We can all agree that our military veterans go through a great deal of turmoil while in the service. This is true whether they see combat or not. Often when our service men and women come back, we can tell that they have changed in some way, whether it is physically or not. Many of us find ourselves asking them and each other if there is anything we can do to help. Sometimes there is nothing we can do, but other times our veterans do not know how to express what would be helpful for their reintegration into civilian life. This is especially true if they suffer from PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is an issue that plagues our military and no cure is known. While medication may help in some cases, often symptoms are still experienced and it is painful both for the person suffering and for those who love them.

Greenways have been shown to help those with mental health issues, no matter how severe the problem is. Getting some sunshine and fresh air does help, and sometimes just the act of getting up and going somewhere may be able to help those who suffer from this disorder. Although there will be some days where they may not be able to get up and shower let alone get outside to walk around, having the option of a place to go that is quiet and outside is always a good one. Sometimes they help people to think. Other times, it helps those with PTSD to be outside around people they may not know, whether it is to show them that they will not be attacked or if it is to show them that whatever situation they had been in is no longer the everyday truth.

If someone you know and love is a veteran, especially one suffering from PTSD, see if they will visit your local greenway. Here in Gaston County, we want to support those who are willing to protect us and want to give back any way that we can. If our developed greenways can be of any help, we will be thrilled. Have them stop by and see just how much better they will feel after some time spent around nature.