“They said I had PTSD and I’m like…that’s the four-letter word that no one likes to say. I don’t have that. I’m a tough guy. I’m a Marine. What if somebody finds out? What’s going to happen to me?” After six years in the Marine Corps, Brett Cassavant told the Home Base Program in a video interview that he returned home a different person.
Cassavant’s situation is not uncommon: One in three veterans suffers from the “invisible wounds of war,” such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression and substance abuse. Nor is his reaction unusual; many veterans and service members struggle with the perceived stigma of treating mental health issues.
The Home Base Program, a partnership between Massachusetts General Hospital and the Red Sox Foundation, has launched a new training program to help veterans like Cassavant get the care they need, supported by a $1 million grant from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. “Serving Those Who Have Served: Practical Approaches to Addressing the Invisible Wounds of War in Post-9/11 Service Members and Veterans” offers free training for first responders and health care professionals – two groups in a unique position to help returning veterans.
“They said I had PTSD and I’m like…that’s the four-letter word that no one likes to say. I don’t have that. I’m a tough guy. What if somebody finds out? What’s going to happen to me?”
Available on-demand online, the brief courses provide an introduction to post-9/11 military culture, PTSD, TBI and the risks of suicide and substance abuse among veterans and service members. They aim to increase awareness of the challenges veterans and service members face, as well as the mental health resources that can help them.