Approximately one in three veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan experience post-traumatic stress or a traumatic brain injury (TBI) after returning home. These “invisible wounds” are often complex. A perceived social stigma keeps many veterans from addressing them.
Ryan Pitts, a Medal of Honor recipient who served in Afghanistan, told The Boston Globe about the challenges he faced in seeking treatment after he returned home following a battle that killed nine others:
“At first, I felt that I deserved to suffer and that my pain was penance for my failure to bring everyone home,” he said. “But I began to think about how they would want us to carry on and the lives I would want them to lead if we had traded places. We owe it to ourselves and to our fallen to lead good lives worthy of their sacrifice.”
Last night, Pitts shared his story with an audience gathered at Boston’s Symphony Hall to benefit the Home Base Program, a partnership between Massachusetts General Hospital and the Red Sox Foundation.
The Home Base Program helps returning veterans get the treatment they need for the invisible wounds that continue to inflict them post-combat. A team of MGH clinicians affiliated with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital – as well as social workers and other health care professionals – work with veterans to treat combat-related stress or TBI and also provide counseling to their families.
At Partners HealthCare, we believe that expanding access to mental health care fills a pressing need for patients, families, and their communities. We’re honored to support our local veterans and their families through the Home Base Program.
Watch a video from the Home Base Program’s public service advertising campaign to learn more about their mission.