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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem that can occur after someone has been exposed to a single traumatic event or multiple traumatic events, such as sexual or physical assault, natural or man-made disaster, and war-related combat stress. True North is in the business of war, thus this speaks to exposure of war either directly and/or vicariously to the solider, the family and all concerned. Symptoms of PTSD include persistent intrusive thoughts (For example what one could have should have or would have done differently on that day of the traumatic event) and distressing dreams (For example it can be a the same scary dream over and over again) about the traumatic event, triggered emotional responses to reminders of the trauma (For example outbursts of anger, crying, depression), efforts to avoid thinking or talking about the trauma (For example, isolation and withdrawal, muteness and other psychogenic symptoms) and persistent hypervigilance (Such as quick reflect action, insomnia, enhanced security features around the home and for self plus family) for cues that indicate additional danger or trauma re-occurring. It all sounds like a mouthful and yes it is. What you might find interesting is that that is not close to the half of it. The outcome of these symptoms is often a long, repeated and vicious occurrence of unfortunate events which seem unrelated till PTSD is diagnosed through thorough inquiry and tracking.
The mission of True North is to progressively adapt mental health care programs to the needs of soldiers and their families. It is because of this that for the first time ever in Kenya, regionally and indeed all of Africa that a residential treatment program for retired military families suffering from and due to PTSD was carried out. Cradle. This is the name of the program. The Cradle treatment program was made up of but not limited to Life maps (Tracing of traumatic history), Reintegration and Options (How to build networks to support income generation), Value addition (In the case of animal and food production for higher sale prices), Spiritual and conciseness repair ( healing of the moral wounds) Value for self and family (How to for widows, the fatherless and the forgotten) Dependency, alcohol and drugs misuse, sex and intimacy, art therapy, Trauma informed YOGA and how to find one’s life purpose.
True North’s leadership model has the three pillars. These are morality, audacity and team work. It is because of this the Cradle program has come to pass. The team of residential and daily facilitators came from different backgrounds; the Social enterprise, missionary work, ICT, Psychometric experts, Psychologists, Yoga teachers, art therapists, nutritional support experts, environmental spiritualists, farm keepers, agronomists, and many more. The Cradle program was a family program and it was made up of mothers of, children of and wives of retired military personnel suffering from PTSD. This is because we recognize that PTSD affects the entire family and thus the interventions must not only be global and holistic but family oriented as well.
Our treatment model has three segments. These are treatment, execution and recovery. PTSD may last as long as one lives. This is a highly likelihood occurrence. PTSD may lead to death either by suicide or reckless endangerment. This is true in some cases. PTSD may get better in time in terms the reduced symptoms and better life outcomes. This is true in the cases where there has been an intervention which has been successful. Not all of the interventions are! This is the wisdom behind our treatment program. True North understands that treatment of PTSD is a commitment for the long haul. And our answer lies in the recovery phase which loops back into the treatment phase for the purpose of paying it forward and a repeat program.
For PTSD awareness month 2017, True North has held the space for a forgotten, discarded, silenced, hopeless and helpless retired military soldiers and their families. CRADLE is just the beginning with a promise of more to follow. Your service, Our thanks. That is the True North motto.