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Dropping the “D” in PTSD

H.O.O.V.E.S. helps veterans turn post-traumatic stress into post-traumatic growth
Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 11:44 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Swanton horse sanctuary; H.O.O.V.E.S., pairs veterans with horses to help battle things like anxiety, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress.

The program has been rescuing horses, and veterans, for over a decade.

The common term P.T.S.D., for post-traumatic stress disorder, has a different name at H.O.O.V.E.S., where their veteran retreats offer a curriculum with activities that take a holistic approach to health.

Founder and Executive Director Amanda Held, says it’s all possible with a shift in perception.

“Post-traumatic stress is actually just your body’s normal response from a traumatic situation. That’s not actually a disorder, that’s your body functioning as it should,” explains Held. “We take them through a process that takes that post-traumatic stress and takes them to post-traumatic growth.”

Held tells us the veterans that come through the H.O.O.V.E.S. retreats have a 70% reduction in substance abuse, a 45% reduction in trauma triggers, and about a 90% reduction in isolation.

H.O.O.V.E.S. is not the only organization dropping the “D” in PTSD. Multiple mental health advocates and rehabilitation centers say the goal behind the name change is to encourage veterans to feel more comfortable opening up about their experiences and to seek help sooner.

“For me, turning post-traumatic stress into post-traumatic growth means I’m human, I’m vulnerable, I make mistakes, I’m flawed just like everybody else,” says Navy Veteran Tristan Mohler, a program director, and alum of H.O.O.V.E.S. “It’s my perception and how I show up to the world. And think good is going to happen, and not the horrible thoughts I used to have.”

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