Navy Wounded Warrior Enrollee Shares PTSD Journey
June 25, 2020 | Story by Shannon Revelle | Commander, Navy Installations Command
WASHINGTON -- June is PTSD awareness month and to bring awareness, Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Tiffany Hamilton shares her personal story.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health disorder that develops after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.
“These invisible wounds present unique challenges for those affected but we are here to assist recovering service members navigate these unchartered waters,” said Lisa Sexauer, director of Commander Navy Installations Command’s Navy Wounded Warrior program. “More importantly, we assist them with mapping out a plan for their future which is critical to alleviating the stress of the unknown.”
Diagnosed with PTSD in 2017, Hamilton enrolled in the Navy Wounded Warrior Program. She credits the program for its instrumental and life-changing effect in her recovery process.
“When I was diagnosed, I was in a dark place both mentally and physically,” Hamilton recalled. “I was extremely nervous about my transition, especially being a single mom and a full-time student. I know, without a doubt, I would not have come this far in my recovery process without the assistance from the Navy Wounded Warrior Program. I continue to advocate for our Navy Wounded Warrior Program and I have personally referred 10 Sailors to receive tailored support.”
Through the program, CNIC assigns enrollees recovery care coordinators to help wounded ill and injured service members, their caregivers and their families navigate the recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration process.
“My recovery care coordinator continually followed up on me and did not allow me to fall through the cracks and isolate myself,” Hamilton said. “I am a natural planner and the comprehensive recovery plan provided by my recovery care coordinator was very beneficial and allowed me to track my progress. My RCC also mentally encouraged me through some really tough times.”
Along with the development of a comprehensive recovery plan, recovery care coordinators identify resources needed to achieve goals, such as assistive technology, education, employment or housing.
“My recovery care coordinator connected be with valuable resources, such as Operation Homefront and this was one of my greatest blessings,” said Hamilton. “In obtaining transitional housing, I was able to prepare me and my son for our future in ways that I never could have imagined. I am now on my way to a healthy transition from the Navy and I will be attending college classes at Azusa Pacific University in pursuit of employment in the medical field.”
“Thank you to the Navy Wounded Warrior staff for all of their dedication and countless hours researching, following up, contacting, connecting, and assisting wounded warriors.”
NWW has enrolled nearly 1,300 service members with a primary diagnosis of PTSD and that number does not account for those who are coping with a secondary diagnosis of PTSD.
“Our regional non-medical care management teams work with wounded warriors and their families to identify their goals and develop plans to achieve them, and we view these efforts as essential as the medical aspect of the service member’s recovery,” said Sexauer. “IT2 Hamilton’s story is a great example of how, with the right assistance, success is possible. Bravo Zulu to IT2 and her case management team for meeting the challenge.”
For assistance or resources related to PTSD, service members are encouraged to contact National Center for PTSD at (www.ptsd.va.gov).
NWW is the Navy’s sole organization for coordinating the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen, and providing resources and support to their families. Through proactive leadership, the program provides individually tailored assistance designed to optimize the success of the wounded warriors’ recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration activities.