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Fox News contributor and retired Marine bomb technician Johnny "Joey" Jones appeared on “America Copes Together: A Virtual Town Hall” on Wednesday to share how frontline workers can cope with post-traumatic stress disorder incurred from the coronavirus pandemic.
“I don’t have a medical degree and I can only speak from experience and I am humble and modest in that,” Jones, who spent nearly a decade working with veterans who suffered from PTSD, told moderator Harris Faulkner
“We talk about PTSD as if it’s this substance, almost like coronavirus, that if it gets on your skin, now it’s a part of your diagnosis and it is this static intangible thing," he said.
Jones added that combat training had taught him that the best way to prevent PTSD is training and “conditioning.”
“For example, when we got to combat, if we train for it and someone tells us it’s going to happen and we get there and it happens, that makes sense," Jones said. "And so, for a lot of veterans, the most traumatic thing is coming back home to a different life, not necessarily the combat they experienced."
The Journal of American Medical Association recently warned of an “overflow of mental illness” as Americans face an onslaught of financial and social issues brought about by COVID-19. Many feel the psychological effects could outlast the physical threat of the virus.
Jones said that the experience of civilians and health care workers going through the pandemic is very similar to that of service members in wartime.
“What was normal and a lifestyle completely changed almost overnight," he said. "From that, what you can understand about people that are dealing with stress and anxiety, which are the words I like to use, is that things we used to trust and think of as safe, we are now reconditioning our minds in the middle of this to look at as unsafe or not trust.
"Where we can find solace," Jones added, "is knowing that if you can program in your mind to distrust something, you can come back and program it to trust it again.”