12 Organizations Working to Raise PTSD Awareness

Monday, June 27, is PTSD Awareness Day established by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

If you’re a member of the civilian community, here is a list of 10 things you can do to help raise understanding of PTSD.

If you know a combat veteran in need of help, the VA has a myriad of resources:

  • VA Office of Mental Health Services
    Provides a range of information on depression, substance abuse, and other mental health problems, to improve the health and well-being of Veterans through excellence in health care, social services, education, and research.

The VA also offers a list of collaborators willing to help veterans living with PTSD.

  • afterdeployment.org
    A mental wellness resource for Service Members, Veterans, and Military Families.
  • BraveHeart Welcome Back Veterans Southeast Initiative*
    Our mission is to offer veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan war and their families: education about PTSD, self-assessment and support resources, and assistance in accessing treatment services in the southeast.
  • Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury
    Provides authoritative information and resources 24/7 to Service Members, Veterans, and families, and those who support them.
    Contact: resources@dcoeoutreach.org or 1-866-966-1020.
  • Home Base Program
    The Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program provides clinical care and support services in New England area to veterans of the current conflicts, who experience combat stress and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI); counseling for families including parents and children; education for clinicians and other community members; and research in the understanding and treatment of PTSD and TBI.
  • International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS)
    ISTSS is an international, interdisciplinary professional organization that promotes advancement and exchange of knowledge about traumatic stress. This knowledge includes: Understanding the scope and consequences of traumatic exposure, preventing traumatic events and ameliorating their consequences and advocating for the field of traumatic stress.
  • National Child Traumatic Stress Network
    A Center to improve access to care, treatment, and services for children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events and to encourage and promote collaboration between service providers in the field.
  • National Resource Directory
    A tri-agency Web portal that connects wounded warriors, Service members, Veterans, their families and caregivers with those who support them. Links to 10,000+ resources.
  • Office of Recovery Act Coordination U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
    Recovery Act-funded programs are being invested in improving health and human services, including areas such as community health services, research, prevention and wellness.
  • Real Warriors Campaign
    The Real Warriors Campaign is a multimedia public education campaign sponsored by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury to encourage help-seeking behavior among service members and veterans with invisible wounds.
  • Veterans on Deck
    This is a 501c3 nonprofit designed by VA PTSD clinicians and researchers to compliment evidence based psychotherapy with opportunities for social interaction and community reintegration of PTSD and MST Veterans through team sailing with PTSD clinicians.
  • Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)
    The VVA is a congressionally chartered not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to improving the condition of Vietnam-era Veterans and their families.
  • WarriorCare.mil
    A blog that provides wounded, ill, injured and transitioning Service members and their families with information on programs and initiatives that affect them.
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A Sister, a Mom, a Family Prepares for Military Life

It’s hard to believe in just over a month my oldest son will graduate from The Citadel. The time, for me at least, has flown by. Looking through photos from his college career, I’m forced to believe the time really has gone by.

Chelle and Nelson in Charleston, September 2007.

Our daughter, Chelle, is the measuring stick. She was a little girl in 3rd grade when Nelson started his knob year (freshman).  She is now a young lady in 6th grade and about 12 inches taller. The photos tell the story best. During the 2007-08 school year she always brought a treasured stuffed animal on our visits to The Citadel. Now she brings a book.

My oldest son and my youngest child have shared a very special bond since she was a baby and he was the protective 10-year-old brother. For a recent language arts assignment, Chelle was asked to write about the person she admires most and use the lyrics for a song.  She wrote about her oldest brother and composed a song for him since she couldn’t find one to sum up her admiration. As she sang it for me this morning, a tear came to her eye. I had a lump in my throat as well.

Last night, I attended a production of Theater of War presented at Emory University. The production is making it’s way around the country. Through the ancient readings of Sophocles’ Ajax and Philoctetes the audience hears how the warrior and his/her family can be affected by war both physically and psychologically. The production is supported by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the USO.

Chelle,Nelson and Dorie on Corps Day Weekend, March 2011. Photo by Stanley Leary.

Listening to my daughter sing of her admiration for her brother this morning after attending the performance of Theater of War last night it struck me that we stand in a long line of military families. For thousands of years, families have sent their loved ones of to do battle, never sure if they will see their son or daughter again. We will enter that ancient tradition once our oldest goes through his officer training.

My 12-year-old daughter tears up during prayer time in her youth group at church just thinking about her older brother joining the Army. I listen to the stories of my fellow Citadel Ya Ya’s as they tell of the jumping in happy anticipation every time the phone rings in the hope that it is their child calling from over seas.

For the past 10 years I have studied traumatic stress and it’s affect on people exposed to trauma. My last year at Columbia Theological Seminary, I developed a model of chaplaincy for journalists of all faiths or none at all who cover traumatic events. This work has offered me the opportunity to meet leaders in the field of traumatic stress studies like Dr. Frank Ochberg, Dr. Jonathan Shay, and Dr. Steven Southwick, as well as individuals who have a traumatic stress diagnosis. During this time, I have had the honor and privilege to have attended conferences hosted by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy.

Family photo, November 2010. Photo by Stanley Leary.

I now serve on the board of the nonprofit, Care For The Troops, an organization that teaches civilian therapists about military culture so we will all be more sensitive to the needs of members of the military and their families.

My studies in the area of traumatic stress began years before my son decided the military is the career for him.  I’ve lectured to faith-based communities and journalism programs about traumatic stress.  I have come to realize that sometimes as a mom, you can know too much.

My son has received an excellent education and training at The Citadel and in the Army ROTC program there.  I know he is as prepared as anyone can be to enter the U.S. Army.  I also know it will still be tough.

Graduation is a month away.  My son will report for officer training June 8.  After that who knows.

I do know I can draw on the strength of my friends and fellow military moms to get us through, just as generations of families before us have done.

Previous entries by Dorie Griggs:

The Making of a Military Mom

Mom Readies for Son’s Military College

The Citadel: Year One a No Fly Zone for Hovering Parents

How The Citadel “Ya-Yas” Came to Be

Learning Leadership and Ethics at The Citadel

The Citadel Trained Me as Well as My Son

The Citadel: BVA’s and  Summerall Guards

The Citadel: Recognition Day and Ring Weekend

Care Packages for Cadets: The Citadel Heroes Project

The Citadel Bond Renews Parents’ Long Time Friendships

The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs

The Citadel: Saying Good-Bye, But Always Connected

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