PTSD Bytes #11: PTSD Resources for Family Members
In this episode of PTSD Bytes, host Pearl McGee-Vincent discusses PTSD resources for family and loved ones with Dr. Steven Sayers, director of Coaching into Care and the Advanced Fellowship in Mental Illness at Philadelphia VA.
Effects of PTSD on relationships
Veterans with PTSD may not want to talk about their experiences because they are trying to protect loved ones. This can lead to a lack of closeness to family members, which means those family members are less able to support the veteran.
Talking about PTSD
Dr. Sayers encourages family members to talk to the veteran about how he feels. Ask them what they find stressful and how they want to handle these situations. However, talking directly about traumatic experiences is more difficult and is best discussed with a counselor or therapist first.
Coaching towards care
Coaching into Care is a VA service that provides phone support to friends and family of veterans. The service helps loved ones find ways to have productive and supportive conversations with a veteran about seeking help. Call toll-free at 1-888-823-7458 or visit the Coaching into Care website.
Helping a veteran with PTSD
Some common signs that someone needs help are feeling uncomfortable and avoiding situations such as large crowds or increased use of alcohol or drugs. Sayers says you, as a family member, can have an effective conversation with the veteran in your life by: (1) expressing your willingness to help, (2) expressing your concern, and (3 ) by asking what the veteran thinks might be a solution.
How to find professional help
To help a veteran with PTSD get professional care, you can talk to their VA primary care provider about a referral. Care Coaching can also help find referrals in your community for the veteran as well as resources and support for yourself.
Additional resources that family members and other loved ones may find helpful:
If you are a Veteran in crisis or supporting a loved one, call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 for immediate assistance, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/chat.