Military Wives Flash Skin for PTSD Awareness

A new organization, Battling Bare, seeks to strip away the stigma of being a soldier dealing with post-combat stress

They are pillars of strength and bravery on the field. But sometimes, they come back wounded, broken and suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about one in five veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffers from major depression or PTSD. In keeping the tough superhero façade alive, the symptoms of PTSD are often overlooked and ignored, and as a result, soldiers struggling with scars of combat are not getting the help they need. And neither are their spouses and children.

Ashley Wise was one such spouse. Her husband served eight years in the Marines and then joined the Army and did two tours of duty in Iraq as a Staff Sergeant in the Army. Once home he had trouble coping and finally reached a breaking point -- he locked himself in a hotel room with a bottle of alcohol and a gun. He eventually came out without hurting himself or anyone else.

Ashley soon learned that her family was not alone -- many military families had the same story. So she started Battling Bare, a private organization that raises awareness about soldiers with PTSD and offers support to those soldiers and their families. The site hosts a list of local and online resources, personal stories and, what seems to be getting the most attention, pictures of military wives proudly flashing pledges to their husbands written on their bare backs.

What started as a Facebook campaign just two months ago has grown exponentially and now hopes to have state chapters in three years’ time. It’s an ambitious goal but something tells us we are dealing with some pretty tough ladies who can make it happen.

For more support and to talk to other military families, join the conversation on our message boards.

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