‘Thank You for Your Service’ documents ‘failed policies’ for war veterans

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A film and panel discussion on Thursday, Oct. 13 will look at how the U.S. military’s mental health policies are failing veterans returning from war. The event, which is free and open to the public, will place at 7 p.m. at the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St.

The program will begin with a screening of the documentary “Thank You for Your Service” directed by Tom Donahue. “‘Thank You for Your Service’ takes aim at our superficial understanding of war trauma and the failed policies that result.  … Observing the systemic neglect, the film argues for significant internal change and offers a roadmap of hope,” say the event organizers.

The documentary interweaves the stories of four Iraq War veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with candid interviews of top military and civilian leaders, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates; Admiral Mike Mullen; Generals David Petraeus and Loree Sutton; journalists Sebastian Junger, Nicholas Kristof, and Dexter Filkins; Senator Patty Murray; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani; and Colonels Lawrence Wilkerson and Dave Sutherland.

Panel discussion

After the screening, there will be a panel discussion and audience Q&A moderated by former NBC News/FOX News anchor Linda Vester. In addition to Donahue, the participants will include:

Thomas Burke, a student at the Yale Divinity School and president of the Yale Student Veteran Council

Dr. John H. Krystal, the Robert L. McNeil Jr. Professor of Psychiatry, professor of neuroscience, and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine; chief of psychiatry at Yale-New Haven Hospital; director of the NIAAA Center for the Translational Neuroscience of Alcoholism; and director of the Clinical Neuroscience Division at the VA National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Robert H. Pietrzak, associate professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, and director of the Translational Psychiatric Epidemiology Laboratory in the Clinical Neurosciences Division of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD

William Rodriguez, U.S. Army, a decorated three-time Operation Enduring/Iraqi Freedom Veteran who is featured in the film and is an advocate for better understanding of various veterans’ issues, including PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, and suicide

Michael J. Wishnie, deputy dean for experiential education, the William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law, and director of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School.

Watch the trailer for “Thank You for Your Service.”

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