Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur when an individual experiences a traumatic event like combat, military sexual trauma, violence, and terrorism. It is normal for most people to have a stress reaction after a traumatic experience. But, if the reaction doesn’t dissipate or begins to disrupt daily life, then you may have PTSD. According to the National Center for PTSD, eight out of every 100 veterans have PTSD.
If you or a fellow comrade is struggling with PTSD, here are nine organizations that can help in no particular order:
A part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Center for PTSD provides resources and information to improve patient care through research, education, and training in the diagnosis of PTSD.
This organization provides free, confidential, non-medical counseling 24/7 to veterans coping with PTSD. Counselors can refer service members to services in their local community or provide support via face-to-face, online, or phone consultations.
This website provides veterans with a comprehensive list of resources. They provide answers to questions many are afraid to ask such as: Who should I tell? How will asking for treatment affect my career? What are the dangers of not disclosing?
Their mission is to “empower and provide support for anyone affected by post-traumatic stress.” PTSD United offers an anonymous support network for veterans to connect with others who have experienced trauma. Individuals will learn about available resources to cope with PTSD, heal through shared interaction, and grow as individuals.
This organization has developed a national network of professional volunteers capable of delivering mental health care to veterans, service members, and their families. They work with various government, corporate, and non-profit partners at the local, state, and national levels. Give an Hour provides a range of mental health services to local communities throughout the nation.
A collaboration between Emory University and the Atlanta Braves, the BraveHeart: Welcome Back Initiative is based in the southeastern United States. They provide healthcare resources and specialists for service members and veterans returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
The PTSD Foundation of America is a non-profit dedicated to mentoring both combat veterans and their families experiencing PTSD. They offer counseling and peer mentoring, both individually and in a group setting. The organization also works to raise awareness for the needs of military families coping with PTSD through community awareness.
If you or someone you know is at-risk for suicide, this organization provides 24/7 free, confidential support to those in distress. It also offers resources for loved ones such as a checklist of warning signs and risk factors.
A partnership among the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Labor, and Department of Veterans Affairs, this website pools information from federal, state, and local levels. They provide a comprehensive resource for veterans, military, and their families on everything from PTSD services to caregiver support.
Suffering from PTSD can be a lonely and isolating experience. The first step to getting well and learning how to manage your symptoms is to ask for help. There is absolutely no shame in admitting that you may not be able to cope by yourself. Know that you are not alone and use these resources to contact professionals who are ready to help.
Kristen Baker-Geczy is a communications specialist, active duty military spouse, and former MWR marketing coordinator. She was also deployed to Southwest Asia as an Air Force contractor.
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