Military Mental Health Resources: Depression, TBI & PTSD

Military family life can come with some challenges for service members and their families. The stress of deployment and mobilizations can add up, leading to depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns. For this reason, the University of Southern California School of Social Work has put together a resource page with some of the best support resources and mental health information available online. Though this list of military family mental health resources is in no way comprehensive, if you or your military family member are struggling with mental health concerns, some of the below resources may be a good place to start your path back to wellness.

If you are interested in Military Mental Health, you may be want to participate in our Milfam Mental Health campaign! We hope you will join us in raising awareness for this important cause.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Resources

Understanding and Coping with PTSD:

Do you have a lot of questions about PTSD? This comprehensive guide by the National Alliance on Mental Illness can help answer them. This information-packed handbook touches upon a variety of topics – everything from the biological basis of PTSD to how it affects families to what happens during the treatment process.

Helping Families Understand Combat Stress:

Traumatic events, whether they involve direct combat or noncombat situations, can lead to behavior changes or even develop into PTSD. As service members reintegrate following a deployment, this simple chart can help families recognize the signs and symptoms of combat stress.

Screening for PTSD:

If you suspect that you might suffer from PTSD, this may be a helpful tool and a good place to start. Simply answer a series of questions and bring the results to your health care professional.

Post-Traumatic Stress Moodjuice Self-help Guide:

In this workbook, two psychologists gather techniques and interventions used by PTSD experts from around the world to offer trauma survivors the most effective tools available to conquer their most distressing trauma-related symptoms. Readers determine the type of trauma they experienced, identify their symptoms, and learn the most effective techniques and interventions they can use to overcome them.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Resources

The Brain Injury Guide & Resources– TBI Basics:

This guide provides background information so that those new to TBI can gather facts and develop better understanding. It covers the basics behind brain structure and function, causes of TBI, mechanisms of injury, injury severity, neuropsychological symptoms, physical symptoms, behavioral and emotional impacts, and personal stories.

The Brain Injury Guide & Resources – Specific Populations:

TBI affects certain populations differently, and specific issues and challenges lie within each group. This page provides information about how TBI affects these populations (families, athletes, children, senior citizens and the elderly, veterans, and rural populations) and further resources targeted for each one.

Saving Lives and Protecting People: Preventing Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI):

This page by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives direct statistics on TBI, and links to other resources on TBI identification and monitoring including its “Heads Up” campaign.

Lost & Found: What Brain Injury Survivors Want You to Know:

This article describes the struggles survivors of TBI experience during the recovery process. This may help family and friends understand those with TBI better, while also letting them know they are not alone in their feelings and struggles.

Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Center:

This resource center has everything you need when it comes to TBI. Because the injury is so broad, the site redirects you based on your category of needs, including hospitals, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language, recreation and hobbies, counseling, residential care, case management, sexual health, education, financial services, government, legal, TBI associates, and even chat rooms.

Depression Resources

Resources for Understanding Depression:

Depression affects people differently. This resource page breaks the disorder down into categories such as depression in children, depression in teens and college-age students, and depression in women for better focus and understanding.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance:

Individuals living with mood disorders lead this organization. Their vision, mission and programming are always informed by the personal experience of peers.

Depression: Supporting a Family Member or Friend:

Helping someone with depression can be a challenge. If someone in your life has depression, you may feel helpless and wonder what to do. Learn how to offer support and understanding, and how to help your loved one get the resources to cope with depression.

Antidepressant Skills Workbook:

This overview of depression explains how it can be effectively managed according to the best available research and gives a step-by-step guide to changing patterns that trigger depression. It shows how to use cognitive and behavioral methods to make important changes in thinking and actions that help one to emerge from depression and make it less likely to recur. These methods can be used in combination with depression treatments, increasing their effectiveness. Note that for most people with serious depression, use of this self-help guide alone will not be sufficient to resolve the depression.

Anxiety Resources

Anxiety Disorders by National Institute of Mental Health:

There are many different types of anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobias. This hefty booklet describes the symptoms of each, helps you understand the causes, and offers information on treatment and how to obtain it.

AnxietyBC Complete Home Toolkit:

This is a toolkit within a toolkit where you’ll find simple, step-by-step instructions on how to deal with specific issues related to anxiety – such as how to get a good night’s sleep or dealing with uncertainty in your daily life. There are also tips and techniques to help you relax, plan for more healthy living, set goals, and change your way of thinking about things.

E-couch:

This is an online program for preventing and coping with both anxiety and depression that’s free of charge and anonymous. It includes information, exercises and a workbook to track your progress and record your experiences. There are toolkits to help you improve your mood and emotional state, and tackle challenges that you may be facing.

The Best Anxiety Health Blogs of 2014:

The community and individual blogs on this Healthline.com list all create a positive, supportive space where experiences with anxiety are shared, while letting others with the same condition know they are not alone. They all aim to cool anxiety and help people experience a better quality of life.

Additional Mental Health Resources

Moving Forward:

This free, online educational and life coaching program teaches problem solving skills to help you better handle life’s challenges. It is designed to be especially helpful for veterans, military service members and their families. However, Moving Forward teaches skills that can be useful to anyone with stress-related problems.

WebTribes:

This website is home to the largest network of online support community websites for people who suffer from life-consuming ailments. Based on the belief that individuals become empowered to help themselves and others when they feel like a part of something larger, this website offers members a convenient and safe place for individuals with similar challenges to connect.

Mental Health First Aid:

Use this website to learn about and sign up for the Mental Health First Aid, an eight-hour course that teaches you how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training helps you identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

Please share additional resources you may know of in the comments section below, and we will continue to update this military family mental health resource list.