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PTSD: National Center for PTSD

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How Can I Help?

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“Just be there for him or her. Encourage them to try to get help.”

Olivia Jefferson

Family Member

How Can I Help?

When someone you love has PTSD, it can affect your relationship with them. They may be less happy and outgoing, have trouble sleeping, or seem "on edge." They may have a hard time at work or school. And they may pull away from friends, family, and loved ones. Fortunately, there are options for making things better. This section provides information on how you can help a loved one with PTSD, including information on effective treatments for PTSD.

Helping a Loved One

  • Helping a Family Member Who Has PTSD
    PTSD can be hard on families. Changes in one person often greatly impact other family members. Learn ways to help a family member who has PTSD and tips for taking care of yourself.
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy: Helping During Treatment
    Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is an evidence-based therapy for PTSD. CPT helps people recognize how trauma changed their view about themselves, others, and the world. In CPT, people learn how to change those negative thoughts and feelings. Learn what to expect and how you can support your loved one during treatment.
  • Prolonged Exposure: Helping During Treatment
    Prolonged Exposure (PE) is an evidence-based therapy for PTSD. PE helps people do things and go places they have avoided since the trauma. Learn what to expect and how you can support your loved one during treatment.
  • Helping a Veteran Get Needed Care

  • Helping a Veteran get needed care
    When someone you care about has PTSD, it affects you too. You are probably spending time and energy to help your loved one cope. Even if your partner, family member, or friend with PTSD is getting treatment and getting better, you may still feel drained, worried, or even frustrated. You need support at the same time you are giving support.

You May Also Be Interested In


PTSD Family Coach

Practical help for coping with your loved one's PTSD.

Understanding PTSD: A Guide for Family and Friends (PDF)

What you need to know to help yourself and your loved one with PTSD.

Online Course: Help with PTSD

How to guide your loved one into treatment.

Get help for PTSD

If you need help right away:

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PTSD Information Voice Mail:
(802) 296-6300
ncptsd@va.gov
Also see: VA Mental Health