Deborah Yohn, RN, never expected her then-9-year-old sons journaling to be anything more than a way to help him express himself as he dealt with his fathers post-traumatic stress disorder upon returning from military service in Iraq.
Instead, the writings of Isaac Yohn, now 11, have become what his mother considers one of the few useful resources available to children of families dealing with PTSD.
At the end of journaling, recalls Deborah Yohn, a nurse at the University of Maryland Medical Centers R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, the therapist we were working with said, Can I read it? We gave it to her to read, and she said, This needs to be published. This could help so many children.
I was like, Yeah, youre crazy. I dont think so.
But then, thinking about it, and reviewing what’s available out there, theres nothing. People dont want to talk about it. Its taboo. And I thought, Well be brave. If something happens with the book, that would be great. Maybe we can help some other families.
Last year, Deborah and Isaac Yohns book, Never Lose Your Hope, became a reality and is available through PublishAmerica.com. Money from sales of the book is being filtered through the Community Foundation of Carroll County in Westminster, Md., to help pay for counseling for a Maryland family that includes a nurse who had three sons serve in Iraq and a fourth son who committed suicide last year.
Deborah Yohns hope is that increased book sales will help many more military families.
Theres very little work that the military does with family counseling, she says. The dynamics of the family change so much, but theyve really turned a blind eye to it.
She also hopes the book can be used as a tool for fellow nurses with a spouse in the military or those who have patients who are part of military families.
Were asking [those in the military] to assimilate back into a normal society, she says, and theyre coming back from a war zone thats anything but normal, and theyre having a hard time.
Tom Clegg is a member of the editorial team at Nursing Spectrum.