Specialist separates fact from fiction about PTSD

Not only does Carrie Elk dislike when a suspect's military service is mentioned in conjunction with an alleged crime, but she also doesn't see the relevance.

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"There are a lot of other things that person did, maybe even for longer," said Elk, a psychologist who works with military veterans at the Elk Institute. "Maybe they worked at a certain bank for 10 years, and we don't say, 'Bank employee commits crime.'"

Elk is brought to Bryan-College Station once a year, near Veteran's Day, by local non-profit Brazos Valley Cares, an organization which raises funds and supports programs for veterans. While in town, she conducts intensive treatment programs out of the Stella Hotel for five local veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

"I'm a small woman, and these are often large, strong men," said Elk. "Never once have I felt threatened."

Elk says she'd like the media--and potential veteran employers--to understand that having PTSD doesn't lead to violence on its own.

"If you're unclear, educate yourself," said Elk.

For more information on Elk, including how to contact her, see the Related Links. For more information on Brazos Valley Cares, see the Related Links as well.