General News Research — 11 November 2013
Acting plan to tackle veterans’ PTSD

Acting and film-making are to be used to combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health problems facing returned war veterans.

A Griffith University team in Queensland has launched The Difficult Return, a project which uses “theatre as therapy” to get traumatised veterans and their families to share their experiences.

depressed man on steps“While there is more recognition of conditions like PTSD these days, more can be done,” said Professor Michael Balfour, leader of the three-year project.

“There is a real need to tackle a tendency, especially among younger returned veterans, to isolate themselves, withdraw and self-medicate.

“By engaging veterans and their families through popular culture and new approaches to arts-based work, we want them to know that even though there may be issues ahead, they are not alone.”

The Difficult Return will include developing digital stories and short films with veterans and their families, plus theatre projects exploring the difficulties some experience when returning from conflict zones.

The project has been backed by musician and diplomat Fred Smith, who has released charity single Going Home to raise money for the Mates4Mates ex-service support group.

He says the army is taking active steps to manage PTSD but soldiers often need assistance to admit they have a problem.

“Telling their stories is so important and that’s what The Difficult Return project will encourage, so everybody understands the experience and accepts there should be no shame around PTSD,” he said.

This article first appeared on News.com on 9 November, 2013.

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