PTSD & families

Photo by Kelly West
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Danna Hughes' husband came home from the Vietnam War. But he fought a mental battle years later and wrestled with what he saw there.

He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and eventually she did too.

Untreated PTSD in veterans becomes an infection that plagues military families, Hughes told a group of News 21 fellows today when we visited her at her Vietnam Veterans' Wives office.

"She becomes like him. The children become like him. It's a vicious cycle. The only way it can be helped is with good counseling," she said.

Hughes' own experience prompted her to start the organization which operates from a trailer in the woods. The group works on disability claims for veterans and counselors visit the office monthly to have sessions with veterans, Hughes said.

Counseling services for men, Hughes said, are limited in the area and services for their wives basically don't exist.

She hopes to see more programs developed for wives of veterans to help them cope with the fallout of war within the family. Hughes said children of veterans need services too, including counseling and tutoring.

Because Ferry County is rural and some women don't have cars or don't have the gas money to get to counseling, getting care is a challenge, Hughes said.

In this area where so many pursue the military as a career expanding services into small towns seems to be a recurring theme.

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