Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event such as war and combat, domestic violence and abuse, natural disasters, or experiencing mass violence.
Servicemembers are exposed to traumatic events during war. Combat creates life-threatening situations, injuries and accidents. Servicemembers may see others hurt or killed. They may have to kill or wound others. They are on alert around the clock. These and other factors can increase their chances of having PTSD or other mental health problems, according to the VA.
For many servicemembers, being away from home for long periods of time can cause problems at home or work. These problems can add to the stress.
This may be even more so for National Guard and Reserve troops who had not expected to be away for so long. Almost half of those who served in Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) have been Guard and Reservists.
How are servicemembers with PTSD treated?
After a traumatic event, or trauma, it’s normal to think, act and feel differently than usual. Most people will start to feel better after a few weeks. If your symptoms still bother you after a month, are very upsetting, and disrupt your daily life, it’s time to consider getting treatment. Whether or not you have PTSD, if thoughts and feelings from the trauma are bothering you, treatment can help.
The VA recommends taking a first step by talking with:
- Your family doctor or primary care provider
- A mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor
- Someone who works at your local VA facility or Vet Center, if you are a Veteran
- A close friend or family member who can support you while finding help
- A clergy member
What resources are available for servicemembers with PTSD?
Call 911 if you need police, fire or emergency medical assistance.
Call 988 if you need to speak to a trained crisis counselor who can help with mental health-related distress. You can also text 988 or chat online with the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call if you are concerned about someone else.
If you are a Veteran, or are concerned about one, call 988, then press “1” to speak with a responder qualified to support Veterans. You can also text 838255 or chat online with the Veterans Crisis Line.
Go to the nearest Emergency Room for immediate medical attention.
UAP supports American servicemembers by generating Presidential, Congressional, and public awareness and funding the legal representation used to fight their legal battles. Your financial support is critical to our success, and most importantly, the success of our Warriors!