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Internet program helps veterans reconnect with civilian life

BY Rebecca Jacobson  May 26, 2014 at 9:30 AM EDT

Many veterans returning home from war struggle to readjust. After months or years on the battlefield, soldiers can feel isolated as they cope with PTSD and trauma in day-to-day civilian life. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the number of war veterans suffering from PTSD, drug and alcohol dependency and depression grew from 63,767 in 2006 to 100,580 in 2007.

“When I got back from Iraq in 2005 I had trouble relating to people in 2005. Being on guard at all times, constantly looking for some threat that’s not going to be there,” said former Army staff sergeant Mike Nowacki.

Despite the prevalence of mental illness and trauma, returning soldiers are often reluctant to reach out for help. Veterans teamed up with Prevail Health Solutions to create online programs to start the conversation. Soldiers can get online and chat with other veterans about how they’re adjusting, and help them cope with the transition.

Science correspondent Miles O’Brien has more on this story for the National Science Foundation’s series “Science Nation.”*

*For the record, the National Science Foundation is also an underwriter of the NewsHour.