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New Program for Veteran Families

Updated: Thursday, August 7 2014, 12:07 AM CDT

The National Alliance of Mental Illness, or NAMI, is busy making plans to help our country's veterans.

They're offering free classes for family members of veterans; six sessions to build, support, and walk people through the mental illness journey.

"When you go through these classes, you become part of family that's going through this journey of mental illness and its hard. It's not an easy journey."

Millitary wife and mother Anne Russell supports the program 100 percent. She says its a good thing for families of veterans to meet and counsel one another, adding, "in the Vietnam generation we were just left to dangling out there. It was twenty years before we even knew what was the matter"

Her husband Robbie was in the army for eight years. He's a Vietnam vet with PTSD since the 1970s. Russell says at times her husband has flashbacks, and he used to get very upset at the meat counter in the grocery store. Russell said of her husband, "when he was in Vietnam, his unit setup next to the medics and the meat was reminding him of people coming in with limbs and stuff blown off".

Through the support of NAMI, Russell and her husband are learning more tools to work through his illness. Both will serve as facillitators for the upcoming program.

Part of the program, may include the use of dogs. Research says dogs have a very calming effect on those with mental health issues. The sessions include small groups by design and teachers aren't trained psychologists - just family members working together to support and sharpen one another.

Obama also said, "Just knowing that somebody else is there and that they're going through it and maybe they've tried something that you haven't tried yet. That's really where all of this is going."

New Program for Veteran Families

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