VETERANS SUICIDE HOTLINE: 1-800-273-8255 (press 1)
PTSD & TBI FACT-BASED SCIENCE and RESOURCES
What is PTSD? Post Traumatic Stress is a reaction/response to a traumatic or violent event. Many times it doesn’t present itself till months and even years after the event. Learn more about it. If you think you or your family member might be struggling with PTSD then this is a must have booklet!
Just a few of the Scientific Publications (email for more)
Close to 2 million troops have deployed to Iraq (OIF) or Afghanistan (OEF), and depending on the resource as many as 1 out of 9 to as many as 1 out of 5 returning veterans will develop PTSD. Many of these folks depart the service and slip through the cracks untreated.
Get enrolled in a VA OIF/OEF/OND Outreach Clinic. If you deployed and are no longer on active duty, you are eligible for 5 years of free care for all your service related issues. However, you only have 5 yrs to enroll and this is not automatic! Get registered, go to 1 appointment and then at least you are in the system for later on if you start to develop issues. Click on the Map to find a OIF/OEF clinic near you.
50-60% of Americans will experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. There are >315 million people in the US and 50-60% will experience something traumatic, of them 7-8% will develop PTSD… that’s about 22 million people! Disasters strike and kids are especially prone to traumatic stress. Call: Disaster Distress Help Line 1-800-985-5990. It's Free and Confidential, 24/7. http://disasterdistress.samhsa.gov/
Active Duty and Reserves both suffer from PTSD, but the difference might be at home. On active duty after a deployment you return to a military environment, your unit, resources, and support group (observation). In the Reserves, you demobilize from your unit and re-enter your “other life” as a civilian. This transition can be very difficult especially as you try and turn off your military mindset, and turn back on your civilian one. Good or bad, things have changed over the months/yrs you were away. Now, throw in issues like TBI, PTSD, and depression on top of other struggles like financial, employment, and family issues. It's so easy to fall of the grid.
If you do try and seek help, the last thing you want is for that to be a complicated and frustrating process. Here is a good site to check out which focuses on specific issues you might be dealing with.
2 out of 3 Americans know someone who served, but most are unaware of the issues returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and troops face. You would think it would be easy to return home, but for most it is not. Struggling with depression, PTSD, etc is sometimes not so much what you saw or endured, but that you survived when someone else didn’t. Here is a resource put out by NAMI that has some useful info for family and friends to learn more about PTSD.
A Veteran Commits Suicide every 60-80 Mins!
Are you ready for this? In 2012 the total number of troops killed in combat was 311, and during that same time frame 349 Active Duty Service Members committed suicide! If thats not bad enough, there were over 6200 Veteran suicides! The lowest estimates are still over 50,000 veteran suicides since 2001 compared to 6721 total combat deaths to date! 2013 is already on a record pace for exceeding previous years.
MEDICATION: Things like Depression are typically caused by a decrease in serotonin (chemical in your brain) and the drugs they prescribe are called SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) and they can work well for some people. The key is in the diagnosis. Study up on your Diagnosis and Understand the effects and side effects of the medication you are taking. Don’t hesitate to talk with your physician about adjusting or changing treatment options. Here is some more info on Medications.
Clinicians Guide to Medications for PTSD
EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). These are sessions where you follow visual and audible signals while discussing your traumatic triggers. Though it is still a little controversial it is proving to be quite successful, even after just a few sessions. Here is a website that has a lot of information about this therapy. www.emdrhap.org
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of counseling and it also appears to be the most effective type for PTSD. Here is a link to more information on Cognitive Processing Therapy
D.O.D. POLICY and FACTS about GETTING HELP
Defense Center of Excellence
Access the following documents and more at the Department of Defense, Defense Center of Excellence with tons of information in regards to PTSD, TBI and Veteran Suicide
STIGMA and MYTHS
What about my Security Clearance? Well, clearances are about honesty, and if you are having issues and you “don’t” disclose, that’s where problems will develop. Factors that could result in clearance refusal include not meeting financial obligations, criminal actions or engaging in activities benefiting a foreign nation. Less than 1% are denied because of Mental Health issues, and there are now new exceptions that allow you to answer "no" on question 21 which asks if you have ever been seen by a mental health care provider. Check out this Army Times Article.
“If you suffer from PTSD you must be weak.” PTSD has nothing to do with weakness, but the different ways that people react to a traumatic event. From new recruit to high-speed operator, all have suffered and the key is that when you recognize it, to be strong enough to come forward and seek treatment. One of the toughest warriors I know gets treatment for PTSD, interestingly he is still one of the toughest warriors I know! “Having” PTSD doesn’t mean one is weak anymore than “Not having” PTSD means one is strong! You’re not the first one to struggle, and you’re not alone!
Untreated PTSD Jeopardizes your Military Career and Unit Operations. Active and Reserve Members, if you or someone close to you thinks you might have PTSD, how it would affect your military career is a very reasonable concern. Here are some things to consider if you don’t seek treatment. Disciplinary Action because of anger outbursts, lack of attention, drinking problems, etc, (all typical symptoms in untreated PTSD.) Jeopardizing your Unit/Team – A lot of the symptoms from untreated PTSD can interfere with our ability to perform at the level required to perform your mission. Health Problems – Untreated PTSD will spiral you into a worsening situation and put your relationships, military, and civilian careers at great risk.
Unit Leaders, New Recruits and Future Leaders... You can be the ones that make the biggest difference for the future! Help us change the "mindset" help us change the future. Download our handout below.
There are over 244,000 new TBI (traumatic brain injury) cases among veterans. PTSD can go hand in hand with TBI. And TBI's are accumulative. Here is a place to start learning more about it. http://www.dvbic.org/material/signs-symptoms-fact-sheet-english
Coming forward with PTSD Concerns can be Difficult. Here is a Self Assessment App for your Smart Phone called “PTSD Coach.” If you have been diagnosed or even think you might have PTSD, then try this app to help guide you through issues as they develop, self-assessments, relaxation exercises, and support info. No, this is not a comprehensive guide or a substitute for professional health care, but it can be a nice tool to help you through difficult moments.
Suicide Prevention for Small Unit Leaders, Mobile App. Your unit is deployed, missions have been long and tiring, everyone is homesick and maybe a little on edge… So how are Small Unit Leaders and NCO’s able to decipher if one of their troops might be heading for a crisis? Not so easy, however, the more we understand PTSD and Suicide, the better equipped we will become to help someone in need. Here is a Suicide Prevention tool designed just for these unit leaders that can help to understand, identify, and even intervene if necessary. Suicide Prevention for Small Unit Leaders, Mobile App.
LEADERS GUIDE FOR MANAGING MARINES IN STRESS. Marine Leaders, here is a pretty good online resource that has information about dealing with all sorts of issues your Marines may be struggling with. There is also a place down in the lower lefthand corner to order free pocket publications/quick books to carry in the field. “The Leaders Guide for Managing Marines in Stress”
Some Very Interesting and Insightful Articles about Suicide:
Ranger Up: http://rhinoden.rangerup.com/ranger-up-talks-suicide-suicide-isnt-painless/
Here is a story about a young warrior who committed suicide, and his parents mission to take on the VA system for change!