AboutFace is an online video gallery featuring Veterans talking about living with PTSD and how PTSD treatment turned their lives around.
AboutFace aims to help Veterans and their families recognize PTSD symptoms and motivate them to seek treatment. Through personal video testimonial, viewers meet Veterans and hear how PTSD has affected them and their loved ones.
- Veterans from over six decades of military service candidly describe: how they knew they had PTSD; how PTSD affected the people they love; why they didn't get help right away; and what finally got them into treatment.
- Veterans on AboutFace also share the steps they took to gain control of their lives: what PTSD treatment is like and how it helps.
- Additional testimonials, including more Veterans, family members, and PTSD clinicians will continue to be added to the site.
How providers can use AboutFace
AboutFace testimonials give clinicians insight into the experiences of their patients. Clinicians and providers can share AboutFace with:
- patients in individual and group treatment settings
- caregivers (e.g. family and friends) of those dealing with PTSD
- other providers and trainees as a teaching tool
- any professional who may work or interact with Veterans with PTSD (e.g., educators, clergy, police) as a way to sensitize them to military culture and PTSD
- anyone (students, Veterans, clients, etc.) interested in a career as a mental health provider
Additional media and materials
AboutFace complements VA's Make the Connection campaign, which profiles Veterans who faced difficult life events, reached out for support, and found ways to overcome their challenges. But AboutFace is PTSD specific, focusing on the largest mental health issue faced by Veterans.
Continued development of AboutFace
In the coming months, AboutFace will expand to include testimonials of family and friends of Veterans with PTSD, as well as clinician interviews. Practitioner interviews will give an overview of their PTSD treatment process, including how treatment works; what patients can expect in a session; and general advice based upon concerns raised by the Veterans they've seen.
- Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric K. Shinseki: "We must do all we can to help Veterans identify possible indicators that they may be suffering from PTSD. It requires a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to be effective. We hope that this initiative, while just one aspect of our program, will play an important role in that effort."
- Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Robert Petzel: "VA is committed to ensuring the men and women who bravely served our Nation can access the resources and services tailored for them that can lead to a more fulfilling life. We want Veterans to recognize themselves in these stories and to feel optimistic that they can overcome their challenges with proper treatment."
- Executive Director, National Center for PTSD, Dr. Matthew Friedman: "Because the Veteran does all the talking, clinicians have much to learn from AboutFace's unique perspective. First, these personal graphic narratives of what it's like to have PTSD are evocative and compelling. Second, these raw, disarming and unsparing descriptions of how PTSD affected personal trajectories and interpersonal relationships are very instructive.
Finally, regarding Veteran perceptions of barriers to care and the therapeutic experience, AboutFace should help clinicians achieve a better understanding regarding the ambivalence that characterizes most treatment-seeking behavior and, most importantly, help them engage their Veteran clients with empathy, authenticity and humility."