The Star-Herald

Conference to highlight PTSD and relationships

CARIBOU, Maine — The Meo Bosse Detachment 1414 Marine Corps League will sponsor an all-day conference on post-traumatic stress disorder and relationships at Cary Medical Center on Saturday, June 2.

Slated from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., the conference will feature representatives from local veterans services offices as well as from the Maine VA Healthcare System.

Spouses or significant others of veterans with PTSD, as well as adult family members, friends and all loved ones of veterans and military members with PTSD are welcome.  Individuals who serve in emergency medical services, law enforcement and fire departments, and all who may be impacted by trauma and experience PTSD, are also invited.

Registration for the conference is $10 per person and lunch is included.

Craig Fay, a member of the local Marine Corps League and a Vietnam veteran, is coordinating the conference along with Bill Flagg, director of community relations and development at Cary.  Fay said he has wanted to bring such a conference to the area for some time.

“PTSD can have a major impact on all kinds of relationships and particularly spousal or family relationships,” said Fay, who has suffered with PTSD.  “It is important for veterans and all those affected by this serious issue to learn how to cope and to gain insight into various treatment approaches and to learn about local resources.”

Flagg was impressed with the response to his request for collaboration with the Maine VA Healthcare System.

“We are pleased to have representatives from the Northern Maine Vet Center and the VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic to discuss resources available for the treatment of PTSD,” Flagg said.

“In addition, Dr. Shanna Treworgy, PTSD clinical team lead with the Maine VA Healthcare System, will also have extended remarks at the conference and serve on a panel.  We also hope to have some personal testimony about living in a PTSD relationship.”

According to the National Center for PTSD, trauma survivors with PTSD may have trouble with their close family relationships or friendships, said Flagg. The symptoms of PTSD can cause problems with trust, closeness, communication and problem solving. These problems may affect the way the survivor acts with others. In turn, the way a loved one responds to him or her affects the trauma survivor. A circular pattern can develop that may sometimes harm relationships.

He said various studies show as many as half of Vietnam veterans (1.7 million) have experienced PTSD.  Other data shows that 10 percent of Gulf War veterans, 12 percent who served in Afghanistan and 20 percent who served in Iraq have been impacted by the issue.  

“Hundreds of thousands of veterans and their families are coping with PTSD and this conference will help to address treatment options, understanding the issues surrounding the disorder and available local resources,” Flagg noted.

Seating space for the conference will be limited. Those interested should pre-register.

To register or for more information, call Cary Community Relations at 498-1112 or email jholmquist@carymed.org.

Submitted by the Community Relations and Development Office of Cary Medical Center.

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