FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Student Film Tackles Issue of PTSD, Stigma in Military Culture
Boston, MA – October 16, 2012 – The issue of soldiers’ mental health is making its way into the national spotlight as more troops return home from Afghanistan and we get close to the one year anniversary of the end of the War in Iraq.
A new documentary out of Northeastern University shares the stories of veterans who are suffering from the invisible wound that is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The film also exposes the stigma against mental illness in the military, which discourages many soldiers from seeking treatment. Soldiers in the film describe the difficulty they have faced in not only admitting they are suffering, but also in getting the military to take responsibility and provide them with adequate care and benefits once they have asked for help.
Soldiers in the film include Catalino “Papo” Rodriguez, an Army medic who served on the front lines in Iraq and went AWOL in 2010 after the Army failed to acknowledge his condition, and Sgt. Dennis Tackett, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who attempted suicide in 2011 after he had reached an emotional state so destitute that he could no longer cope and felt his family would be better off without him.
“For most of the American public,” says Director Alex Sandberg, “this issue is completely off their radar. They aren’t personally affected by it and so they know very little about it. It isn’t that they don’t care, it’s just that they don’t know.”
Sandberg says the goal of this film is to raise public awareness about the alarming rates of PTSD and suicide among our veterans and active duty soldiers, which will in turn put pressure on the military to dedicate more resources to mental health care.
“Not many people realize that soldiers who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan have a one in four chance of suffering from post traumatic stress or that in 2012, more active duty soldiers have committed suicide than have been killed in Afghanistan. If the public gets behind the issue of soldiers’ mental health, the military will be forced to finally pay more attention to it.”
Sandberg is currently raising money through the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, to help with the completion of this film. Contributions can be made here: http://www.kickstarter.
The film has an estimated completion date of June 2013.
Sandberg is a senior Communication Studies major at Northeastern. He is originally from Takoma Park, MD, a small suburb of Washington DC.