Vietnam Veterans of America

Chapter 267

PTSD

 

Understanding PTSD Ė Getting Help

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem that can occur after a traumatic event like war, assault, or disaster. PTSD treatment can help. Find handouts, apps, videos, and courses based on current research. This site provides educational resources for Veterans and also for health care providers, researchers, and the general public. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1800-273-TALK (8255) or visit www.suicidepreventionllifeline.org or www.ptsd.va.gov.

Vet Centers Can Help

Vet Centers are community based and part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  The goal of the Vet Center program is to provide a broad range of counseling, outreach, and referral services to eligible veterans in order to help them make a satisfying post-war readjustment to civilian life.

Vet Centers may have lower visibility than regional offices and medical centers, but the services they provide are just as important. They were created in 1979 after it was determined that Vietnam Veterans had sustained readjustment difficulties after coming home from war.  Since the first Vet Centers started up around the country, they have been offering mental health-centric services like individual, group and family therapy, military sexual trauma (MST), employment assessment, drug and alcohol treatment and more.  

Eligibility for Vet Centers can be determined easily: if you or a family member were deployed to a combat zone, you qualify for services.  The centers are all around the country, augmented by 50 Mobile Vet Centers reaching rural areas.  At least 300 Vet Centers are in the United States and surrounding territories.  In response to the growing number of combat Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, 91 Vet Centers have opened since 2007.  

What makes Vet Centers unique to, say, a community-based clinic or a VA medical center?  The difference is in both the approach to Veterans and services provided.  Vet Centers are staffed by mental health and family professionals like psychologists and social workers who have specialized training to deal with the unique challenges associated with combat Veterans, like PTSD.  They also offer services for families of war Vets.  All this is done in an environment that is as welcoming and non-clinical as possible.  Some Vet Centers are in small offices and buildings, so navigating a hospital campus isnít a worry. 

Vet Centers are also strongly encouraged to hire combat Veterans to staff the offices.  War Vets are given hiring preference when applying, and it would be difficult to think of a component of VA that would benefit more from hiring Veterans who have previously deployed. Unfortunately, some Vet Centers are staffed more than others; Congressional mandates allow for the most in demand parts of the country to fill first, with other areas following.

Sessions are led by a trained facilitator who retired as a U.S Army Major.  Everything from trauma to flashbacks to what to do if you canít sleep, canít relax or are angry and irritable are fie game.  Vet Centers DO NOT share any personal information with the VA.

1)      Most of the group members are of similar age and all dealing with similar issues regarding 40 or 50 years of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder AND senior citizenship. 

2)      Although most group members are Army & Vietnam vets, the group is diverse enough for perspective on the war from across the Service Branches such as the Air Force, Navy and Marines.

3)      Even though most group members are dealing with similar PTSD symptoms and issues, everybody is at a different stage of treatment.  Some have never sought diagnosis/treatment.  Some have just begun.  Others have been at it a while.  This not only provides an opportunity to hear about someone elseís situation but also offers an opportunity to talk with somebody who is distrustful or thinks they canít present a case to the VA.    

4)      The facilitator ALWAYS talks about coping skills and often members of the group themselves have some advice on how to make it through the day, week, month.  Most feel better ďarmedĒ coming out than going in.  For example, the Holidays can be a tough time for vets with PTSD enjoying themselves instead of agonizing over the fact that some survived to SEE future Christmases and others didnít.

 

To get a full listing of places that support vets in Michigan, go to va.gov.  There are four Vet Centers within 30 miles of Chapter #267.    

 

Dearborn Vet Center   Detroit Vet Center   Macomb County Vet Center  

Pontiac Vet Center

19855 Outer Drive
Suite 105 W
Dearborn, MI 48124

Distance: 0.4 miles

Main Number:
313-277-1428  

11214 East Jefferson Ave.
Detroit, MI 48238

Distance: 15.9 miles

Main Number:
313-822-1141  

42621 Garfield Road
Suite 105
Clinton Township, MI 48038

Distance: 26.8 miles

Main Number:
586-412-0107  

44200 Woodward Avenue
Suite 108
Pontiac, MI 48341

Distance: 21.7 miles

Main Number:
248-874-1015  

© 2018 Vietnam Veterans of America Michigan Council | All Rights Reserved

Site Designed and Maintained by Cat 5 Technologies LLC