mr. George began to meditate on a regular basis. According to Ms. George, TM saved her son’s life.

In a study of Vietnam vets conducted by James S. Brooks and Thomas Scarano and published in the Journal of Counseling and Development in November 1985, TM outperformed the conventional psychotherapy of the day. More recently, a pilot study of five Iraq and Afghanistan veterans published in the June 2011 issue of Military Medicine showed a 50% reduction in PTSD symptoms after just eight weeks of practicing TM.

There is a scientific basis for the observed benefits of TM for combat-related PTSD. In several studies, TM has been shown to buffer fight-or-flight responses, which are thought to be overactive in people with PTSD, as evidenced by their hypervigilance, anxiety and exaggerated startle responses.

In addition, TM has been found to reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart attacks and strokes—other conditions in which an overactive fight-or-flight response may play a role. In a similar manner, TM may modulate nervous system responses, thereby allowing affected veterans to relax and leave behind the traumas of war.

Regardless of how TM helps, the mounting evidence leads to one conclusion: If a simple, low-cost technique like TM can substantially alleviate the suffering of even some of the thousands of veterans afflicted with PTSD, how can we afford not to give it a try?

Mr. Lynch is a filmmaker and the founder of the David Lynch Foundation. Dr. Rosenthal is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School and the author of “Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation” (Tarcher-Penguin, 2011).

Photo credit: Associated Press
Link to article: http://on.wsj.com/rg8tYC

WSJ: LETTERS: VA Meditating on Good Therapies, July 22, 2011

In “A Transcendental Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress” (op-ed, July 13) David Lynch and Norman E. Rosenthal pose a challenge for the federal agency entrusted with caring for our nation’s 23 million veterans: “If a simple, low-cost technique like TM can substantially alleviate the suffering of even some of the thousands of veterans afflicted with PTSD, how can we afford not to give it a try?” In fact, Transcendental Meditation has received substantial attention at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health. Indeed, meditation and other forms of complementary and alternative medicine are already used at VA to help veterans suffering from PTSD. We have embarked on a series of clinical investigations to evaluate all forms of meditation, TM among them, in order to determine whether this promising technique can produce results consistently for our patients, and which kind of meditation, from among several practiced widely today, would be most helpful to them. VA is beginning demonstration projects across the country in different care settings. We are looking for a simple, natural, culturally neutral and repeatable technique that can augment existing PTSD treatments. These studies require us to be open to new techniques for prevention and treatment, as well as structured in our approach to determining their value and efficacy. The studies already conducted, and those currently underway, are listed at http://tinyurl.com/3gx74o3.

The promising personal experiences mentioned in the article and the dedicated efforts of our VA, DoD and NIH team offer us all hope for finding more effective treatments for PTSD. We can’t afford not to.

W. Scott Gould

Deputy Secretary

DVA

Robert A. Petzel, M.D.

Under Secretary for Health

DVA

Washington


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