Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an ongoing condition for a variety of groups of people throughout the United States. Most commonly associated with combat veterans, PTSD can occur among any victim of a traumatic experience.
The local Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 973 has taken steps to make PTSD help available on a local basis with a “peer-to-peer” support program. “Trauma survivors with PTSD often experience problems in their intimate and family relationships, or close friendships,” VVA chapter president Charles Holcomb told a group attending Wednesday’s training session at the TCOG building in Sherman.
Representatives from 12 agencies attended the session, designed to help them identify the symptoms of PTSD so they can help clients get support when it’s needed. First Holcomb went through a power-point presentation outlining some of the more common identification symptoms of PTSD.
A group discussion followed that seemed to reveal a widespread need for attention to PTSD.
Several members of the local VVA chapter have taken the time to get certified to provide support to victims of PTSD. When they first began the schooling, they envisioned reaching out to combat veterans on a veterans-to-veteran platform but found their training can help others as well.
Wanda Ransom of Child Protective Services in Greenville said she received an email from TCOG’s Judy Truelove, who heads the 211 program. Ransom said she knew right away she needed to go to the training, “because when you experience someone going through something like that, you want to learn all you can to help them.”
Holcomb said it is normal for a victim to experience a time of abnormal behavior after going through trauma. But it’s when that behavior goes on and on without changing that becomes a concern for PTSD.
The reason this program works, Holcomb said, is because “it’s vets working with vets.
“Our goal is to help Active Duty Military, Reserves, Guard, veterans, their families and others who suffer from the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury or military sexual assault. Anyone who has experienced a traumatic event is at risk to develop PTSD.”
Donna Waters of the Salvation Army in Sherman said she wanted to know how to identify the symptoms of PTSD. “We see a lot of different behaviors come through our shelter,” Waters said. “A lot of them are vets and a lot of them are broken souls. You can see it in their eyes. Anything I can do to refer them to get the help they need, I want to do that.”
Holcomb said he and other members of the peer-to-peer support trainers are planning to conduct more training sessions throughout the area. Anyone interested in inviting the veterans to present the program or anyone who needs help should call he Peer-to-Peer program line at 903-893-1129. It is answered from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays. Also, information may be obtained by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.