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Megan Turak - Staff Writer
With the Department of Defense’s recent announcement that 17,000 more US troops are set to deploy to Afghanistan and the Rand Corporation’s Study that more than 300,000 returned service members currently suffer from PTSD, depression and/or combat stress, Gift From Within, a nonprofit organization specializing in the care and support of survivors of trauma, is providing free webcasts focused on helping service members, veterans, and their families.
Gift From Within, founded by Dr. Frank Ochberg, a veteran of the US military, former Associate Director of the National Institute of Health and a specialist in traumatic stress syndromes, and Joyce Boaz, a multi-media producer who has contributed to an award winning video used to train trauma center medical staff, offers understanding and hope through educational materials, resources and peer support. Ms. Boaz is currently Gift From Within’s Executive Director and its resources are located on the web at www.giftfromwithin.org/.
“People can overcome horrible traumas and lead desirable and productive lives. Helping fellow human beings is the greatest gift any of us can experience. It really is better to give than to receive. And your opportunity to give begins with listening. Then with learning. Then with understanding. Sometimes, all you have to do is be there,” says Dr. Frank Ochberg about the role Gift From Within provides to survivors of trauma and those who care about them.
“Transition from Military to Civilian Life,” one of the free webcasts available online at Gift From Within.org, discusses veterans readjustment back into daily life and guides families and loved ones through the normal transition period.
According to a brief composed by Witness Justice in Partnership with the Veterans’ Initiative Center & Research Institute, “…there are also hundreds of thousands of family members and loved ones who may also need support while their loved one is deployed and after reintegration…we need to educate veterans and their families regarding the impact of prolonged combat trauma and the repeated exposure to violence and how this can change the personal and family dynamic after returning home.”
For greater understanding and support, Gift From Within presents a variety of other free webcasts with topics ranging from nightmares, flashbacks, trauma memories and triggers, post traumatic stress disorder and depression, to positive and negative emotions, traumatic brain injury and compassion fatigue –a condition that sometimes befalls caregivers. The site also possesses a wide range of professional articles, meditations, and self help tools like inspirational art, poetry and survivor stories.
About Gift From Within: Gift from Within is a non-profit organization dedicated to those who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), those at risk for PTSD, and those who care for traumatized individuals; develops and disseminates educational material, including videotapes, articles, books, and other resources through its website; maintains a roster of survivors who are willing to participate in an international network of peer support; is designated by the Internal Revenue Service as 501(c)(3) public charity, eligible to receive tax-exempt grants, gifts, and donations.