Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a reality for many people in ourTillman Scholar community. Many of our scholars lead difficult, open conversations about addressing this issue and breaking down the stigmas surrounding the mental health of service people who have risked their lives and their families. As June kicks off PTSD Awareness Month, we’re highlighting the impact our scholars make in supporting those who struggle with PTSD, such as 2014 Tillman Scholar Marshall Bahr.
Dr. Marshall Bahr comes from a long lineage of military service and embraced his duty to his country after September 11. Serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment as a special operations medic, Marshall conducted more than 500 combat missions, experiencing the profound physical and emotional toll war exacts on our veterans.
Marshall saw friends return from service only to grapple with a healthcare system ill-prepared to understand veterans’ unique needs and the overprescription of painkillers, often leading to devastating addiction and overdose. Though medicine’s power to provide life-saving interventions was undeniable, he soon realized its limitations in healing the physical and psychological scars of war.
Marshall grappled with similar issues himself, he said. “We were trained to be resilient, to push through, to not show weakness. But the human psyche can only bear so much, and the effects of what we had seen and experienced started to seep into our daily lives.”
Marshall felt motivated to focus on how to serve veterans and their families as they navigate the challenges of PTSD, especially from combat and conflict.
Through his website, Marshall has published several articles on how to help build a community for those suffering from PTSD.
“The battle against addiction and PTSD is a strenuous, uphill journey. It is a journey marred with setbacks, with trials that seem insurmountable. However, our unwavering belief in the spirit of our veterans propels us forward,” he said. “These men and women have faced some of the most hostile environments on the planet. They have fought battles on our behalf, and now, it is our turn to stand with them in their battle.”
This is part of what inspired Marshall to partner with the Family Recovery Center in Ohio to launch the Helping Heroes Program. Twice a month, Marshall hosts in-person sessions at Oxford House in Salem, Ohio. But he also wants to extend help to all veterans in need, providing access to the meetings via Zoom.
“Through the Helping Heroes Program, we aim to create a community that breathes compassion, fosters resilience, and champions recovery. It is a place of solace, of understanding, and most importantly, of hope,” he said. “It is a testament to the fact that no veteran is alone in their struggle, and that help is always within reach.”
Additionally, Marshall is participating in the Iron Man race in Lake Placid, NY to raise awareness and funds for his program. You can help support his program via his fundraising page here.
If you or anyone you know is interested in joining a Helping Heroes Program session, they will be held the first and third Thursday of each month at 2 p.m. EDT. You can join via Zoom here, or by scanning the QR code below!