Waterbury, VT — Veterans with watertown PTSD have lost the battle against PTSD, but not the war.
The Veterans Association says more than 500 veterans have signed on to join a group called Waterbury PTSD, hoping to provide support to help them get through the trials of their lives.
Veteran John Taggart, a retired Marine who is now the vice president of Veterans Advocacy, said they are looking for veterans with PTSD who have had “significant life-changing events,” and that they need to get on board with their own PTSD diagnosis and support systems.
“We need people who are not on medication or not on antidepressants, or we can’t be here and we can get through this,” Taggert said.
Taggert has served in the Marines for nearly 30 years, and he has served on the board of directors for the Waterbury VA Medical Center.
He says they have a group of veterans who have experienced significant life-altering events.
“We have about 400 veterans who were involved in the 9/11 attacks, the invasion of Iraq, and who were wounded in combat, and we need to make sure they have access to the support systems that they require,” Tagart said.
The group is currently working on a pilot program for veterans who are looking to get treatment in Waterbury and Vermont, which they call “Waterbury’s First,” Tags said.
They are currently looking for vets with a “significant trauma history.”
“It’s about getting them into the best support system that they can, getting them to work with a team of people, finding out what works and what doesn’t work,” Tigart said of the Watertown pilot program.
“It’s been successful, and I’m very excited to be working with them in the next phase.”
The Waterbury Veterans Association is also helping the Vermont Department of Veterans Affairs expand its mental health care services.
The VA is seeking veterans with a history of mental illness, as well as those who have PTSD.
They also want to identify veterans with traumatic brain injury, which can cause depression and suicidal ideation.
“The VA needs veterans to be seen by a professional first, and secondly, that they have the support and services to manage their PTSD and get them through the process,” Tiggert said of veterans needing mental health help.