A new concept that uses acting and the theater to help unlock the inner grief and suffering that many soldiers bring back from war zones, is catching on, and some think not a minute too soon.
According to a 2008 RAND study, some 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress or major depression. And the Department of Veterans Affairs recently reported that, between 2005 and 2007, the suicide rate for male vets between 18 and 29 had jumped 26 percent.
Bryan Doerries, creator of Theater of War, says it works because "Theater will give permission for people to see themselves in an ancient narrative and then be made to feel less alone by that."
Soldiers agree and now the Department of Defense has provided funds so that Theater of War can visit 50 military sites over the next year.
"You could term this an epidemic. It is a crisis of enormous proportions. And, as such, it is receiving that level of emphasis and attention." Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton, director, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury
"It's so obvious to see someone without an arm or a leg and missing an eye, and, automatically, we feel very symptomatic for those people, but you never know what someone is going through on a mental basis, and because you don't want anyone to know. That's the deepest hidden secret that you could ever have." Former Staff Sgt. Katisha Smittick
1. Where are United States soldiers currently stationed?
2. What is PTSD? Who suffers from it?
1. Why do you think they use plays from so long ago? Do you think it would have a different effect to use more modern plays?
2. Have you ever been really moved by a theater piece? Explain how.
3. Why do you think the plays make soldiers feel less alone? What makes you feel less alone?
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