San Diego Veterans Group Works To Raise Awareness About PTSD

Roughly 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Some studies suggest suicide risk is higher in those who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.

Monday is National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day, and a local organization is launching a campaign urging struggling veterans to have the courage to ask for help.

The Three Wise Men Foundation, founded by former San Diego Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, is rolling out a public service ...

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UCSD Study Links Higher PTSD Risk To Genetics

A wide-ranging study published Wednesday identifies possible genetic links to an increased risk of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Scientists from UC San Diego School of Medicine, the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System and other institutions analyzed DNA samples from more than 13,000 U.S. soldiers and discovered two statistically significant genetic variants that might be associated with PTSD.

RELATED: Veterans Say Trained Dogs Help With PTSD, But The VA ...

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Physician Shortage Drives Wait Times At VA San Diego

The VA San Diego is trying to cope with the longest wait times for patients seeking mental health care of any Veterans Affairs office in the country.

For one physician, it feels like the problem has been getting worse.

Dr. Hoang Nguyen has worked as a psychiatrist for the VA San Diego for nearly 19 years. San Diego has seen the demand for mental health appointments increase 9 percent a ...

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Point Loma Event Aims To Help Veterans With PTSD

Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury may find support and resources at a Liberty Station event in Point Loma Saturday.

Organizers of the event, Operation Engage America, hope to bring together veterans who need help and their families with the resources available from health and military organizations in San Diego County.

Jean and Howard Somers founded the event after their son Daniel, an Iraq war veteran, committed ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 12

Carlos had also to come to terms with the fact that his life after the Marine Corps looked nothing like he thought it would when he enlisted as a kid.

“In Chicago I was a punk teenager, and I needed change. The Marine Corps was a way out. Where I was headed in my life, it was a bad route. I joined the Marine Corps to stay alive. I was ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 11

Our sleepy, overcast Sunday morning eased into a sunny afternoon, and Carlos and Logan were headed off to see a Padres baseball game in downtown San Diego - an invitation from a fellow Marine.

Carlos told me he and Logan had been to only one public sporting event since he returned from Iraq. It was another Padres game, and the experience drained him.

“It’s not easy. I don’t go ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 10

As our conversation at the Carlsbad coffee house winded down, a palm frond fell from a tree onto a nearby table.

The loud bang quieted the patio of voices, until the embarrassed laughter of diners being scared over nothing broke the silence.

I turned back to face Carlos. He was looking down at his hands. Logan had moved from his comfortable position beneath the table, and was now resting his ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 9

Meribeth Russell sited a statistic about Freedom Dogs of which she is most proud.

“Nothing is guaranteed, and there are always people you wish you could’ve done a little more for. They’re like family and we follow them for life. But I can tell you we’re 100 percent in one regard- not one of our participants has committed suicide.”

I found this statistic particularly impressive, considering the ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 8

When Carlos first started attending training sessions at Freedom Dogs, he felt he didn’t fit in. Big reason: Carlos was afraid of dogs. He didn’t like them, and he believed they didn’t like him. In the tough, gang-infested Chicago streets where Carlos grew up, dogs were treated more as weapons than pets.

A big part of Freedom Dogs is getting a shell-shocked troop to trust him or ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 7

A critical care nurse and veteran’s daughter named Meribeth Russell started Freedom Dogs in 2006.

Russell got the idea when she participated in a hospital study that found obese children who were able to bond with a therapy dog had an easier time losing weight.

Russell decided to translate that study into something that could help the disabled veterans returning from Iraq. She pleaded with the leadership at Camp ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 6

Without the distractions of combat, symptoms of PTSD began plaguing Carlos’s everyday life. He began to drink heavily to blot out the depression and anxiety he was feeling.

And the guilt.

When Carlos was in Iraq, he didn’t know the villagers were mostly uneducated and illiterate. The Iraqis traveling the road it was his job to protect couldn’t read the signs posted by the American military.

The ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 5

In the days following the suicide car bombing in 2004, Carlos didn’t feel angry. He didn’t feel frightened. He didn’t even mourn the men who were so brutally killed that day. Carlos didn’t feel anything at all. He was completely numb.

He learned to detach himself from his own well-being. He accepted what he assumed was his impending death; it was clear to him he would ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 4

There was a shyness about Carlos, despite his intimidating appearance. Muscles earned from years of required physical fitness bulge under his black shirt, his sleeves pushed up to his elbows to reveal a maze of tattoos covering both of his forearms.

Shiny rhinestones rested in each of his earlobes, and a steal post pierced the area below his lower lip.

Carlos nodded bashfully, and greeted me in a quiet voice ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 2

“A man, well, he'll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the devil can't fool a dog.” -Earl Hamner, Jr.


The Mercedes, filled with what turned out to be 200 pounds of explosives, smashed into the Humvee. The blast incinerated both vehicles. The only part of the Humvee that remained was its sizzling engine block.

The force of the explosion knocked Carlos unconscious ...

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