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Masked Vet Running Across Iowa to Bring Attention to PTSD

photo submitted
Joshua Jorgensen "The Masked Veteran"

U.S. veterans coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq can face major challenges re-entering civilian life. On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer updates the latest research on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

We also hear from an Iowa veteran drawing attention to PTSD and the problem of veteran suicide by running across Iowa. Joshua Jorgensen will run the whole distance across the state wearing a military-style gas mask. Jorgensen says veterans might not know where to turn as they return to communities. 

"I wake up and go into the civilian world and go to my job, and every day I'm reminded of things I've done in my past, things I've done in the military, things I enjoyed, some things I didn't enjoy," he says.  

Jorgensen says that he started trying to challenge himself physically as part of dealing with the change.  Now,  he is working with Team Fidelis to connect with veterans and prevent the estimated average 20 veteran suicides daily.   

"My time leading soldiers isn't complete.  Now that we are in the civilian world, I think we need to have more leaders that can step up and 'Hey, I've got another way to go; I've got another path.  I want to take you down this path and I want to lead you to recovery,'" he says.

The Veteran's Crisis Line is 1-800-273-8255. 

In the first part of the program, we hear from NIH researcher Susan Borja about PTSD research, Psychologist Suzanne Zilber from Ames about assessing PTSD symptoms, and Fred Travis from Maharishi University of Management about research supporting the benefits of medication to treat PTSD.

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River