National PTSD Awareness Day (June 27, 2016)


In order to bring greater awareness to the issue of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the United States Senate designated June 27th as National PTSD Awareness Day. In addition, June has been designated as PTSD Awareness Month by the National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD).

PTSD is a mental health problem that can occur after someone has been exposed to a single traumatic event or multiple traumatic events, such as sexual or physical assault, natural or man-made disaster, and war-related combat stress. Symptoms of PTSD include persistent intrusive thoughts and distressing dreams about the traumatic event, triggered emotional responses to reminders of the trauma, efforts to avoid thinking or talking about the trauma, and persistent hypervigilance for cues that  indicate additional danger or trauma re-occurring.

The mission of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is to raise awareness about child traumatic stress. The NCTSN joins this effort to raise awareness about PTSD. We offer the following resources to help educate individuals, families, professionals, policy makers, and communities about the significant impact that PTSD has on men, women, and children. Effective psychological interventions and drug treatments are available to assist those who suffer with PTSD to heal from their traumas and to lead healthy, productive lives.

To find out more about military children and families click here.

About PTSD Awareness Month

National Center for PTSD
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD was created in 1989 by a congressional mandate to address the needs of veterans with military-related PTSD. The center’s mission is to “advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's veterans through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders.”

  • About PTSD Awareness
    These materials describe PTSD Awareness and offer suggestions to raise awareness in your community about PTSD.
  • Promotional Materials
    Resources to help raise awareness of PTSD month.
  • PTSD Overview
    This section provides a general overview about PTSD including treatment approaches and ways to talk with family members about PTSD.
  • PTSD Service Announcements (AboutFace)
    An online video collection dedicated to Veterans talking about how they turned their lives around with PTSD treatment.
  • Where to get help for PTSD
    Counselors and therapists in the military, VA and community who provide treatment for PTSD are available through these resources.


Page Contents

Featured NCTSN Resources

After Service: Veteran Families in Transition (2016) (PDF)
Providers will find information about veteran families’ experiences, challenges, and opportunities that accompany their transition to civilian life and, in addition, a list of key questions to ask to new clients, questions not typically included in behavioral health screening.

Child Maltreatment in Military Families: A Fact Sheet for Providers (2015) (PDF)
This factsheet offers providers information about military families, child maltreatment in the military, how the deployment affects the family, and what providers can do to support the military families they serve.

Courage to Talk Campaign
Courage to Care Courage to Talk is an educational campaign for hospitals and healthcare sites developed by the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS). Its goal is to facilitate and improve communication around war injuries between healthcare providers and families, and within the family, especially in talking to children. The campaign seeks to connect families to resources and providers in the hospital environment who can answer their questions, talk with them about their children, or address other family or communication concerns related to the injury. 

NCTSN Military Families Learning Community
The NCTSN Military Families Learning Community features webinars and podcasts including "Essentials for Those Who Care for Military Children and Families," a series of more than 15 Podcasts from top military experts discussing Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps cultures; available mental health services for Active Duty, Veteran, National Guard and Reserve; impact of deployment on military children and families; becoming a TRICARE provider; Military OneSource; and building community capacity to serve military families.

NCTSN Service Systems Speakers Series: Creating Trauma-Informed Child-Serving Systems: Pediatric Health Care  
A presentation by Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD, on PTSD within the context of pediatric medical trauma.
Topics include the framework needed for a trauma-informed service system; relevance of traumatic stress for healthcare providers; prevalence, impact, risk factors, and mechanisms of pediatric medical trauma; opportunities for intervention to treat and prevent traumatic stress related to medical traumas; and training and resources available for heathcare providers.

NCTSN Terrorism, Disaster and Children Speaker Series: Treating Children After Disasters
Topics focus on assessing and treating PTSD in preschool children, school-aged children, and youth following a disaster. The presenters discuss developmental issues, parent issues, assessment, and treatment.

Traumatic Grief in Military Children Factsheets
NCTSN Fact Sheets provide guidance for providing assistance to military children following a death or loss.

Working Effectively with Military Families: 10 Key Concepts All Providers Should Know
Brief tip sheet outlines the top ten things to keep in mind when working with military families and, for each key concept, includes links to additional information.

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For Children and Adolescents

MilitaryKidsConnect (MKC)
An online community of military children (ages 6-17 yr old) that provides access to age-appropriate resources to support children from pre-deployment, through a parent's or caregiver's return.

Sesame Workshop for Military Families
Sesame Street provides much-needed support and practical education with Talk, Listen, Connect, a multiphase outreach initiative to help kids through deployments, combat-related injuries, and the death of a loved one. Videos, storybooks, and workbooks especially created for this program guide families through such tough transitions by showing how real families — as well as furry monsters — deal with similar circumstances.

This ongoing initiative aims to strengthen the resilience of young children and their families who are experiencing the stresses of deployments, reunifications, injury, or loss of the Service member parent. The Duty to Care professional development training, sponsored by the Department of Defense and conducted by ZERO TO THREE, is a key component of this initiative.

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For Families and Communities

After Deployment
This website is an online resource supporting service members, their families, and veterans, with common post-deployment concerns. It provides self-care solutions targeting post-traumatic stress, depression, anger, sleep, relationship concerns, and other mental health challenges.

Military OneSource or call 1-800-342-9647
Military OneSource is a free service provided by the Department of Defense to service members and their families to help with a broad range of concerns including money management, spouse employment and education, parenting and child care, relocation, deployment, reunion, and the particular concerns of families with special-needs members. They can also include more complex issues like relationships, stress, and grief. Services are available 24 hours a day — by telephone and online. Many Military OneSource staff members have military experience (veterans, spouses, Guardsmen, Reservists), and all receive ongoing training on military matters and military lifestyle. The program can be especially helpful to service members and their families who live at a distance from installations.

National Center for PTSD
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD was created in 1989 by a congressional mandate to address the needs of veterans with military-related PTSD. The center’s mission is to “advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's veterans through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders.”

  • Effects of PTSD on Family
    Fact sheet discusses how PTSD effects the family and offers suggestions for dealing with negative emotions.
  • PTSD in Children and Adolescents
    Includes an overview of how trauma affects school-aged children and teens, and information on treatments for PTSD in children.
  • The Epidemiology of Trauma and Trauma Related Disorders in Children and Youth (2008) (PDF)
    PTSD Research Quarterly, by John A. Fairbank, PhD (co-director of the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress).
    Reviews general population studies, disaster research, child maltreatment studies, and special population studies that report the prevalence of PTSD in children, adolescents, and young adults.
  • Treating PTSD and Related Symptoms in Children: Research Highlights (2008) (PDF)
    PTSD Research Quarterly, by Judith A. Cohen, PhD, of Allegheny General Hospital Center for Traumatic Stress in Children & Adolescents.
    Presents highlights from the [then] current literature on outcomes of treating PTSD in traumatized children. The issue also includes an article on the work of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (p. 8).
  • Understanding PTSD (PDF)
    Helps explain PTSD including its symptoms, along with effective treatments and suggestions on when and how to access help. Includes accounts from individuals who have received help for their PTSD and links to other resources including crisis assistance.
  • Very Young Trauma Survivors: The Role of Attachment
    Discusses rates of trauma-related problems in infants and young children, along with treatment options.

Sesame Street

  • Comforting Children in a Disaster (2011)
    Offers suggestions for helping children cope with the sudden stress that can occur during and/or after disasters. Includes ideas for what to say, how to overcome obstacles, how to increase children’s resilience, and when to call a professional. 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA)

  • Coping with Traumatic Events
    Offers resources to first responders, health professionals, students, schools, parents, and the general public on coping with traumatic events, particularly mass trauma.

T2 Virtual PTSD Experience
The T2 Virtual PTSD Experience, based in Second Life, is an immersive, interactive learning experience designed to educate visitors about combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It includes a simulation demonstrating how PTSD may be acquired during a combat-related traumatic event, including an explanation of the connections between danger cues and triggers, the role of avoidance in the development of PTSD, and how PTSD is a normal human response to traumatic events. Additionally, this environment includes simulations of PTSD symptoms, helping the visitor learn through interactive activities how PTSD symptoms may show up in a person's life. Finally, the environment includes information to help visitors determine whether they or a loved one is in need of care, and how to access that care whether a DoD or VA beneficiary.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

  • Make the Connection
    A public awareness campaign that provides personal testimonials and resources to help Veterans discover ways to improve their lives. Many of our Nation’s Veterans—from those who served in World War II to those involved in current conflicts—return not only with physical wounds but also mental health issues they may not recognize.

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For Mental Health and Victim Services Professionals

Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP)
CDP trains military and civilian behavioral health professionals to provide high-quality deployment related behavioral health services to military personnel and their families.

Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and TBI
The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) was established in November 2007 to integrate knowledge and identify, evaluate and disseminate evidence based practices and standards for the treatment of psychological health and TBI within the Defense Department. DCoE is part of the Military Health System, which provides a ‘continuum of care’ – from initial accession to deployment to discharge. DCoE works across the entire continuum of care to promote resilience, rehabilitation and reintegration for warriors, families and veterans with psychological health concerns and traumatic brain injuries.

From the War Zone to the Home Front: Supporting the Mental Health of Veterans and Families
The Home Base Program in collaboration with the Department of Veteran Affairs’s National Center for PTSD is providing this free, CME-certified educational series to assist clinicians in the diagnosis and treatment of the silent wounds of war in returning veterans and their families. This on-demand, on-line educational series is led by nationally recognized faculty with expertise in diagnosing and treating PTSD and TBI with traditional and complementary evidence-based therapy. The faculty addresses the needs of military families and review how to recognize and treat the emotional stress present in spouses, parents, and children of veterans with PTSD or TBI.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA)
The military webpage of the SAMHSA website features an overview to their Military Families Initiative, as well as a wide range of resources to find treatments for PTSD and substance abuse.

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For Policy Makers

Children's Institute, Inc.

  • Fatherhood in Recovery: Fathers, Families and PTSD (PDF)
    Explains some of the consequences to the family when the father has PTSD including domestic violence and substance abuse. Includes information on how to recognize, understand, and cope with PTSD; and offers interventions that can make a difference in the lives of these families.

DoD/VA Clinical Practice Guidelines:  Management of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Reaction 
The guideline describes the critical decision points in the Management of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Reaction and provides clear and comprehensive evidence based recommendations incorporating current information and practices for practitioners throughout the DoD and VA Health Care systems. The guideline is intended to improve patient outcomes and local management of patients with one of these diagnoses.

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