With the little research I have been able to do so far, there is a likelihood that some level of PTSD is common with returning vets having been in a combat zone.
I see it to be much like a mountain rescue scenario.
rescue on Mt. Everest, 28,000′
Its a cold, dark lonely place up there on a mountain, hoping someone comes to help you.
The first thing the victim needs, is hope. I remember pleading with a Coast Guard chopper crew to simply go up to the area my partner was and, “Just make some noise.” He didn’t have adequate pain meds and him, ‘giving up,’ was a foreseeable outcome without some indicator that I had gotten out and help was on the way.
I see us in a similar situation, here in America. Returning vets, those in your back yard, need to be shown we appreciate them, we love them and we are here to embrace them. Draw them into the community and it’s activities.
Maybe some aren’t ready for all that. For the vast majority, though, it isn’t going to do any harm to be kind, include them, and show them you care. Personal warmth. A social structure they are a part of.
As regular people, that may be all some of us can do. But, a warm friendly social experience is significant.
The next (metaphorical) stage of the mountain rescue, the medical and evacuation team, and hopefully a chopper ride out to definitive medical care is soon to follow.
PTSD appears to be treatable. There are very effective programs out there. The therapy community is scrambling to handle the volume. Regular people can make a difference, in the meantime.
Look what they were willing to do for us, we can’t be that busy.