Jennifer Henkel

Jennifer Henkel lives in Cedar Fort, Utah with her husband Brandon and their three children.  She is a full time student studying her senior year online at the American School of Psychology at Argosy University with an emphasis on advanced psychological studies.  Jennifer also works flex-time for a non-profit organization that provides advocacy and assistance to adult individuals with disabilities and developmental delay.

Jennifer met her husband after he had completed his service.  She knew he suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder, but their friendship grew into a strong sense of love and devotion, and they were married in 2009.  Jennifer’s husband served as a United States Marine in Operation Iraq Freedom from 2002 – 2006.  He deployed to Iraq in 2003 with the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, and again in 2004 with the Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group.  After his second tour, her husband’s psychological health slowly declined and he lost everything.  He subsequently attempted to end his life which is what brought him to the state of Utah for inpatient care.  Her husband also suffers from a brain injury sustained during a post-traumatic stress episode in which self-harm was involved.  Due to this he has cognitive difficulties that affect his ability to follow train of thought as well as added difficulties in understanding and dealing with complex situations.  He also struggles with severe paranoia, ongoing suicidal ideation, irrational thinking, outbursts of rage and anger, and the guilt that ensues from all of this.  He currently receives ongoing help through the SLVA and VA Caregiver Program.

Jennifer became her husband’s official Caregiver through the Department of Veterans Affairs in February of 2012.  She is active in training and also helps with the ongoing support of an OIF/OEF Veterans spousal support group through her local Vet Center, and an additional online local support group.  Jennifer joined Family of a Vet in early 2011 as a volunteer helping to provide support and information to other spouses and family members.  She is dedicated to supporting her husband and in ensuring her family is as healthy as possible.  In addition, she is dedicated to helping those around her understand the invisible injuries associated with war and helping decrease the stigma attached to them.