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Veteran Walks Through 20 States, Arriving at Jax Beach, To Raise PTSD Awareness

Stephen Meyers (left) paused for a photo as he arrived in Downtown Jacksonville Tuesday.
Stephen Meyers' Facebook page
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Stephen Meyers (left) paused for a photo as he arrived in Downtown Jacksonville Tuesday.

Stephen Meyers officially reached his goal Wednesday of walking through 20 states to meet with veterans, first responders and people interested in learning more about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as he stepped on the sand in Jacksonville Beach.

He arrived in Downtown Jacksonville Tuesday, after starting his journey in February 2020 in Kansas City, Mo.

Meyers, an Army veteran, first realized he was suffering from PTSD in 2007 about a week after his final Iraq deployment. He also went through a series of personal tragedies when he lost several family members, including his wife Jessica, who died of colon cancer.

Meyers had suicidal thoughts but decided to seek help. Meyers has been accepting donations to pay for his journey across America to raise awareness. He said any money left over would be donated to a non-profit.

He offers the following advice to those struggling with PTSD:

  • Share your mental victories.
  • Share coping skills and wellness strategies.
  • Talk about your battles with anxiety.
  • Talk about how you dealt with stress.
  • Tell someone “I believe in you.” 
  • Talk about when you asked for help.

He’s also urging employers to fix employee assistance programs by removing the stigma associated with getting help.
There are a variety of organizations that offer help to people struggling with PTSD. Here’s a partial list along with contact information links.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.