A new documentary called “Wounded Heroes” is shedding light on some innovative ways to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.
“The main purpose of this film for me was to give veterans and our military — really anybody battling post-traumatic stress — hope,” producer/director Michael Gier told NBC7.
Gier said he was troubled by the number of veterans who commit suicide, which Veterans Affairs officials estimate is as high as 20 people a day, and veterans who rely on medication.
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“I met some on 16 to 18 prescriptions, which is amazing to me,” Gier said.
The filmmaker set out talk to veterans across the country to find out about innovative treatments and therapies for PTS. According to the VA, PTS is a mental health problem some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event with symptoms lasting more than a few months.
Two programs that help treat PTS highlighted in the documentary are located in San Diego County. One of them, Saddles in Service in Ramona, is a horse therapy program run by Navy veteran Mike Oluvic and his wife.
Oluvic said he didn’t address his PTS right away in the film.
“You almost have to become emotionless, right?” Oluvic said. “You want to leave the stuff from your deployment back there on the field and not bring that back home and pack it back there, but it doesn’t work that way. You bring it back whether you know it or not.”
Another therapy in San Diego that Gier features in the film is called Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories or (RTM), a treatment in which key aspects of a traumatic memory, such as color or clarity, are altered through therapy, making those memories less impactful.
During the filming, Gier said it was apparent how helpful group therapies were for veterans.
“Part of the reason the programs work so well: They have a new group of people they can trust, they can let their armor down and talk, which is really important in their recovery,” Gier said.
Many of the programs to help treat PTS highlighted in the documentary are not just for veterans.
The “Wounded Heroes” documentary comes out March 5.