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article imageKids uniting to knock out PTSD in Veteran dads Special

By Debra Myers     Jun 17, 2013 in Health
Evansville - Jesse Gourley, 8, is no stranger to the effects of PTSD on her father. With her mother's help, a group has been formed called PTSD TKO Project. Their mission is to get help for their moms and dads and spread awareness of PTSD.
Jesse Gourley is a typical, fun-loving child, who loves camping, writing and drawing. She carries a heavy load on her heart for one so young, witnessing what PTSD has done to her father. Jesse has experienced hurt and anxiety in a time of her life that she should be free from such things.
Her mom, author and owner/founder of Military with PTSD, Shawn told Digital Journal that she has done her best to ease things for her children, telling them no more than needed, about why daddy acts like he does and seems so angry at times. Shawn knows though, that children don't really understand PTSD.
Shawn shared with Digital Journal how TKO came to be: Jesse came to me with the idea of TKO. They bet me they could raise more PTSD awareness than I could and said the theme was 'Momma said knock you out' and from there it went. Thus Jesse started and become the founder of PTSD TKO, a place for kids and teens to come together to share their photos and stories, to educate other children as well as to learn that they are not alone.
Shawn Gourley directed Digital Journal to this FB page where Jesse tells her story on Facebook, explaining why she wanted to start this group:
People like Daddy are on Facebook, and they will see the PTSD TKO, and they'll want to knock out PTSD with us. I want people to understand that if Daddy is having a nightmare about a helicopter, yells, and shoves Mommy out of bed, that isn't the same as a bad dad where you need to call the police. The mom and the kids have no choice but to go for a drive because they're scared of the way he's acting. If they call for help for him,then the police will come, and they won't understand that he doesn't mean to be scary.
I think people like Daddy who have nightmares and make their families need to go for drives are the ones who get sad and commit suicide.
Max Martini  Mack  on CBS  The Unit  has joined the cause
Max Martini "Mack" on CBS "The Unit" has joined the cause
Shawn J. Gourley
I hope when they see the pictures of kids fighting back, they will know even when we get scared and leave, we still love them and are proud of them. Then they won't be sad enough to leave this world.
For her, she has faced a frightening reality, not only at home but with the knowledge that every day, 22 Veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD commit suicide. Already, Jesse has met kids on her Facebook page who have fathers that have done just that.
Two days ago, Jesse wrote a letter to President Obama, to ask for help so that no more kids would lose a Veteran parent with PTSD to suicide. She hopes that the president will help "save our Vets".
In the meantime, Jesse is actively involved on her Facebook page, talking to others, teaching and learning more as she goes. The biggest thing that she gets out if this though, is feeling that she is not alone.
The letter Jesse wrote
The letter Jesse wrote
Shawn J. Gourley
(Photo stream from PTSD TKO available here.)
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