Support groups can give a person recovering from PTSD a forum to talk about struggles and triumphs during the recovery process. These PTSD Support Groups are usually led by a mental health professional and enable people to speak with others who have been in their situation. Sharing their emotions with others can help people deal with those emotions better and gain confidence in themselves and their ability to heal. You can find support groups in your area by going to Mental Health America’s website [https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/go/find_support_group] and searching for your location. Many VA hospitals have these kind of groups for veterans so make sure you check with your local VA to see what is available.
You can also visit online support groups for PTSD such as Notalone.com or Pmim.com (Point Man Ministries), or the Facebook group Operation New Normal. Although many of the users on these sites are veterans, people who are working to overcome PTSD can gain from their emotional support.
Although emotional help is an important component for people with PTSD, it is easy to underestimate the need for practical or informational help as well. Many people have negative attitudes towards mental illness, including PTSD, because of the erroneous and outdated stigma attached to it. Because of this stigma, some employers may try to avoid hiring people with these illnesses. Therefore, people with PTSD should take advantage of local job services or employment offices that can help them make sure that they are being considered for jobs that are appropriate for them.
In addition, people with PTSD may feel that they were unfairly treated due to their disability. For example, landlords may try to avoid renting out apartments to people with PTSD, or government offices may make it difficult for them to get their due compensation. You can visit your local state health and welfare office to help with these issues as they come up. In addition, your doctor, a social worker, or your religious group (e.g., church, synogogue) may be able to put you in contact with services that can help you deal with housing or other issues.
You can get support for your recovery from PTSD online from different sites. For example, consider looking at Differentpath.org, a site that tries to raise awareness of PTSD and help people who have been diagnosed to find treatment. You can also visit the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is targeted primarily towards veterans with PTSD. It includes fact sheets and media that provides answers to any questions you may have about the disorder and related issues. Similarly, Ptsdsupport.net provides many resources that were compiled by a veteran who had the disorder and overcame it.
You can also look online for tougher issues that often come hand in hand with PTSD, such as substance abuse and suicide. Two good resources are the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (https://www.samhsa.gov) or the Suicide Prevention Hotline. You can call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which is free and confidential, or view their website at https://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Friends and Family
One often underused source of help for PTSD is friends and family. It’s easy to feel like you want to keep yourself isolated after going through a traumatic experience, but doing so can only increase your depressed feelings. This is especially true for PTSD that develops after childbirth, when reaching out can help to make childcare more manageable while you recover from PTSD. Building meaningful relationships with friends and family can help you to heal and to overcome the negative emotions that you are feeling. So get together with those who you used to feel close to, and open up to them as much as you feel comfortable. Doing so may be one of the most important steps to healing from PTSD.
Mental Health America. “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/ptsd
National Center for PTSD. “PTSD, Work, and Your Community.” https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/ptsd-work-and-community.asp
Operation We Are Here. “Post Traumatic Stress Resources.” https://www.operationwearehere.com/PTSD.html#anchor_330
This post is part of the series: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
This series contains articles about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).