USA (MNN) — Veteran suicide remains a major problem in the United States. Wounded Warrior Project just released its annual veterans survey and says PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – remains a top challenge.
Nearly 80-percent of those surveyed by WWP say they deal with PTSD effects every day. As reported here, suicide rates among veterans 34 and younger have spiked in the last two years.
Army vet Steve Prince says, “When they (veterans) get diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress [Disorder], the VA tells them it’ll never go away and that basically robs them of hope. We’ve found that obviously, the best healer is Christ Himself.
“The veteran community has tried many, many things to help veterans. You name it, they’ve tried it. Faith in Christ is the number one answer.”
Prince runs Warriors Set Free, a division of Set Free Ministries. They help veterans find freedom from the memories and experiences that haunt them. The ministry is only four years old, but it’s growing quickly.
“These guys are finding freedom in Christ and going out and sharing that with their other groups, with other vets and other organizations,” he shares.
“We’re really gaining momentum. We’ve talked about expanding and finding the right people, the right vet in the right town, to help us run this in other states, but we’re not at that point yet.”
Veteran suicide and Warriors Set Free
Warriors Set Free began in October 2014 as a sort of “grassroots” movement. “We just went out and tried to seek and help vets,” Prince recalls. The challenge wasn’t in finding troubled veterans, he adds. “Them allowing us to help them was one of the hardest points.”
It’s different in a number of ways from secular therapies or those operated by Veterans Affairs (VA). Warriors Set Free is faith-based and utilizes peer-based counseling.
“Warriors Set Free is a very unique ministry because it’s vets speaking with vets,” explains Prince. “We all kind of communicate the same [way]; we have a similar sense of humor. We have a common bond of service to our country.
“There are a lot of ministries and – honestly, most churches – that aren’t prepared to handle the trauma or the experiences that veterans have suffered in their service.”
Working from Scripture at every point, Warriors Set Free introduces veterans to the truths of God’s Word and the freedom He offers through Christ.
“Even with veteran suicide, we come at it from a spiritual warfare approach: taking every thought captive, understanding what lies are, knowing that the enemy wants to destroy you, and learning how to fight.”
“The biggest lie of the enemy is that you’re the only one and you’re fighting this alone,” explains Prince. “A lot of these veterans just need encouragement, need hope, need to know they’re not alone in what they’re going through.”
Header graphic courtesy of Military.com