If someone close to you has been diagnosed with PTSD, it can be hard to know how to support them. At the same time, it’s important to remember that PTSD also affects family and friends — and it’s normal for you to struggle, too.
Here’s the good news: there’s a lot you can do to help your loved one heal, strengthen your relationship — and take care of yourself too. Things may not go back to exactly the way they were before, but they can get better — even if your loved one has been struggling for years.
Here are some ways you can support a loved one who has with PTSD — but the strategies and tips may be helpful for supporting anyone who has experienced trauma.
Find out as much as you can about PTSD
Knowing how PTSD affects people may help you understand what your family member is going through. The more you know, the better you and your family can handle PTSD.
- Learn about PTSD and how it affects friends and family members in this new 16 page, full color booklet Understanding PTSD: A Guide for Family and Friends English | Español (PDF)
- Find out about PTSD treatment and compare treatment options with the PTSD Treatment Decision Aid
Offer to go to doctor visits with your family member
You can help keep track of therapy appointments and/or medications, and you can be there for support. If your loved one is getting Prolonged Exposure or Cognitive Processing Therapy, learn about ways you can help during treatment:
A support system will help your family member get through difficult changes and stressful times. A support system for you will help you be there for your loved one in the best ways possible.
- Download PTSD Family Coach (ITunes iOS) – a free mobile app that helps support family members of those living with PTSD.
- Contact Coaching Into Care: a free service that assists family members and friends with concerns about the mental health and well-being of the veteran in their life. Call 1-888-823-7458.
CONNECT to resources that can help. Give support. Get support. You can make a difference today in someone's life. For many people, it can be hard to reach out for help. Read tips on how to overcome barriers to care and know that there is support for family and friends too.
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