Veterans are using beekeeping to help fight PTSD and anxiety.
Beekeeping as a source of therapy is still in its infancy, but the buzz surrounding it is catching on.
“I’m in this program to help me get out of the thought process of all those problems that I have,” veteran Vince Ylitalo stated. “It helps me think about something completely different. I don’t even think about my pain anymore. I’m just thinkin’ about the bees.”
Veterans who’ve been taking on the activity say they’ve felt relaxed, focused, and more productive.
“When things get really hectic, crazy, and you want to relax, you just put your chair out in front of the beehive and watch then go in and out,” veteran Frank Bartel explained. “It’s just so relaxing. And, you know, all your cares just float away.”
Many also say contributing to something greater than themselves, like saving an important part of the Earth’s ecosystem, greatly increased their sense of duty despite being out of the military.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers beekeeping programs in select facilities across the U.S. An organization called Heroes to Hives focuses on vets who want to make beekeeping a business. The Ford Motor Company provides space on Henry Ford’s old farm for Heroes to Hives to carry out its lessons.