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Stories of Service: Filmmaker highlights alternative treatments for veterans battling PTSD

Michael Gier has directed and produced hundreds of television commercials, films, and documentaries. His most recent project is called "Wounded Heroes."

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A new documentary is shedding light on the struggles of our veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.  

Michael Gier has directed and produced hundreds of television commercials, films and documentaries. His most recent project called "Wounded Heroes" is about veterans' and first responders' experiences with PTSD, suicide and the different treatments available.  

He says this documentary will help others struggling with PTSD get their lives back.  

"When I first started this project, I knew nothing about post-traumatic stress. I actually thought it was something that only our military dealt with. I learned very quickly that post-traumatic stress is not a disorder, it's a normal reaction to any traumatic event," Michael Gier said. 

His film explores the suicide rate among veterans and the issues with treatment of post-traumatic stress. 

"I was doing interviews with veterans and met a guy in San Diego named Carl, who was battling post-traumatic stress. He had tried to take his life by suicide. What was shocking to me was that he was on 16 different prescription medications down from 18. I couldn't figure out how somebody in their 20s could be on so many medications. The worst part was, he said, they didn't actually help," Gier explained. 

Gier set off on a three-year journey to find alternative treatments that didn't involve medication. He met people like Florida veteran Dan Jarvis along the way. 

"My deployment to Afghanistan was probably my most difficult. I was an infantry squad leader and half my men were actually medivac out of country due to combat injuries. One of the soldiers in our platoon was killed that I felt extremely responsible for," Jarvis said. 

In the film, Gier speaks with health care professionals who are using different treatments for PTSD and the effect it is having on veterans. 

"I had one person say, I feel like a soldier again. Another said, I never knew I could be this happy. Another person said life is worth living again. These are all statements from people who at one time were hopeless, but now have hope," Gier said. 

Gier recently launched a "Sponsor a Hero" program that gives people the opportunity to purchase screenings that are then given to Heroes at no cost. The film is available on Amazon, iTunes, VUDU, Google Play, YouTube Movies and Vimeo on Demand.

Remember, if you have a story of service to share, email us at storiesofservice@firstcoastnews.com.

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