'Dirty Harry' helps war vets meditate

Clint Eastwood and David Lynch along with a panel of researchers, veterans and active duty soldiers will launch "Operation Warrior Wellness"—a national initiative to teach 10,000 veterans and their families a simple meditation practice for preventing and treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Joining Eastwood and Lynch in person will be British comedian Russell Brand, a David Lynch Foundation supporter.

Hundreds of thousands of vets suffer from PTSD

An estimated 30% to 35% of the 1.64 million US troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq since October 2001 suffer for PTSD. Almost half of all veterans with PTSD have never sought help of any kind, and of those who do, half receive inadequate treatment. Care for all these veterans could cost society between $4 billion and $6.2 billion biannually.

At a conference earlier this week, researchers presented evidence showing that Transcendental Meditation can be an effective aid for veterans suffering from combat stress and PTSD, including anxiety, depression, anger episodes hypervigilence, insomnia, and substance abuse.

Meditating veterans from World War II, Vietnam, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan reported on how Transcendental Meditation has aided their recovery from PTSD.

Operation Warrior Wellness partnering with veterans organisations

Operation Warrior Wellness is currently working in partnership with national and local veterans groups, the Doe Fund for homeless veterans in New York City, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Hope for the Warriors, and Urban Zen.

"When I heard that 18 veterans commit suicide every day, and that more soldiers have died by committing suicide than die in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, I knew the Foundation had to do something to help," Lynch said.

"Operation Warrior Wellness is raising the funds to teach 10,000 veterans with PTSD and their families to meditate. But that is just the beginning. There are hundreds of thousands of suffering vets — and everyone of them should be able to learn to meditate if they want to."

Panelists who spoke at the conference included Clint Eastwood, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Russell Brand, and others. - (EurekAlert!, December 2010)

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