Often our post 9/11 veterans return to civilian life facing enormous challenges. Many are dealing with physical injuries as a result of their combat experiences and many more deal with the invisible wounds of war – Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). In many cases, the physical injuries can be seen, diagnosed, and dealt with through a course of physical rehabilitation programs. However, the invisible wounds of war are more difficult to diagnose.
All too often PTSD and TBI symptoms are not identified until years after the traumatic events that caused them. In too many situations, by this time it’s too late – relationships have been destroyed, loneliness and despair have set in, and in the worst cases 22 veterans each day choose suicide as a solution. This is a devastating trend that FOCUS is designed to address head-on.
In conjunction with strategic partners like the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS), and the U.S. Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment (WWR), each FOCUS session spends 70% of our time addressing the issues associated with the invisible wounds of combat. More importantly, we give our participants valuable tools, techniques, and support resources to overcome their emotional wounds.
After FOCUS many of our participants go back to their civilian lives with renewed hope and direction. Without exception, they renew the brotherhood that they once had during their military service years. Additionally they add the support of the NMCRS nurses, WWR DISCs, and dozens of FMF staff to serve as advisors, mentors, coaches, and brethren going forward in their lives. We are so very proud of many of our FOCUS graduates who have completely turned their lives around. They have re-established relationships with spouses, significant-others, children, parents, siblings, friends, and society in general. Many have returned to civilian life and find their career calling or go back to school to complete their higher education. About 10% of our graduates even return to future FOCUS sessions to serve as “FOCUS Graduate Mentors” to help new participants address their issues and work towards their life goals.
If you are a veteran in need of help, or you know of a veteran needing help with the invisible wounds of war, contact the Focus Marine Foundation or complete a “FOCUS Application” form from any page on our website.