By Ian Arthur
Along with traditional students, UW Oshkosh is also home to many nontraditional adult students. One of those students is Charlene Dungan. Dungan is a journalism major and recently received the Outstanding Returning Adult Student Award for her work on her website ptsdandfamilies.com. She was nominated for the award by journalism professor Tim Gleason.
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder,affect a large number of veterans and their families. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs website [link], the percentage of soldiers suffering from PTSD depends on the conflict they were involved with, but it ranges from 10-20 percent.
Dungan’s website started as an assignment for one of her classes but she quickly realized its potential to teach people about PTSD. With her husband suffering from PTSD, Dungan has a personal connection to the disorder. The website allows her and others to share stories and offer support as well as create more awareness of the problem.
“I really want more people to be aware of what is happening to our veterans,” Dungan said.
The website was started in June and already has received 3,000 visitors. The feedback has been positive.
“I have been told by veterans that they like it and some have thanked me for having it,” Dungan said. She already has more veterans who would like to add their stories.
In addition to the stories on the website, there is a forum that she hopes people will use to connect and support each other more directly. It is not only veterans that suffer from PTSD, but the families can suffer as well. The forum allows all of these people to interact and offer support.
Dungan plans on continuing the website and hopes that more people will go to the site and read the stories to better understand PTSD. She is looking for more stories to add. There is a contact page on her website, otherwise people can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to share a story or tell of someone else who does.
Dungan’s story is another example of the great things UW Oshkosh journalism students are capable of doing. Her website has helped veterans and families and will continue to help many more. She received the Outstanding Returning Adult Student Award on Nov. 7 as part of National Nontraditional Student Week.