A Minnesota PBS Initiative

Mental Health Awareness

In 1980, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) began recognizing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, giving veterans and others who experienced trauma during the Vietnam War years a name for what they were experiencing.

While many veterans have PTSD, it's important to recognize that not all do; and that, like some of the stories below illustrate, PTSD affects more than just US veterans. PTSD affects members of the allied forces, US civilians who served abroad, Southeast Asian civilians, families, and more.

We've assembled some resources for PTSD under our Veterans' Resource page.
Click here for more information.

Two young, shirtless men in a jungle. The one one the right is wearing sunglasses.

We've got all of this bottled up inside of us and nobody to talk to about it. Nobody understands. And nobody cares.

-George Woodbury

Professional portrait of a large Hmong family. The patriarch is well lit and the other family members are more dimly lit.

For over 41 years, these things haven't dissappeard from my head. When I think about these things, I feel my body get all warm.

-Samao Xiong

Artistic rendering of the statues of soldiers from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial being reflected back in a blue eye ball.

My story never really ends, but due to unresolved mental issues, I began focusing on photography and other artwork.

-David Gjerdingen

A young man in civilian clothes sitting and peering out onto a body of water.

You're right there watching man's inhumanity to man. How you deal with it afterward is unique; everyone's different.

-Ken Plant

Five soldiers posing for a grainy photograph.

Now, the combat is over, but the battles rage,
It seems that they just get worse with age.
Family and friends don’t understand,
how my life was changed in Vietnam.

-Ron Mackedanz

A young soldier with a green cap and slight smile on his face.

Why was he there...
did he come to haunt me?

He never came again but in the nightmares I often
see him grinning at me in his death.

-Charles Schwiderski

A young soldier with his hands on his hips, standing amid palm trees.

My best therapy is getting together [with] friends who understand what I experience.

-Charlie Timp

Artistic rendering cartoon of a silhouette of a soldier walking in front of a firey war zone; the soldier is disintegrating and blowing away.

Something just broke and I cried. I sobbed like a baby for a couple hours.

-Tom Geerdes

A father with a large beard holding and looking at his son, who is sitting on his lap.

I'll never know exactly what my father did and saw in Vietnam. But I know one thing, he handled the dead. And the dead came to him.

-Justin Florey

A somber looking young man standing outside, a Jeep in the background.

Not all casualties occur on the battle field, or spill blood on the soil. You won't find his name on the wall. But to me, he died in Vietnam.

-Michael Parenteau

A US civilian crouching down with Asian children outside of a blue single-story building.

I wasn’t the only foreign worker in my organization who slipped into a passively suicidal state.

-Stewart Herman

A young soldier crouching down with his German Shepherd scout dog.

PTSD is what drives these guys to alchohol, and a number of things like that.

-Jerry Miron

Story Themes: Family, George Woodbury, Justin Florey, Mental Health, PTSD, Read, Ron Mackedanz, Samao Xiong, Stewart Herman, Stories on a Theme

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