LARSON: Searching for support for PTSD

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

Several readers have asked me if I have any resources for post-traumatic stress disorder. Well, I have the Internet like everyone else, but I’m also fortunate to have a few contacts through past columns.

Most recently, I wrote about ArtReach which conducts art workshops to help people with PTSD (for more info go to: www.ArtReach.org).

From a column on bipolar disorder, I’d filed away the address for National Alliance for Mental Illness Gwinnett, so I contacted Nancy Jaffee, president.

“Our support groups are for either individuals with mental illness of any type or degree or Family or others affected by people with mental illness. PTSD would be included,” Jaffee said. “There is no fee for any of our services. We have dinner on the first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 and usually a educational speaker and then our usual breaks at 7 p.m.” (For more info go to: www.namigwinnett.org )

Jim Freeman of Task Force Patriot, which I’ve written about several times, had a lot to offer.

“All or most all combat veterans suffer from some degree of PTSD. We have attempted to bridge the gap between informal and formal treatment, accomplished through open discussions conducted between TFP meeting attendees. If someone shows a greater need for professional assistance, we recommend them for professional counseling. While we do not conduct any form of counseling we attempt to facilitate and provide them an opportunity to listen and to be heard,” Freeman said. “The VA offers “hot line” assistance to doctors, once the patient has been diagnosed and assigned to a support team. They also conduct PTSD related group discussion sessions that have proved very helpful to many veterans. The most important thing that a military veteran can do ... is get registered at the VA and obtain a VA photo ID, the key to all veteran assistance and benefits.”

Freeman stresses the importance of finding treatment for PTSD.

“The concept of warfare that began with the Vietnam war and continues today is a primary factor and cause of PTSD among the troops. The stress factor hanging over the heads of combat troops is greatly increased as political pressure is added to safeguard the potential collateral damage to the local civilian populations, while conducting the mission and protecting one’s comrades in arms.”

For more info, go to www.taskforcepatriot.com.

The latest resource for PTSD arrived in my inbox last week from local author Erika Land, who with fellow veteran Katisha Smittick has written “Residual Affects,” a book of poetry and photography inspired by their own struggle with PTSD stemming from their service in Iraq.

“Our goal with this book is to show others that they can channel their struggles with PTSD into something positive,” Land said, noting that future plans include workshops to complement their messages in the book, which is available on Amazon. (More info: erikathewriterland@gmail.com )

I’ve exhausted my list, but if you know of any other resources, please post them in the comment section and I’ll be sure to add them to my list.

Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at susanlarson79@gmail.com.