It was called "shell-shock" during previous wars. Today, it is known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While soldiers aren’t the only people who develop PTSD - anyone who has suffered through a traumatic event can develop PTSD - estimates indicate that a high percentage of veterans do suffer from PTSD. According to the Veterans Administration (VA), somewhere between 11 and 20 percent of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan, 10 percent from the Gulf War and 20 percent of veterans from the Vietnam War have PTSD. Unfortunately, not everyone seeks treatment. Others might not know where to turn.
The following are resources for veterans with PTSD.
Online Information and Resources
StartYourRecovery.org - This is a project started by Reingold, a social impact firm with extensive experience with mental health and veterans. Reingold provides marketing and communications support for initiatives of clients, including the American Hospital Association, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the American Cancer Society. On the StartYourRecovery veterans page, the site offers information on common challenges, substances at risk for abuse, and personal stories that have affected veterans. Reingold describes themselves as a “private sector firm with a public sector soul.” You can learn more about them here.
Understanding PTSD and Recovery - A brochure by the National Association of Mental Illness explaining what PTSD is and a brief overview of common treatments.
The National Center for PTSD - A website that provides general information about PTSD as well as a section that addresses the specific needs of veterans with PTSD.
Healing Combat Trauma - Information and resources for veterans with combat-based PTSD.
Military Pathways - Formerly the Mental Health Self Assessment Program, this site offers veterans and their families the opportunity to take anonymous, mental health online screenings online, on the phone or through special events.
NAMI Veterans Resource - Information from NAMI on PTSD as it relates to veterans.
Treatment of PTSD - Information from the VA on the different treatments available for PTSD
Videos and Webcasts
The Gift From Within - Free webcasts and podcasts for trauma survivors and their families to help you understand and cope with PTSD.
America’s Heroes at Work - A website with information and tools to help veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury and/or PTSD reenter the workforce.
Make the Connection - This site has a variety of videos on managing different aspects of PTSD. Allows you to customize your search for videos based on your personal experiences.
The Real Warriors Campaign - A program launched by the Defense Centers of Excellence to promote resilience and reintegration for veterans and their families.
The Wounded Warriors Project - This organization is not specifically aimed toward veterans with PTSD, but encompasses all veterans who have been severely injured. Their mission includes, "to help severely injured service members aid and assist each other and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs."
Help With Filing a Claim with the Veterans Administration for PTSD
Veterans Administration - A department of the U.S. Government that provides benefits and services to all veterans.
Tips for Filing a PTSD Claim - A blog from Veterans Today with frequently asked questions and tips for filing a claim with the VA.
NAMI Veterans Resources - Information from the National Alliance on Mental Illness regarding eligibility for veterans benefits.
PTSD Coach - An app for your smartphone or tablet to help you manage PTSD symptoms. This app was developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD.
Mindfulness Coach - Another app that helps you practice mindfulness to reduce stress and reduce unpleasant thoughts.
Dogs and PTSD - Information from the VA on service dogs for PTSD.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.