June is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month. Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, gave a statement on the importance of this challenging and debilitating condition.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people develop after seeing or living through an event that caused or threatened serious harm or death. PTSD may result in sleep problems, irritability, anger, recurrent dreams about the trauma, intense reactions to reminders of the trauma, disturbances in relationships, and isolation. Some people may recover a few months after the event, but for others it may take years. For some, PTSD may begin long after the events occur. However, PTSD can be treated.
HHS, along with the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Defense (DOD), are supporting new research to reveal the underlying causes of PTSD and related conditions, develop better tools to identify those at highest risk of developing the disorder, and develop new and better treatments and preventive interventions.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) also offer a variety of resources designed to help people who suffer from PTSD, as well as aid their families and friends in better understanding and dealing with trauma’s aftermath. These resources include:
SAMHSA’s Mental Health Services Locator that helps locate local treatment services and support for those with PTSD, and other mental health conditions.
NIMH and National Institutes of Health fact sheets and information on clinical trials and scientific studies on PTSD at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml
Information about bullying and other traumatic crises at http://www.StopBullying.gov.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (link is external) provides tools and resources to assist health care providers, educators, and families.
The National Center for Trauma Informed Care provides education and training for supporting recovery and identifying specific treatment practices to address trauma.
Additionally, a list of military family resources can be found through the following:
SAMHSA’s Military Families Strategic Initiative.
Veterans Chat (link is external) for veterans, family members or friends in crisis.
If you think that you or someone you know has PTSD, you are not alone. There is help available. Talk with a caring VA counselor by calling 1-800-273-8255 (press “1”) or visiting the online VA Chat (link is external)