WarriorWOD’s Impact: National Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month

Jun 3, 2024

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the United States is home to nearly 19 million veterans, many of whom face invisible wounds like Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS). With the national rate of veteran suicides at 33.9 per 100,000 people in 2021, programs like WarriorWOD are urgently needed to provide support and prevent further tragedies. As we observe National Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month, it’s essential to highlight WarriorWOD’s impact in reducing PTS among veterans and preventing suicide.

The Link Between PTS and Veteran Suicide

Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) is closely linked to the high rates of suicide among veterans. PTS can lead to severe depression, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness, which significantly increase the risk of suicidal behavior. Veterans experiencing PTS may struggle with intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and heightened reactions, making daily life challenging. Addressing the root causes of PTS is crucial in preventing veteran suicide. By focusing on comprehensive treatment and support, WarriorWOD aims to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans.

The Growing Prevalence of Invisible Wounds

The prevalence of “invisible wounds” among the veteran population is growing, and the lack of a scar doesn’t make mental health concerns less critical or real. One in five veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan experiences PTS or significant depression. Severe mental health challenges connected to military service, such as depression, PTS, and anxiety, are directly related to substance abuse and homelessness, impacting veterans and their families.

These factors contribute to the staggering number of veterans taking their own lives. Veterans have a 50% higher risk of suicide than their peers who have not served. In 2021, suicide was the 13th leading cause of death for veterans overall and the second leading cause of death among veterans under 45. There were 6,392 veteran suicide deaths in 2021, up by 114 from 2020. The unadjusted suicide rate for U.S. veterans in 2021 was 33.9 per 100,000, an increase from 32.6 per 100,000 in 2020. The highest unadjusted suicide rates in 2021 were among veterans aged 18 to 34, followed by those aged 35 to 54. This gap in the treatment and recovery of the invisible wounds of our heroes must be addressed to prevent these unnecessary deaths.

WarriorWOD’s Holistic Approach to Healing

WarriorWOD’s program offers a holistic approach to treating veterans’ mental wounds through exercise, nutrition, and mentorship. The program is designed to meet veterans where they are physically and emotionally, prioritizing exercise, physical fitness, and nutrition as primary tools for recovery.

Exercise Component

WarriorWOD provides a 6-month gym membership for veterans, leveraging exercise’s proven benefits on mental health. According to the University of South Australia, physical activity is 1.5 times more effective than antidepressants for depression treatment, highlighting exercise’s critical role in reducing PTS symptoms and psychological distress. This component is vital to WarriorWOD’s impact.

Nutrition Component

Veterans engage in bi-weekly sessions with nutritionists to improve diet, directly impacting their mental health. Studies have shown that proper nutrition can decrease the risk of major depression and anxiety disorders by 30%. This nutritional support is a key part of WarriorWOD’s impact.

Mentorship Component

Each veteran pairs with a “Battle Buddy,” enhancing recovery through shared experiences and support, which is crucial for emotional stability and reintegration into civilian life. Mentorship is a cornerstone of WarriorWOD’s impact.

WarriorWOD’s Impact

In 2023, WarriorWOD’s evaluation of program impact demonstrated a significant reduction in Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms among participating veterans. The overall decrease in PTS symptom intensity was 29%. Notable improvements were seen across various aspects of the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5):

  • Avoidance improved by 29.7%
  • Reactions improved by 30.5%
  • Thinking & Mood improved by 32.3%
  • Intrusive Memories improved by 25.1%

Additionally, WarriorWOD prevented nine veterans from committing suicide, showcasing the program’s profound impact on saving lives and enhancing the quality of life for veterans.


The success of WarriorWOD in reducing PTS and preventing suicides among veterans underscores the importance of holistic, supportive programs tailored to the unique needs of our heroes. As we continue to recognize National Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month, it is crucial to support and expand initiatives like WarriorWOD that make a tangible difference in the lives of veterans and their families. WarriorWOD’s impact is undeniable and critical for veteran resilience and leadership.

Call to Action

Join us in supporting WarriorWOD’s mission to heal the invisible wounds of veterans. Visit our website to learn more about our programs, volunteer opportunities, and how you can donate to help us continue this vital work. Together, we can make a difference.