8 TED Talks For Veterans Adjusting To Life With PTSD

Although many Veterans are able to adjust to civilian life with relative ease, research shows that Australian military and ex-ADF personnel experience higher rates of post-traumatic stress syndrome than the average population. Adjusting to a new diagnosis can feel overwhelming and isolating.

The following TED and TEDx Talks offer a variety of insights into PTSD, particularly through the lens of Veteran mental health. Through this collection of short videos, you’ll learn more about the science behind post-traumatic stress, uncover new and alternative ways to heal from the condition, get inspired by remarkable personal stories of triumph and perhaps even feel less alone as you navigate your new path. 

If you would like extra support adjusting to civilian life, our Veteran’s Programs are available and fully-funded for all DVA gold and eligible white card holders. To learn more about how to access weekly check-ins with a registered psychologist and develop long-term mindfulness practices that support your health and wellness, click here.

1. TED Talk | The psychology of post-traumatic stress disorder

The psychology of post-traumatic stress disorder

Many of us will experience some kind of trauma during our lifetime. Sometimes, we escape with no long-term effects. But for millions of people, those experiences linger, causing symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, and negative thoughts that interfere with everyday life. Joelle Rabow Maletis details the science behind post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Duration: 4 mins.

2. TED Talk | Art can heal PTSD’s invisible wounds

Art can heal PTSD’s invisible wounds

Trauma silences its victims, says creative arts therapist Melissa Walker, but art can help those suffering from the psychological wounds of war begin to open up and heal. In this inspiring talk, Walker describes how mask-making, in particular, allows afflicted servicemen and women to reveal what haunts them — and, finally, start to let it go. Duration: 9 mins.

3. TED Talk | We train soldiers for war. Let’s train them to come home, too

We train soldiers for war. Let’s train them to come home, too

Before soldiers are sent into combat, they’re trained on how to function in an immensely dangerous environment. But they also need training on how to return from the battlefield to civilian life, says psychologist Hector Garcia. Applying the same principles used to prepare soldiers for war, Garcia is helping Veterans suffering from PTSD get their lives back. Duration: 10 mins.

4. TEDx Talk | Operation PTSD: Veterans Healing Themselves Through Meditation

Operation PTSD: Veterans Healing Themselves Through Meditation

Erik Younger shares how meditation is changing the lives of America’s Veterans in this video from 2017.  When Younger returned from combat, he discovered that civilian life held life-threatening perils of its own.  After experiencing chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, nightmares, hypervigilance, insomnia and depression along with other symptoms frustrating him and his doctors, Younger was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in 2014. The pursuit of a daily meditation practice has provided Younger with release from the intense symptoms he experiences. Looking to provide hope and help for fellow soldiers suffering from PTSD, Erik founded Vetitation, a  focused training program teaching Veterans how to meditate.  Duration: 11 mins.

5. TEDx Talk | Understanding PTSD’s Effects on Brain, Body, and Emotions

Understanding PTSD’s Effects on Brain, Body, and Emotions

In this video from 2016, Janet Seahorn, PhD discusses how PTSD disrupts the lives of average individuals as well as combat Veterans who have served their country and how the person experiencing the trauma often then impacts the lives of his/her family, friends, and workplaces. PTSD does not distinguish between race, age or gender and often goes undiagnosed. Even with proper diagnosis, many individuals do not know where to turn to get help. Society needs to understand the aftermath of trauma, especially combat trauma and how to prepare for warriors when they return home. Duration: 16 mins.

6. TEDx Talk | Return from Chaos: Treating PTSD

Return from Chaos: Treating PTSD

Peter Tuerk, the director of a VA PTSD program, introduces how we process experiences and trauma. Using examples from his research, he describes how it’s possible to process memories and their associated meanings to overcome a traumatic incident. When active avoidance impedes natural recovery the most effective healing is facilitated through treatment designed to limit avoidance and to assist with the processing of relevant information. Duration: 12 mins.

7. TEDx Talk | PTSD: We are NOT Broken

PTSD: We are NOT Broken

In this riveting and personal talk, San Pao walks his viewers through memories of a life lived with PTSD, exploring the many ways trauma and its consequences can manifest and shape a person’s path over time. Drawing on his experiences as a Veteran, refugee, and son, Pao encourages us as a society to talk about PTSD, openly and with more generosity; implores leaders to take ownership over the effects of trauma; and explains why access to mental health care must be made easier, not harder. Duration: 11 mins.

8. TEDx Talk | A long shadow: war, mental health and leadership

A long shadow: war, mental health and leadership

Australian Army Officer, Ash Judd, explores the topic of leadership following his personal struggle with mental health after the war in Afghanistan. In this TEDx Talk from 2015, Judd explains how we should make our leadership about the led, and not about the leader.  Duration: 16 mins.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis and needs immediate help, please reach out to one of the following 24/7 services:

– Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
– Lifeline: 13 11 14
– Open Arms: 1800-011-046. 

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