Dyess group’s gaming helps veterans cope with PTSD

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A group of Dyess Airmen is using their skills to create a space where veterans and active duty can go to distract themselves from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

Some may call him a cyber wiz, but for Dyess senior airman, Salem Rhea, computers have always been his passion.

“I’ve always been a little tech savvy and interested in computers,” said Rhea.

So much so that he and a few of his coworkers created an online gaming server for Abilene’s Military Veteran Peer Network (MVPN).

“These are just programs that were written and we’re able to implement a few of those within the server to help out with the moderation of things,” said Rhea.

MVPN Coordinator Ann McKee says she saw the need for something like this, but had no idea how to create it.

“We do a lot of counseling for PTSD, and we have a counselor here who actually does some EMDR counseling, and then I realize that we didn’t have anything for PTSD in a support group form,” said McKee.

After many phone calls and reaching out for help, Mckee says she visited Dyess Air Force Base on an outreach program and finally found the help she needed.

“Every guy that walked by I said, ‘Do you game? Do you game? Hey, do you game?’ Finally, a gentleman walked by, and he said, ‘Yes ma’am, I do game,’ said McKee.

Within a month, using a program called Discord, a group-chatting platform originally built for gamers, that has since become a general use platform for many kinds of communities, Rhea and his crew were able to create MVPN Gaming.

“Through these video games and through the server, we’re able to actually bring these people together so that not only can we help them, but they can also help each other out as well,” said Rhea.

The airmen were able to program the server’s bots in creating the templates, channels, and chat rooms so people can connect and talk via voice, video, or even screen share.

“Being able to be a part of that and help provide this system and this community to be able to have them have a place to go to and bring everyone together, I think that’s really kind of the core value of why we’re doing this ,” said Rhea.

Every Friday night at 7 pm, MVPN Gaming hosts streaming, allowing those in the community and throughout the state of Texas to join in and have some fun.

If you’re interested in playing via PC, XBOX, or PlayStation, the online server link can be found by clicking here.

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