Vet Centers of America Search by ZIP CODE

There are more than 300 Vet Centers across the United States and U.S. Territories whose primary function is to help veterans and their families adjust to civilian life after combat.

Vet Centers help overwhelmed VA hospitals by providing Veterans with valuable services such as counseling for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Military Sexual Trauma, bereavement counseling, marriage and family counseling, and resources like VA benefits information and suicide prevention referrals.

To search by zip code for a Vet Center in your area click here

If you do not find a Vet Center near you, check out the Mobile Vet Centers.  There are 50 motorized vehicles – resembling super-sized recreational vehicles – that are driven to far-reaching rural areas as part of an “On the Road” outreach program

Graffiti of War Project: Soldiers Using Art to Battle PTSD

“Across 10 years, two fronts, and three million deployments, our troops have chronicled a story few could ever know.  Nearly 50,000 of them have become casualties and almost 3 times that number have battled PTSD.”

Jaeson Parsons is more than a West Virginia native and former combat medic. He is a PTSD survivor who has worked to collect nearly 10,000 pictures of graffiti artwork created by soldiers fighting overseas, mainly those in Iraq.

Murals of 911, dog tags of fighting soldiers, meaningful words in front of haunting images, are all being compiled into a book.

After injuring his back during a tour, Jaeson was forced to leave the battle ground and ended up fighting another battle at home, PTSD.

“I was drinking a lot, I was abusing drugs and in Christmas of 2009 I had to go to a VA center for mental health,” said Parsons. “It took me months before I got to the point where I just saw them (injured soldiers) as a job and not a person,” he said.

With his wife’s encouragement, he founded this project and discovered it eased his emotional pain.

Parsons said unless someone was there to experience it themselves, this (art) is one of the closest things to feeling what those fighting for our country are going through.

Parsons said the proceeds from the book will go to different organizations that help to rehabilitate soldiers suffering from “internal wounds,” like PTSD.

Donations will be directed toward programs outside of traditional therapy that use music, art or animals as pathways toward a good mindset.  For more information on how you can get involved in the “Graffiti of War” Project visit: www.GraffitiofWar. com.

Veterans Crisis Line: Recognizing the Signs of Suicide Risk

Updated: February 19th, 2012

If you are a Veteran having thoughts about hurting or killing yourself, and you are looking for ways to do so, then you need help fast.   Pick up the phone and call the Veterans Crisis Line today: 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1)

If you are not ready to talk to someone about suicidal feelings over the phone, or concerned that a family member/loved one might overhear your conversation, then try using the confidential “live chat” featured at VeteransCrisisLine.net

or try the new text feature added in February 2012*

Veterans who aren’t quite sure whether they are depressed, suicidal, or both can now do a “self-check” quiz that will be reviewed by an experienced counselor: www.vetselfcheck.org

  • Increased Self-destructive behavior such as drug abuse, alcoholism, weapons usage, and/or engagement in risky activities without thought.
  • Excessive Rage, anger, agitation, sleeplessness, anxiety, or mood swings
  • Withdrawal from family and friends. Feeling like there is no reason to live.

If you are a concerned family member or the friend of a Veteran in crisis, then please visit the website to find out how you can help.

A November 2011 report from the service’s Suicide Prevention Program says that 11 Marines attempted suicide in October, raising the year-to-date figure to 163 for 2011.

The news comes on the heels of another report from the influential Center for a New American Security in Washington that says U.S. service members took their own lives at a rate of one every 36 hours between 2005 and 2010.

The report also says that a veteran dies by suicide every 80 minutes, attributing that information to the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Read related story: here

*Update February 19th, 2012: VA Adds Texting Feature to Crisis Line: Since its launch in 2007, the VA’s Veterans Crisis Line has answered more than 500,000 confidential calls, and trained responders have made more than 18,000 rescues. In 2009, an anonymous online chat service was added, which has already helped more than 28,000 people.
  • Now VA has added a third option for veterans, service members and family members who would rather text than call or go online: a free text messaging service at 838255.
  • The confidential Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255, Press 1), online chat (www.VeteransCrisisLine.net), and
  • text messaging service (838255) are monitored 24/7 by trained crisis responders.
Learn more about VA’s overall crisis prevention program at www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention.

VA Claims for PTSD Compensation: Start By Using the PTSD Worksheet

If you are attempting to file a PTSD claim with the VA,  there is a worksheet developed by the PTSD Help Network that can assist you in providing your veterans service officer or representative and your examining physician with the information they need. In order to receive VA compensation for PTSD there are two items of evidence that must exist:

  • Stressor:  In a recent regulatory revision, the VA will accept as a stressor the fact that a veteran was in “fear of military or terrorist activity.”  Likewise any event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury could also be considered a stressor.  That fear or event must be consistent with the places, types, and circumstances of the veteran’s service.  Moreover, a VA psychiatrist or psychologist, or those working under contract to the VA, must confirm that the claimed stressor is adequate enough to support a diagnosis of PTSD.
  • Diagnosis: A diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder rendered by a psychiatrist. Counseling reports prepared by Vet Centers may be considered in determining the degree of your impairment; however, there must be a diagnosis of PTSD made by a physician specialized in psychiatry.

To view the worksheet go here: PTSD WORKSHEET

A Veterans Service Publication of PTSDhelp.net

TAPS: Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors

If you are grieving from the loss of a loved one who has given their life in the line of duty, and feeling shattered, lost, or uncertain about your future, TAPS’ (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) Peer Support Network may be able to help.

TAPS can connect you with others who have survived a similar loss, and offer programs that enable you to glue the pieces of your life back together.  Known as “Peer Mentors”, fellow survivors will encourage you to take advantage of  services like grief counseling, survivor seminars, crisis intervention, casework assistance, grief camps, professional education, and online training.

Where is the National PTSD Awareness Day Support?

I’ve searched…and I’ve searched…and although legislation was passed by Congress in 2010 to make June 27th the official “National PTSD Day”, I have yet to find anyone (outside of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) doing ANYTHING to promote awareness in 2011 outside of a few privileged group discussions on Facebook.

So, just to make my “Please help a Veteran’s day“, I would love to hear from someone who is doing something in the great USA to raise awareness about PTSD sometime in the month of June.

Preferably someone who is not on the government’s payroll.

If you have an event planned, a video made, or an article published, or any useful tidbit SCREAMING TO GET OUT please leave me a COMMENT!   (like Veterans Today’s 2010 Article), I will post it!!!!