Christian Marine Helps Vets with PTSD
Clayton Lassiter was a US Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now he’s a pastor in Florida, and he’s aiming to help veterans with some of the same struggles he had:
Since January, three of Clayton Lassiter’s buddies from his military command have killed themselves.
Having served with the Marine Corps during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Lassiter has dealt with his own struggles. He’s had nightmares, flashbacks and used to have trouble being in unfamiliar environments.
Notably, the article only mentions the VA once — to highlight that it is “overwhelmed.” Lassiter isn’t out to point people toward the VA; he’s trying to start a group of veterans helping veterans, potentially focusing on the area that helped him:
[Lassiter’s] wife, children and spiritual life helped him keep focus and avoid taking drugs or drinking excessively like other veterans, he said.
The effort is notable because of the DoD and VA’s reluctance to institutionally affirm and proactively support the role of faith in conflict and post-conflict reintegration. The potential of a link between PTSD and moral injury has been discussed only academically, and a controversy-shy Department of Defense is averse to promoting religion as a legitimate means of coping with either — even for US troops of faith.
As Lassiter’s own experience demonstrates, being a faithful man of Christ does not grant immunity from PTSD, but faith can provide the necessary foundation to cope with the traumas of combat experiences.