Returning home from war and readjusting to civilian life is a challenge for many soldiers. More and more veterans are turning to nature-based therapy for help in overcoming their trauma.
The number of individuals developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is only continuing to increase.
According to an estimate from the National Center for PTSD, seven percent of all veterans will have PTSD in their lifetimes. Among female veterans, that number is raised to thirteen percent.
With mental health concerns on the rise, efforts are being made to identify suitable treatments for struggling veterans. So far, spending time in nature has seemed to generate the most successful results.
For centuries, nature has been used to improve health. For instance, the Ancient Greeks have been said to bathe in natural springs to rest and replenish themselves. And during both of the World Wars, doctors offered horticultural therapy to traumatized soldiers returning from combat.
Additionally, studies have shown that being in the outdoors is beneficial for people’s health in general.
Outdoor activity helps lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduces anxiety and stress, and improves the ability to focus.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs states that less than fifty percent of returning veterans in need of mental health services actually receive it.
They face several barriers, such as stigma and shame, but also a lack of access due to travel distance or long wait times. That’s why some veterans are taking matters into their own hands and pushing for more support.