Dozens gather to join forces in battle against PTSD

A panel of experts discussed the causes, symptoms, effects, and treatments of PTSD.

Post-traumatic stress disorder impacts 5.2 million adults every year. On Thursday, 7&4 News held a Your Voice, Your Future Town Hall on PTSD at Milliken Auditorium in Traverse City.

A panel of experts discussed the causes, symptoms, effects, and treatments of PTSD.

â??Itâ??s a widespread thing especially with a lot of the troops coming home nowadays and itâ??s something that more people need to be educated on,â?? said veteran, David Graves.

One of the experts was Doctor Jonathan Shay, a former staff psychiatrist at the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic, Boston, where his only patients were combat veterans with severe psychological injuries.

Linda Fletcher was also on the panel. She is a retired Army Nurse (Lieutenant Colonel) with a Masters in Trauma Nursing who has been involved in an independent study of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for the last eight years.

Jacquelyn Kaschel, MLitt, CEIP-MH, PNH1 was another expert in attendance. She is the Executive Director of PEACE Ranch. PEACE Ranch is a center for experiential growth & learning where rescued, rehabilitated horses and licensed professionals help people dealing with a broad range of challenges including Addiction & Recovery, Behavioral & Emotional Issues, Marriage & Family Issues, Grief & Loss, PTSD & Trauma related issues.

Doctor Neil was the final panel expert at the event. He is a licensed clinical psychologist, has been in private practice for over 20 years. He has specialized in treating trauma for more than half of his career. Dr. Oâ??Donnell uses Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and body based approaches to help those suffering from PTSD.

More than 100 people were in attendance, with dozens more participating online through Facebook, Twitter, and

People expressed concerns and asked questions to the panel of experts.

â??I have seen a lot of firefighters hurting from things that they have seen,â?? said Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department Chief, Pat Parker.

â??Weâ??re hearing about how the VA has mismanaged care, thereâ??s not enough care for PTSD in the VA and thereâ??s a lot of alternative methods of care and Iâ??m here to learn basically,â?? said Congressman Doctor Dan Benishek.

Whether people asked a question or not, one thing that those who were listening could take away from the nightâ??s conversation, is that they are not alone in the battle against PTSD.

If you missed Thursdayâ??s live coverage of the Your Voice, Your Future Town Hall for PTSD, the event will be rebroadcast on 7&4 News and ABC 29&8 at 7 p.m. on Saturday.