Combat Stress/Reintegration Resources: Helplines, Places to Turn, Free Military Family Counseling and Veteran Retreats, PTSD Information
Are you looking for some help for yourself or a loved one?
There are so many groups and individuals willing to listen to your problems or concerns, offer guidance, treat you to a free reintegration retreat or even come to your aid if you're really struggling with a difficult issue -- homelessness, suicidal thoughts as a result of your combat stress, or fear for the safety of you or your family members.
If the situation is tough, or just a momentary stumper like having trouble with understanding your military benefits, someone is out there for you. See the long list of options below.
In educational interest, article(s) quoted from extensively.
Need Immediate Help?
Veteran-to-Veteran Peer Counseling
Nat'l Veterans Foundation Help Line
1-888-777-4443 (M-F 9-9 Pacific)
Email help also available from NVF
Military OneSource - DOD contracted
1-800-342-9647 in USA (24/7)
1-800-3429-6477 outside of USA
Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline
VA Suicide Hotline
NY/NJ Veterans VA Nurses Helpline
Gulf Coast VA Med Center Hot Line
Suicide Help Online
Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault by Military Personnel 1-877-570-0688
Nat'l Coalition for Homeless Vets
Veterans of the Vietnam War
VA Office of the Inspector General
Report Suspected Wrongdoing in VA Programs and Operations Call the OIG Hotline – (800) 488-8244
Where To Turn for combat stress/reintegration issues
If you're a vet suffering with PTSD, please know that you are not alone. Please take your symptoms seriously.
From the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command website:
Fellow Soldiers - Talk to your friends about what you are feeling. Oftentimes it's a reality check ... a first line of defense.
Chain of Command - Team leaders, squad leaders, platoon sergeants/leaders, first sergeants, company/battalion/brigade commanders, command sergeants major.
Unit Ministry Teams - They're especially good at counseling.
Family Life Chaplains - Many have a Master's Degree in Counseling and will try to save a marriage; some will also work individually with the members of a couple.
Military One Source (Formerly Army One Source) - Call 1-800-342-9647, or visit the Web site. They offer six free sessions and it's anonymous.
Primary Care Managers - Many family practice physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners are quite comfortable treating depression and sleep problems.
Community Mental Health Service - They usually have at least one psychiatrist and a variable number of psychologists and social workers on staff as well as behavioral health technicians.
TRICARE Counseling - Spouses can go for free. Service members can often share a family member's appointment for marriage counseling.
Veterans Administration - Or Veterans Centers.
Army Substance Abuse Program (formerly ADAPCP) - Especially helpful if the Soldier or family member has a problem with alcohol or drugs.
VA/DOD Joint Programs - Aimed at service members near retirement and currently operating at Forts Hood and Bliss.
Local Church Programs - Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Social Services, etc.
Army Community Services - Often coordinate/conduct stress management, anger management, parenting and other classes.
Online Community Bulletin Boards - A great resource to tap if you have questions; usually manned by veterans and military family members who've been through the same experiences.
The Internet - There is a truckload of solid information available on-line. Just do a search using the keyword PTSD.
Free Resources for OEF/OIF Veterans and Families
Offers San Francisco Bay-area OEF/OIF veterans and their families a complimentary multi-disciplinary program that integrates psychological, meditative and expressive arts approaches to healing from war.
Give an Hour
Provides complimentary nationwide counseling services endorsed by but separate from the military establishment to troops, veterans, and military spouses, children, parents, siblings, and unmarried partners.
Offers complimentary alternative holistic health care services that address the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of Ashville, North Carolina, veterans and their families. They provide integrative health care that supports any other existing medical care being received.
The Merritt Center
Offers a complimentary four-weekend (Friday-Sunday) women's and men's retreat program for military trauma in the Star Valley woods near Payson, Arizona. Each weekend offers a different menu of items to aid in trauma release including walks in the woods, sweat lodge ceremony, therapeutic massage, release exercises of body and mind and much more.
ONE Freedom Inc.
Providing ground-breaking education and training models that are community-driven, transferable and sustainable. Complimentary reintegration resources for returning veterans. Located in Boulder, Colorado.
Return to Honor
Complimentary transition training workshops from Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, aimed at helping returning veterans and their families return to peaceful life following service.
The Returning Veterans Project NW
Offers free and confidential counseling to Portland-area veterans and their families of past and current Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. Phone (503) 402-1717 or email email@example.com for more information.
Offers 'Guardians of Our Way of Life' [soldiers, intelligence professionals, law enforcement officers, or first responders (Fire/EMS)] and their families complimentary access to a nationwide network of retreat centers.
Veterans’ return and healing project addressing the emotional and spiritual needs of veterans, their families and communities. Soldier’s Heart promotes and guides community-based efforts to heal the effects of war based on strategies presented in “War and the Soul” by Dr. Edward Tick.
The Soldiers Project
Free, confidential psychological counseling for southern California OEF/OIF vets and their families. Visit their website, phone 818-761-7438 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Strategic Outreach to Families of All Reservists (SOFAR)
Complimentary psychotherapy and psycho-educational services for New England-area families of Reservists and National Guard members stationed in or returning from Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.
Swords to Plowshares
Their San Francisco drop-in center provides mental health services, including counseling for drug and alcohol problems and post-traumatic stress disorders, case management and referrals. Outreach and prevention programs target veterans who suffer from unemployment, poverty, medical problems, substance abuse, and social isolation.
There & Back Again: Navigating Life After War
A nonprofit organization privately funded by concerned Americans whose contributions support the well-being and reintegration of OEF/OIF service-members in the Cambridge, Mass., area. Their free reintegration program includes modules on freeing the mind from unhealthy thoughts as well as conditioning the body through yoga sessions.
Valley Forge Return to Honor Workshops
Complimentary three-day intensive cognitive and experiential reintegration workshops, after theatre (after trauma) decompression training, and family integration programs for returning Afghanistan and Iraq veterans and their families. Located in Pennsylvania.
Assisting wounded and disabled service men and women with their post-war transition, this nonprofit has established a monthly “emergency assistance” fund granting financial help to selected veterans or military family members. See their website for details. Their online chat board is a great resource.
American Love and Appreciation Fund
930 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Veterans Study Program
OEF/OIF veterans: access to a free reintegration counseling program and study fittingly called the Veterans Study Program at the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in the Bronx, New York.
General Mental Health
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
Find a mental health services provider in your area via their website or by phoning 1-800-950-6264.
National Institute of Mental Health
General PTSD information and links to booklets and databases to find help in your area.
National Mental Health Association
Offers support groups, rehabilitation, socialization, and housing services through 340 community organizations across the country. Visit their website or phone 1-800-969-6642 (1-800-969-NMHA) to find one near you.
Combat Stress/PTSD/TBI Information and Resources
>> Posts containing resources
AllSites - link lists
Mental Health Self-Help
Online Mental Health Counseling
American Gulfwar Veterans Assoc.
PTSD Claims FAQ (A to Z)
American Psychiatric Association
Let's Talk Facts PTSD Brochure - [pdf]
American Psychological Association
Anxiety Disorder Association of America
Online PTSD self-test
The Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health
Research, Training, and Policy Page< Blue Star Mothers
Guide to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - [pdf]
SLOOMS - Support Loved Ones of Military Suicides - manned by Joshua Omvig family, highly recommended
PsychCentral Combat PTSD Forum
TAPS Online Community Support
Community of Veterans
NY Metro Vets
VeteranLove Professional Corner
Physical Evaluation Board Forum
American Gulfwar Veterans Association
PTSD - Iraq Discussion Forum
PTSD Support Group for Family
Aftermath of War - Coping with PTSD
Meditation Therapy for Stress and Change - 36 minute online video
Gateway to PTSD Info Page
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents (2006 Edition)
Seamless Transition - resources for OEF and OIF vets
PTSD Counseling Centers
Vet Center Readjustment Counseling Service
Veterans Benefits Administration - VA docs search
My HealtheVet (MHV)
Deployment Health Clinical Center
Operational Stress Page
PTSD Self-Management Worksheet [pdf]
PTSD Page [clinical research links]
Veterans & Military Community Links
Hearts Toward Home International
Turning Your Heart Toward Home Workbook
Military Veterans PTSD Reference Manual - comprehensive online book
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) - Operation Truth
Resources for Vets
Journal of Clinical Psychology Expert Clinical Guidelines Series
Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder - [795K pdf]
Guide for Patients and Families - [118K pdf]
For the Love of Jack: His War, My Battle - free PTSD book [pdf]
Veterans and PTSD Flash Video
Recovering from Combat
Post-War Coping Resources
Solving the GI Bill Mystery
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Center for PTSD
Veterans Resources Index Page - extremely important page, lots of info
Managing Stress Fact Sheet
The Iraq War Clinician Guide, 2nd Volume
Mental Health Impact of the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
A Guide for Military Personnel and: A Guide for Families
National Institute of Mental Health
PTSD Information Page
Navy's Lifelines Services Network
Combat Stress Reactions Online Video Series for Families
Research and community support for de-stigmatizing stress/post-trauma
Operation Promise for Servicemembers
Veterans Resource Guide [73-page pdf]
Home from War 8-page article [pdf]
Patience Mason's Patience Press
Free PTSD pamphlets/newsletters
PBS - Frontline
The Soldier's Heart
Posts on PTSD
What are the Symptoms?
General Sequence of Treatment
Treatment Options, Quick Overview
Families: Recommended Reading
How to Interact w/Returning Troops
Filing a PTSD Claim? Here's Help...
Veterans Job Search Resources
PTSD Help Network
PTSD Benefit Claims Worksheet - highly recommend using this
Suicide, the Forever Decision: For Those Thinking About Suicide and For Those Who Know, Love and Counsel Them, by Paul Quinnett, Ph.D. - free 100 page book
Screening for Mental Health
Online Mental Health Screening - anonymous and free military resource available also at (877) 877-3647
Resources for Trauma Survivors - help in finding a therapist
The Essence of Being Real: Relational Peer Support for Men and Women Who Have Experienced Trauma - free 76 page workbook [pdf]
Help for Veterans and Their Families
About Stress Management
PTSD Education Page
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
Resources for Returning Veterans and Their Families
Survivors of Suicide
Helping a Survivor Heal
Guide to Listening to War Veterans for Family Members
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
Grief help via TAPS
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Stark & Stark video - highly recommended
Medical Dept./Surgeon General
PTSD/MTBI Chain Teaching Program
US Marine Corps
Leaders Guide for Managing Marines in Distress
How to File a PTSD Claim
Vermont Veterans Combat Stress Symposium
Common PTSD Symptoms - [pdf]
Know Your Veteran Worksheet - [pdf]
Veterans and Families
Homecoming Preparedness Guide
Veterans for America
Veterans Survival Guide
Wounded Warrior Registry - register for assistance with PTSD issues
Veterans for Common Sense
PTSD Resources Page
Health Issues Page
Vietnam Veterans of America
PTSD Benefits Guide
Veterans Survival Guide
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
Battlemind Training: Continuing the Transition Home brochure - [pdf]
A-Z Health Guide: PTSD
Women Organizing Women - Veteran Advocacy
Page last updated November 21, 2009.
PTSD Combat's "Military Stress - Combat Trauma - PTSD Information" playlist of YouTube videos: