The psychological wounds suffered by veterans returning from war may be as hard to overcome and as difficult to cope with as the physical injuries of combat. Veterans may experience severe anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicidal feelings. It's estimated that one in five of the troops returning from the current war in Iraq will suffer some form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) Their symptoms may include intrusive memories and dreams, flashbacks, hypervigilance, impaired memory, diminished affect, and feelings of estrangement from others that interfere with their return to civilian work and family.
A powerful documentary, Hidden Wounds, explores this painful reality through the stories of three veterans and their struggles to overcome the trauma of their experiences. Nate Fick, a Dartmouth College graduate, was a platoon commander in the elite Marine "Recon" unit. He fought in Afghanistan, and then Iraq, but on his return to the United States, he became seriously depressed for close to a year. In dealing with his feelings he turned to writing, resulting in the book, One Bullet Away.
Sgt. Russell Anderson served in the Army for four years after graduating from high school in the late sixties. However, he remained in the Army Reserve, and in 2004 he volunteered to go to Iraq. Hostile and depressed after his return, he refused to seek counseling, considering it a sign of weakness.
Jeff Lucey joined the Marine Reserves as a high school senior, then spent a year as a truck driver in Iraq. Returning home, he began drinking heavily, experienced panic attacks, and became increasingly despondent. Despite his parents' pleas, the Veterans Administration would not agree to commit him for treatment of his post-traumatic stress disorder until he stopped drinking. He committed suicide at the age of twenty-three. His parents have become activists in the campaign to ensure adequate government funding for PTSD treatment.
"I am grateful to NECN for having the courage to produce such an important documentary. It is something every man or woman returning home from war should be required to see." —The Honorable John F. Kerry, United States Senate
2007 United Nations Association Film Festival
Cine Golden Eagle Award
Black Maria Film and Video Festival, Director's Citation
Big Muddy Film Festival, Honorable Mention
WORLDFEST, Silver Remi Award
Picture This... Disability Film Festival, Best Documentary
Freddie Awards, Finalist
Northampton Independent Film Festival
New Hampshire Film EXPO
Women in Film & Video New England
American Psychological Association
Western Psychological Association, 2007 Festival Winner
Association for Gerontology in Higher Education
Council on Social Work Education
Plymouth Independent Film Festival