The news reports out of Ukraine are horrifying. I don’t know anyone that has not been affected by it. Just as our “pandemic anxiety” is starting to wane, we are collectively hit with another round of gut wrenching anxiety and panic. One group among us may be getting hit harder than most, veterans. There are news stories and disturbing images on display 24/7. Please look out for your loved ones, friends, and neighbors during this difficult time. If you are experiencing PTSD symptoms such as flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or hypervigilance immediate support is available to you.
What is PTSD
PTSD is a mental health condition that can occur after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Symptoms can include flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, nightmares, startle response, and hypervigilance. Flashbacks are memories of the event that feel as though they are happening again. Intrusive thoughts are unwanted thoughts or images that pop into your head. Nightmares are dreams that are very realistic and often disturbing. Hypervigilance is being overly aware of your surroundings, looking for danger at all times. A startle response is also common, which is when you startle easily or feel jumpy.
How Can I Help?
If you know a veteran who is struggling with PTSD, please reach out to them. Let them know that you support them and are there to listen. Many veterans feel ashamed or embarrassed about their PTSD, so it may be difficult to talk about it. It is important to let the veteran know that you care and want to help. You can offer support by listening without judgment, being there for them when they need it, and helping them find resources if needed.For many veterans, the war in Ukraine can be a difficult trigger for PTSD symptoms.
Please look out for your loved ones and friends who may be struggling, and offer help if needed. Here are some ways you can support veterans with PTSD:The Department of Veterans Affairs offers free mental health services to veterans and their families. You can find a VA facility near you by visiting va.gov/locator.The Veterans Crisis Line is a 24/7 confidential crisis support line for veterans and their loved ones. You can reach the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers free mental health services to veterans and their families. You can find a NAMI affiliate near you by visiting nami.org/FindYourLocalChapter.If you are not a veteran but know someone who is struggling with PTSD, please urge them to seek help. There are many resources available, and it is important to get treatment for PTSD as soon as possible.
Julie Cohen LMFT is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with an online psychotherapy practice in California. If you would like to schedule an appointment please call 818-212-0813 or email info@linksforshrinks
This was originally posted by Julie Cohen https://juliecohenmft.com/blog/f/how-to-help-veterans-struggling-with-ptsd-from-the-war-in-ukraine