BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — “There are a lot of veterans out there that are suffering from PTSD that don’t really get brought to light or nobody really recognizes that, and then they just fall into a hole where they don’t want to help themselves," said Warren Schulz.
Warren was in the Navy from 2011 to 2016. He’s worked with the Wounded Heroes Fund for about six years now and today, he’s their Director of Operations.
"We can let other veterans know that there are other people that are affected by the same thing, and there is help for them," he said.
The Wounded Heroes Fund's main mission is to help veterans transition from military to civilian life. Doing so can be difficult when dealing with PTSD.
Casey Schaubschlager was in the Marine Corps from 2002 to 2006, going on 13 years now with the Wounded Heroes Fund.
June is PTSD Awareness Month but Casey said that awareness is necessary the entire year.
"PTSD and trauma is always important because it truly never goes away,“ he said.
Jeff Magdaleno was a marine from 2006 to 2010, and has been with the Wounded Heroes Fund for two years.
He said they connect veterans with resources like financial grants and the food pantry, but also with others who have experienced the same things.
"They can come here anytime and just sit down and have a cup of coffee with another veteran to talk to, because sometimes they can’t get that at their workplace or at school. Sometimes they can't find each other but this place is open," said Jeff. "They can come in for resources or just come and hang out and have somebody to talk to and get something off their chest if they’re struggling that day."
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anyone can develop PTSD at any age.
The Wounded Heroes Fund can connect all veterans with licensed therapists or other treatment options.
Casey said it’s important to encourage veterans, and anyone else with PTSD, to reach out for help. He said it made a huge difference for him and hopes it does for others too.
“Making a phone call or stepping through the door is always going to be the hardest step," said Casey. "[But] you're not alone."