Local third-grader is "Knocking Out" PTSD - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Evansville third-grader is Knocking Out PTSD

Eight-year-old Jesse Gourley vows to Knock Out PTSD for her dad. Eight-year-old Jesse Gourley vows to Knock Out PTSD for her dad.

Jesse Gourley's dad, Justin, is a Navy Veteran and was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder in 2009.

The Gourley family talks openly with Jesse and her younger brother, Jackson, about why their dad is sometimes angry and what they can do to help.  

Jesse loves camping and fishing with her dad, but sometimes he gets angry, or acts sad. And Jesse said she understands why.  

"A lot of veterans get a little bit kind of angry and they have nightmares and stuff," Jesse said.

Jesse's mom, Shawn, said she's raised Jesse with an understanding of what her dad is going through.

"Jesse has grown up with post traumatic stress disorder in our home," Shawn said.

Jesse said she understands when her dad wants to be alone, when he gets angry and yells, and when he wakes up to a nightmare.

She said she wants other kids to understand too and she thought a Facebook page for kids was just the answer.  

"I wanted to do it instead of mom doing it so I just ran into her room and asked her if could help her with the Knock Out PTSD and she said yes," Jesse said.

So Jesse and her mom started PTSD TKO. The page shares Jesse's story and invites other kids to upload their own "Knock Out PTSD" pictures.  

Jesse had a lot of questions about PTSD and knows other kids do as well.  

"(I was) wondering how to kind of stop the veterans from going kind of suicide," Jesse said.

But how do you explain suicide to a child?

"We don't tell them any more than they need to know, but we don't lie to them, we tell them the truth and we try to make it on their level," Shawn said.

The family said they have seen nationwide support and having more than 50 photos of children who have joined the fight.  

"I feel happy for what I'm doing for the page and for other veterans," Jesse said.

To visit the Knock Out PTSD Facebook page, click here.

Voice of Warriors (VOW) and Military with PTSD combined efforts to start the Knock Out PTSD page.  

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