In a small village in Uganda, Esperance, a 33 year old mother of three opens her eyes after 20 minutes of Transcendental Meditation, and smiles. “I’ve been doing this for 3 years – meditating every day. After one week I felt relief. I have healed so much. And, I am happy. I can now actually be a mother to my children.”
Esperance is one of thousands of people in Africa finding relief from the crippling symptoms of PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder – through the practice of TM. The practice produces a deep state of healing rest in mind and body. It’s done for 20 minutes twice a day.
Esperance’s story is terrifying, and tragically common in many parts of Africa where an estimated 100 million people suffer from PTSD. “This is why I was inspired to form an organization that supports teaching this stress reducing meditation to PTSD victims. “It’s called PTSD Relief Now,” says David Shapiro, President of PTSD Relief Now.
PTSD – A Global Pandemic
But post traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD), isn’t just an African problem. Shapiro describes the hellish world of PTSD and its worldwide extent: ”It’s a global mental health pandemic. Symptoms include hyper-vigilance, repeated painful memories of the events, insomnia,and depression. The effects of PTSD are crushing on any life, soldier, parent, child, refugee. It is an extraordinary level of suffering for which we have a solution, now.”
PTSD affects soldiers and civilians. It is caused by trauma, including war, violence, sexual abuse, terrorism and natural disasters – events so stressful that the condition develops. In Africa where large parts of the population have been through and witnessed horrendous violence, torture and rape, PTSD is common.” explains Shapiro.
It is estimated that 10% of all Africans suffer from PTSD.This means that up to 100 million Africans lives are shattered.
Africa is underserved by mental health programs. The US-based organization “PTSD Relief Now” is an Iowa-based non-profit corporation (www.PTSDReliefNow.org) collaborating with the David Lynch Foundation (www.davidlynchfoundation.org/africal) . African PTSD Relief is the set of African projects of PTSD Relief Now.
Research Shows Meditation Brings PTSD Relief
A study in 2013 published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress showed that over 90% of a group of Congolese refugees with high level of PTSD symptoms became “non-symptomatic” within 30 days of regular practice of TM. The non-meditating control group’s symptoms, remained the same.
A second study published in 2014 showed that within 10 days of learning TM refugees with severe PTSD symptoms, showed significant reductions.
“The transformation in these refugees is heart warming.” says David Shapiro, President.
Esperance says “After just 1 week of practicing Transcendental Meditation, no negativity. No. It doesn’t come near me now. Now, when the mind is fresh, you see, even if you want me to cry now, I can’t. It’s not there in me.” See this video: http://youtu.be/goWNosrfFvI
Deep Meditation, Deep Healing
Instruction requires about 10 hours of in-depth class over four days, and follow-up for the following 4 months. Transcendental Meditation is a widely-known and well-researched practice with numerous health benefits. (www.TM.org)
Shapiro says “We’re reaching out. African PTSD Relief collaborates with other nonprofit organizations and governments in Africa and provides teacher-training to meditators from participating organization helping to create a pool of qualified TM instructors. This is the fastest way to serve the PTSD at-risk populations in Africa.”
African PTSD Relief Now Needs Your Support
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder affects the lives of millions of people every day in every part of the world. The good news Shapiro says is there is an effective, well-researched technique to help PTSD victims. Together we can make a difference. Together we can change peoples’ lives for the better by teaching them something they will carry with them for life. The project is funded through donations from private individuals and well-wishing organizations.
Right now, 10,000 people in three different areas are signed up waiting for instruction. In Africa, the cost of instruction and follow up is minimal – only $125 per person. “We need your help, expertise and positive energy. Donations make this additional instruction possible. We’re run entirely by a dedicated group of volunteers. Please help us make a difference.” says Shapiro.
Esperance meanwhile says all of her children want to be TM teachers to help others get relief in Africa. Now says Esperance, the healing is so great that “When I walk the streets, I feel as if I am an angel.”
David Shapiro uses his difference to make a difference by researching for best practices in PTSD relief and introducing programs that systematically and scientifically reduce PTSD.