Air Force Major (ret) April Ames-Chase joins our host Indrias Kassaye to discuss the psychiatric mental health impact that serving in a war zone had on her and how she was able to overcome the PTSD that initially she didn’t even realize she was suffering from.
Air Force Major (ret) April Ames-Chase got her start in healthcare volunteering at Provident Hospital, a predominantly Black hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Her mother “unknowingly signed her up” to work there as a candy striper at 15 years old. Inspired by the life-saving work provided by professionals who looked like her, Ms. Ames-Chase went on to receive her Bachelor’s in Nursing from Coppin State University, after which she enlisted with the U.S. Air Force, continuing a family tradition, where she was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant.
Working as a nurse with the U.S. Air Force, Ms. Ames-Chase served her country at numerous bases, both in the United States and abroad, including in the UK, Korea, Japan, and Iraq during the most severe stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She recalls long and grueling hours at a base they nicknamed “Mortaritaville” because of the daily shelling it endured. Camaraderie with her fellow medics, working out at the gym and evenings writing in her diary, helped get her through those intense months. However, as her children pointed out when she returned home, serving in the war had changed her. Ms. Ames-Chase's war time journal has since been published as a book titled “A Moment in Time.”
On this week’s episode of “Mental Health Trailblazers, Psychiatric Nurses Speak Up” our host, Indrias Kassaye and MFP Ph.D. Fellow April Ames-Chase discuss the psychiatric mental health impact that serving in a war zone had on her and how she was able to overcome the PTSD that initially she didn’t even realize she was suffering from. Her own lived experiences have influenced her research interests which today focus on Black female Iraqi War veterans and their experiences adjusting to life back home in the United States. Ms. Ames-Chase finds that not all Black female veterans have been as fortunate as she has, with too many experiencing inadequate healthcare, substance abuse, homelessness and even sexual trauma, despite their patriotic sacrifice.
To learn more about April Ames-Chase’s work, visit https://emfp.org/mfp-fellows/doctoral/april-ames-chase