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KPBS Midday Edition

Series Challenges Veteran Stereotypes

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Permission to Speak Freely: PTSD
Series Challenges Veteran Stereotypes
Series Challenges Veteran Stereotypes GUESTS:Jodi Cilley, producer, Permission to Speak Freely series Dewey Bratcher, host, Permission to Speak Freely series

I am Allison St. John in for Maureen Cavanaugh. You are listening to midday edition. Anyone who lives in San Diego is likely to know a veteran is not related to one. There is an invisible divide between civilians and veterans. One that both groups field. Perhaps there was a fear that they have been through an experience we cannot relate to. Or that they might be damaged in some way or the stereotype of how incredibly brave they must be. Sometimes this prevents a real connection. There is a nonprofit called so say we all have created a video to dispel some of those stereotypes and myths. Here is the audio for one of those videos about stereotypes about posttraumatic stress the order. Hello and to permission to speak freely. We dispel perceptions between veterans and the military. Today we will talk about posttraumatic stress disorder. A completely natural action to a traumatic event. Let's face it, PTSD have a long and dramatic history. Written by those who are not affected by it. Television and movies started a lot of conversations. But, pertaining veterans as sociopathic jerks is probably not the best icebreaker. It can be to discrimination against veterans. I would often make it to the third interview of the company and then I was disclosed that I was training a service dog. And that was when I stopped hearing from the company and got no phone calls back. When I told my supervisor when I had PTSD I felt like he treated me differently. He asked me throughout the day if I was okay. So what can I do to better understand PTSD? You can grab a copy of the DSM. Or, you can listen to his actual veterans talk about their experiences. I feel like the biggest misconception is that we are broken or we cannot be fixed. They automatically assume that you are flip out. That you will get violent or get panicky peers at the fact is, PTSD can develop in anyone who has faced a trauma. The symptoms range from panic attacks to anxiety to depression. Veterans trained to cope with this. Veterans with PTSD are humans. And they are no different than anyone else out there struggling with life. We have the training necessary to help us through that prison is usually someone's living nightmare is something we have experienced several times. I can feel a lot of people having several preconceived notions about PTSD. They should take the time to get to know someone who has PTSD like me. Or me. Or me. Imagine what would happen if we gave survivors with mental injuries the same respect of those who overcome physical injuries? It might just make a lot of lives better. That was a clip for one of the short, permission to speak freely videos. We have in studio Jodi. And Dooley. Thank you let's start with you. You're the host of the series what appeal to you about this project? It was entertainment and a subject matter that is close to me. I am a comedian and a retired Navy veteran. The two together was exciting. Anything that shows veterans in a positive light, and unless stereotypical way, and to show that we are not broken or vicious or anything like that. I enjoy being a part. Do you have personal experience? How common for it to you to find the people are suffering from stereotypes? I work on the base in my day-to-day job. I am around military a lot. I cannot say that I see it that often, although, when you go to a family event the questions that are asked or sometimes in line with some of our episodes. Comedy times you have to carry a gun or whatever [ Indiscernible- participant too far away from the microphone ] I'm a sailor. I did not have to do that. I see it somewhat. I think definitely my friends who are Marines that are here all the time. And your lucky because you are a comedian and you can help diffuse that. Yes sometimes I'm a little too sharp tongued Bissonnette Jodi you have not been in the military but you apart with a few veterans on this project. Tell us what you learned. I learned a lot of the same things that we were teaching. I worked with quite a few veterans previously I am a teacher and I have taught classes filled with veterans. That is what got me interested in the subject. Especially with the PTSD there are a lot of misconceptions around that that even I do not fully understand. And the process of making the show help me to clear up some of those Bissonnette those were some of the stereotypes about PTSD. But there are other stereotypes. How were the stereotypes chosen? In order to focus your pieces? There was several months of fighting that went into this. And a group of veterans came together to pick those topics. And the rider, he brought up many times, those are the ones we picked, think about the ones that we did not pick peers are those the ones that they felt were the most relevant at the moment to choose to write about. But there are a lot more that were left off of the table. That was a group of veterans, quick trivia, the actors were civilians and half the actors were veterans. The veterans were playing veterans. And the things that were said in the skit are things that were said to them in real life. We use those specific things with veterans. How did that work out? Having veterans and civilians working together on this? Was it challenging? It was challenging because we had a sharp timeline. Honestly I think that was the more eye-opening parts of their, to be the onset and actors and people who are not running the equipment tend to sit around waiting for things to happen. And they would have conversations that I would overhear. The civilians would ask them, so you with this or that? Along the lines of what our show is about. So the goal was to bridge the veteran/civilian to fight in a small way on the set I felt like that was happening this event what do you hope the series accomplishes? I hope that a lot of people watch it and are able to relate. Either from a veteran perspective and to be able to create a series that is accessible and not depressing and shaming and sad. Something that people can watch and laugh that but still learn along the way. Things we want them to learn. That was a biggest accomplishment. I hope that resonates with civilians and people who watch it and are interested in it. Set where else would the videos be shown? People can see them on K PDF this week. That is still developing a bit. Right now there are still the veterans coming home website. The mods today on the KBPS YouTube channel. They are going to be on your media players. You can log into your Apple TV and hit PBS and see them. And our goal is to see if we can get them distributed even wider. There are a lot of good stories, audio and video. You can find this at KPBS . I would like to thank you for coming in.

The goal of a new KPBS video series is to challenge the stereotypes people have about military veterans.

Producer Jodi Cilley used comedy to tackle topics such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, women in the military and why people join the military.

The series, which is called Permission to Speak Freely, was spearheaded by KPBS in partnership with So Say We All.

So Say We All determined the topics of the videos by holding discussions with veterans and sending out a nationwide survey about how veterans and civilians can better understand each other. The group then scripted the episodes.

The series is hosted by Dewey Bratcher, who served 22 years and is a retired U.S. Navy Reservist. He said he auditioned to host the series because he wants to be involved in any narrative that helps to show the military to be more humane.

"We're just guys and gals who chose to serve," he said.

The videos premiered at the GI Film Festival on Sunday. They will also be aired on KPBS Evening Edition this week and online.

The project is a part of the Veterans Coming Home Initiative, a national effort by public media stations to address the needs of veterans. The initiative is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Cilley and Bratcher join Midday Edition on Monday to discuss how the series may help people have a more accurate representation of veterans.

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