PTSD: The Invisible Injury

The Semper Fi Fund supports wounded service members suffering from PTSD with effective, healing programs. A wide range of activities from our Integrated Wellness Program help with recovery; from NeuroFitness and our sports program Team Semper Fi, to therapeutic animal assisted therapy and artistic outlets.

One of our main PTSD focused programs is the Tim and Sandy Day Canine Companions program —allowing the Semper Fi Fund to provide much needed canine love and support to our nation’s heroes. We have not only united service members from all branches with dogs for the first time, but have also provided food, training and health care to hundreds of service animals from coast to coast. For each of those service members, their dog is a big deal:

For a Lance Corporal in North Carolina, Loki is a big deal: “He’s taught me patience and understanding, and also that failure is good sometimes, because it can make you better. He makes me extremely happy. He makes me feel safer and at ease when he’s around.”

For a Master Sergeant in California, Max is a big deal: “He goes everywhere with me. He is always there to comfort me. He is my happy place when things get bad.”

For a Corporal in Maryland, Dozer is a big deal: “He has helped me overcome many of life’s challenges since I have been home — from making me feel more comfortable going to crowded places to being my battle buddy on my long drive to work. Without Dozer, who knows where I would be.”

Loki, Max, and Dozer are all essential elements of their owner’s everyday lives — just three of the hundreds of animals provided to service members by the Semper Fi Fund in conjunction with the Tim and Sandy Day Canine Companions program. The human-animal bond can have profoundly positive effects for service members suffering from PTSD — unconditional canine love being the best medicine there is. It is best said by a Corporal from Michigan who told the Semper Fi Fund, “I would not be alive today without this dog in my life.”

Our newest endeavor is our program NeuroFitness. The technology, neurofeedback, is a form of training which helps the brain develop new skills and synapses. We can map and train parts of the brain affecting the service member with PTSD. “Neurofeedback shows great promise as an alternative — or adjunctive — intervention to treat the hidden wounds of war,” says Semper Fi Fund Medical Director, Dr. Robert Koffman.

This year, the Semper Fi Fund is releasing In Your Corner: The Path to Post Traumatic Growth. In 2004, the Fund acknowledged the need for assistance with combat stress from those returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. In Your Corner has been produced to continue the dialogue on PTSD recovery and highlight the power of post traumatic growth.

“We utilize a broad range of tactics in the battles against PTSD,” notes Semper Fi Fund President, CEO and Founder Karen Guenther. “And, if we work together, we can find more and more ways to help those who have given so much.”