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PTSD topic of public forum

Elizabeth Haag chat transcript: Read the transcript.

An estimated 1-in-3 combat veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or depression, according to a comprehensive 2008 study of returning service members conducted by the RAND Corp.

In many cases, the veterans bearing these invisible scars are our colleagues, our neighbors and our loved ones.

How do we help them? How can they help themselves?

Those are among the questions we’ll try to answer Wednesday at 7 p.m. during a public forum in The Free Lance–Star’s community room, 616 Amelia St.

The panel discussion and question-and-answer session come on the heels of a three-part series documenting one local Marine’s struggles with PTSD and traumatic brain injury and his family’s efforts to cope with the consequences.

The series was written by local author Steve Watkins, who will moderate Wednesday’s panel discussion.

Panelists will discuss the signs and symptoms of PTSD, challenges faced by returning combat veterans and their families, and the myriad services available to them locally.

In addition, emergency services therapists from the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board will be on hand for free, private screenings.

The panel includes:

  • Dr. Jessica Espinoza, Fredericksburg clinic coordinator at the RACSB
  • Camilla Schwoebel, licensed professional counselor and regional director of the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program
  • Mahlon Johnson, peer specialist with the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program’s combat support group in Fredericksburg
  • Suzanna Erlichman, family support specialist with the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program
  • Bill Bauer, a registered nurse and licensed clinical consultant with the Wounded Warrior Battalion East, which has a regiment at Marine Corps Base Quantico.
  • Retired Marine Capt. Jason Haag, whose story was the focus of The Free Lance–Star’s recent series. He’ll be attending with his service dog, Axel, given to him by K9s for Warriors.

Those attending are eligible for raffle prizes, including movie and concert passes.

Edie Gross: 540/374-5428



Elizabeth Haag, the wife of retired Marine Capt. Jason Haag, will chat about her family’s experience with PTSD-related issues at noon today on

The Haags were the subject of a three-part series that ran in The Free Lance–Star the past three Sundays. To participate in the chat or post a question in advance, visit