Title: “Here. Is. Better.” Documentary Sheds Light on the Wide-reaching Impact of PTSD
In the past, the term “shell-shocked” was commonly associated with combat veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, society is now beginning to understand that PTSD can arise from various stressful situations, not just combat. Offering a fresh perspective on the matter, the thought-provoking documentary “Here. Is. Better.” delves into this complex issue.
The documentary opens our eyes to the subtle and pervasive nature of PTSD. We meet Jason Kander, a former political aspirant and intelligence officer in Afghanistan, who recounts his experience of living in enemy territory for extended periods, isolated from his unit, constantly surrounded by danger. Although not as overt as experiencing an explosive device, such situations can still be profoundly stressful and trigger PTSD.
Another subject of the film, a single mother and former Army metal worker, describes her ordeal of being raped by a group of soldiers during her tour of duty. The film highlights the systemic failures in providing proper care and support for veterans who suffer as a result of their service. It raises questions about America’s responsibility to protect those who risk their lives for the nation’s safety and freedom.
Director Jack Youngelson sensitively captures the stories of four interview subjects: Jason, Vietnam veteran John, emotionally traumatized single mother-veteran Tabitha, and Teresa, whose husband was injured in an IED explosion. Their interviews shed light on how PTSD has affected their lives and the healing power of therapy.
The documentary also introduces viewers to various trauma-focused therapies like Prolonged Exposure, Cognitive Processing Therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It reveals the treatability of PTSD, offering hope to those struggling with the disorder who may not be aware of the available options.
The film grants unprecedented access to residential treatment programs run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Rather than focusing solely on clinical staff, the documentary spends significant time with the veterans and their families, allowing them to share their experiences and reactions to therapy. This approach humanizes the subjects, fostering empathy and understanding among viewers.
By immersing audiences in therapy sessions, “Here. Is. Better.” provides an authentic portrayal of the treatment process. The documentary’s commitment to emphasizing hope and resilience avoids exploitative storytelling of trauma, ensuring the film’s subjects are treated with dignity and respect.
Ultimately, “Here. Is. Better.” aims to be a beacon of hope for those struggling with PTSD. It serves as an educational tool for soldiers, medical professionals, and the friends and family of veterans. With over 13 million Americans currently experiencing PTSD, it is crucial to spread awareness about the resources and support available.
The documentary, released on all major platforms in the United States, has been praised for its effectiveness in bringing attention to a widely underestimated diagnosis. Its success lies in its ability to connect with viewers, helping them recognize their own struggles and inspiring them to seek help.
“Here. Is. Better.” is more than just a documentary; it is a call to action. It demands that we prioritize the well-being and mental health of those who sacrifice so much for our country. As we celebrate Independence Day, the film prompts us to reflect on our societal obligation to care for our veterans and to ensure they receive the assistance they need and deserve.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.