PTSD and Art Go Hand in Hand

Yuriy Golub /
Yuriy Golub /

Millions of veterans around the country suffer from PTSD. Seeing and experiencing war can take its toll. And help isn’t always capable of making a difference. It’s one of the reasons why suicide rates within the veteran community are so high.

Art is a common outlet for those who have struggled to deal with what they have seen during a deployment.

And the type of art can vary. Some veterans choose to grab a paintbrush while others want to work with pottery, glass, or some other medium.

Creative arts therapist Melissa Walker has explained how art is capable of healing some of the invisible wounds of PTSD.

One Vietnam veteran in Long Island, New York has finally turned to art after decades of leaving the service.

John Melillo is an Army veteran who was drafted in 1970. After leaving the service, he worked in New York City at a fast-paced job in marketing and printing. He explained, “I didn’t realize ’til 45 years later when I retired that all that running and all that effort was to mask some of the things I had seen and experienced in Vietnam. I started having nightmares. Not only nightmares, I was having daymares.”

Photos he took during Vietnam are now brought to life on canvas.

At 69, he began painting. Now, at 74, he’s able to show off an impressive portfolio of work – many of which are featured in galleries in NY and around the country.

Melillo insists that learning how to express himself through art saved his life. He encourages every veteran to focus on the positive and to find an outlet.