Many of you may have read my recent article, Dr. Phil Takes Us From "Heroes to Monsters." The show stated that veterans suffering from PTSD are damaged goods that can dismantle marriages.
According to a post on Dr. Phil's official blog, Turning Point, the official name of the show has been changed to "Heroes in Pain."
First of all I want to thank you ALL for expressing your concern, and sharing that article and others among your social media outlets, as well as expressing your concerns to the show.
I can speak for myself when I say that while this is great -- he has realized what he did, and it does more realistically describe the challenges our returning service members face -- I DO NOT think it's enough to reverse the damage done. In his blog post he acknowledged the fact that he "unintentionally offended" some viewers. That's a good way to put it. If it were me, I would have used the term "outraged," but who am I?
In light of recent personal events, there is ONE thing in this whole article that really stood out to me, and it was this:
"The stories our guests shared last week told of the realities of PTSD, and I hope, stressed the need for both awareness and treatment — not only for the veterans reliving the nightmares of what they saw in battle, but for their parents, spouses and children as well."There is a huge, huge, huge need for awareness and treatment for PTSD that seemingly not even those trained in the area are able to provide. Whether it's because they are shorthanded, or because of budget cuts -- it doesn't matter. This country can figure out how to find money to use on millions of other things, is it so hard to find some to help our own.
A prime example of this is my husband. On Monday he was admitted to a VA hospital near us for PTSD related issues that resulted in him expressing the desire to take his own life. Let me just say that for MONTHS this man has been asking to get back into some kind of therapy -- so yes, people do fall through the cracks.
The first question the VA ALWAYS asks is, "are you a threat to yourself or others?" Of course this is their way of determining the level of crisis involved, and it's protocol. The automatic response of MOST people calling, though, is always going to be "no." (And from experience when someone says "yes," to that question, it is usually then taken to the wrong hands anyway, whether it be law enforcement, or certain psychiatric units that are not equipped to handle combat related PTSD).
It's hard to ask for help, been there done that, and each time you are turned away, it gets harder and harder to ask for it. We were told by the VA that they WANT for the Veterans to come begging for help, that their system is set up that way intentionally. But now that my husband actually got to the level of saying he wanted to take his own life, I feel like they are trying to cover their own behinds and acting like they had NOTHING to do with his downward spiral.
It seems like Dr. Phil is doing a similar thing: he knows exactly what to say now to get a majority of those he "offended" to feel like he is doing the right thing by changing the name of the show.
But my feeling is this: If, as stated in the blog post, he TRULY believes that " it's critical that those who serve our country and keep us safe receive the best and most comprehensive treatment available," then he needs to use the power he knows he has to do more, and encourage others to do more.
And if by "the best and most comprehensive treatment available" he means the book, "The PTSD Breakthrough" by Dr. Frank Lawlis, who is according to Dr. Phil one of the leading PTSD experts in the world, then he has some serious work to do. Because if all it took was a book there would be a lot less people needing help.
(If you want to know what the book is about, PLEASE don't buy itm read this blog by Torrey Shannon first. Torrey is the wife of a combat wounded veteran, a writer and one heck of an advocate. We both have very similar views about this book.)
What are your thoughts? Does changing the name of the show change the name of the game, or is the team at Dr. Phil still wrong for not thinking it through in the first place?
Kristle Helmuth is a 26 year-old Army veteran, wife of a wounded warrior, and mother of two children. She is currently working toward her B.S in Communications and digital media. Kristle is the author of Forget The Dog Not The Baby, a blog that shares her personal experiences regarding her husbands injuries in Iraq, and their journey through healing.