This National PTSD Day, You Can Help Veterans Experiencing PTSD and Their Therapy Dogs

This National PTSD Day, You Can Help Veterans Experiencing PTSD and Their Therapy Dogs

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Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, occurs when someone has witnessed or experienced a life-threatening event. It impacts millions of Americans each year, regardless of their backgrounds. A national event aims to bring awareness to the issue and to help more people get the treatment they need.

National PTSD Awareness Day, held June 27, shines a light on the roughly 13 million Americans who experience the condition each year. It may stem from a serious accident, a sexual assault, other crimes, a natural disaster, or military experiences. It’s more common in certain professions, like first responders, health care workers, journalists, and members of the military.

Veteran with PTSD in therapy

According to the National Center for PTSD, an estimated 7% of veterans will experience PTSD in their lifetimes, compared with 6% of the general population. Its diagnosis is becoming more common, too, with research suggesting up to 29% of veterans of the post-9/11 wars will experience it at some point, compared with 21% of Desert Storm veterans and 10% of Vietnam veterans. However, the National Center for PTSD says older research had indicated that Vietnam veterans may have experienced the condition at higher levels, but those who had passed away before taking part in this research wouldn’t have been counted.


PTSD in veterans is often linked with deployment, training accidents, and military sexual trauma. When it comes to the latter, 1 in 3 female veterans receiving VA treatment reported experiencing military sexual trauma, compared with 1 in 50 male veterans. At the same time, 13% of female veterans will experience PTSD, compared with 6% of male veterans. This is in line with the general population trend of 8% of women and 4% of men experiencing PTSD in their lifetimes.

Woman with PTSD speaks with therapist

People living with the condition, including veterans, often deal with nightmares, flashbacks, being on edge or prone to bursts of anger, or a switch in their personalities, making them more distrustful, numb, or wracked with guilt or shame. Fortunately, there is treatment available, from talk therapy to medication, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers resources to help veterans access these lifelines.

If not treated properly, though, these symptoms can be disruptive to a person’s life, getting in the way of concentration or ability to do basic tasks. This can, in turn, impact housing stability. A 2017 study found that 5.6% of veterans who had been referred to VA anxiety or PTSD clinics experienced homelessness within one year of the referral. 

Female veteran with PTSD speaks with therapist

This PTSD Awareness Day, you can help us provide material needs to homeless veterans - who may be suffering from PTSD - and their beloved pets. You can also provide aid to therapy dogs that are helping veterans manage their mental health. To find out more, click below!

Michelle Milliken

Michelle has a journalism degree and has spent more than seven years working in broadcast news. She's also been known to write some silly stuff for humor websites. When she's not writing, she's probably getting lost in nature, with a fully-stocked backpack, of course.

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