A U.S. combat veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Since 9/11, 30 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans treated at VA hospitals are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Today’s troops returning home from combat routinely and staggeringly face the untold psychological trauma caused in war. Reintegrating into society is a daily struggle — but they aren’t alone.
Army Combat Veteran Retired (Sgt.) Denoh Grear, in conjunction with the Wounded Warrior Project, is working to help heal our heroes through art, poetry and spoken word. A writer and poet, Grear compassionately speaks out about PTSD, the epidemic of suicides among our men and women in uniform, and the challenges our veterans face in re-assimilating to a world they’ve long been separated from. Through art, Grear says, we can assuage some of the trauma felt by our veterans, and set upon the task of restoring their hearts and minds.
“I write about my experiences, and dealing with (PTSD) now, as a writer, National Guardsman, and veteran. It’s about getting back to the human spirit, and coming together through art to discuss humanity and where we are right now,” Grear says. “There is a miscommunication in how we feel about the Middle East and how the Middle East thinks about us. I want everyone to take part in getting back to our common aspect of being human,” says Grear, who currently does outreach in the Iraqi community by punctuating similarities, not differences, between veterans and their Middle Eastern neighbors.
Honored at the Pentagon as a Wounded Hero, Grear is now giving back by spreading his art — and in doing so, his message — to combat veterans grappling with trauma and PTSD. He addresses colleges, veteran groups and audiences-at-large in an effort to deepen understanding between civilians and soldiers, enabling healing through reflection.