Grounds for Resistance

Video: Veteran-run coffee houses give service personnel a place to express their frustrations and find help outside the military.
soldier at coffee strong from video



Video courtesy of Gilmanfriends

Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and suicide are increasing problems among soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many have found the support available through the military insufficient. Given drugs instead of counseling or guidance on coping with what they've been through, many soldiers find they must turn to venues outside the military to get the help they need.

Inspired by the coffee house movement of the Vietnam War era, several coffee shops have opened near military bases in the United States, providing more than just a caffeine fix. They double as counseling and support centers for veterans, active duty soldiers, and their families to talk to and get advice from people who understand what they are going through.

One of these coffee houses is Coffee Strong, located outside the gates of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State. In her documentary Grounds For Resistance Lisa Gilman looks at Coffee Strong and what it gives to the patrons, military, ex-military, and civilian, who seek more than a good cup of joe.

Read more about Coffee Strong in YES! Magazine's Winter 2012 issue!

  • Concerned for the mental health of soldiers, Thomas Mahany wrote a letter asking President Obama to "deal with the cause, not just the effect" of war's trauma by bringing troops home.

  • A story of community redevelopment from the bottom up. Starting with a coffee shop, and adding artisans, classes, and the power of networking. June Holley now helps communities around the globe form Smart Networks by training and supporting Network Weavers. Appalachian Center for Economic Networks.

  • Conversation Cafés are there to create a space for diverse strangers and neighbors to gather and talk about things of common interest and concern—culture, politics, philosophy and more.