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PTSD: National Center for PTSD

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Peer Support Groups


Peer Support Groups

Available en Español

Support from others who understand your trauma and PTSD symptoms may help your recovery. Peer support groups are not treatment for PTSD but may help you feel connected to others. Learn about the benefits of peer support groups and how you can find one.

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Peer support groups are a place where you can discuss day-to-day problems with other people who have been through trauma. Support groups have not been shown to reduce PTSD symptoms, but they can help you feel better in other ways. Because it can give you a sense of connection to other people, a peer support group could be a great addition to your treatment. Support groups can also help family members or friends who are caring for someone with PTSD.

Remember, if you are suffering from PTSD, is it important that you get treatment for PTSD even if you join a support group. An evidence-based treatment provides the best chance of recovery from PTSD.

Photo of Tia Christopher

“The peer support honestly, that I'd say was the turning point for me getting better....”

Tia Christopher

U.S. Navy

What are peer support groups like?

Peer support groups are led by someone like you who has been through a trauma. Groups often meet in person, and many groups also provide online (Internet) support.

Sharing your story with others may help you feel more comfortable talking about your trauma. Or it may help to listen to other people talk about their experiences with a similar trauma. Peer support groups can help you cope with memories of the trauma or other parts of your life that you are having trouble dealing with as a result of the event. You may learn to deal with emotions such as anger, shame, guilt, and fear if you open up and learn from others who understand.

When you connect with other people it can help you feel better. You can work together with others to get better at talking about your PTSD or learning how to ask for help when you need it. You might even share some of the materials from this website to help others.

What are the benefits of joining a peer support group?

Joining a peer support group can help you to feel better in any number of ways, such as:

  • Knowing that others are going through something similar
  • Learning tips on how to handle day-to-day challenges
  • Meeting new friends or connecting to others who understand you
  • Learning how to talk about things that bother you or how to ask for help
  • Learning to trust other people
  • Hearing about helpful new perspectives from others

Peer support groups can be an important part of dealing with PTSD, but they are not a substitute for effective treatment for PTSD. If you have problems after a trauma that last more than a short time, you may need professional help.

How can I find a peer support group?

Here are some ideas to help you find a peer support group that can help you deal with PTSD or a traumatic experience:

  • Do an online search for "PTSD support groups" or for a group that relates to the specific trauma you experienced, like "disaster support groups."
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of AmericaLink will take you outside the VA website. VA is not responsible for the content of the linked site.offers a list of support groups across the country for a number of different mental health conditions, including PTSD.
  • National Alliance on Mental IllnessLink will take you outside the VA website. VA is not responsible for the content of the linked site. (NAMI) Information HelpLine provides support, referral and information on mental illness care. You may also find family support groups in a NAMI state or local affiliate online or by calling 1(800)950-NAMI (6264).
  • We also have information on our Helping a Family Member Who Has PTSD (en Español) webpage for anyone providing care to a loved one with PTSD.

Are there resources specific to Veterans and their families?

If you are a Veteran, or are a family member or support person for a Veteran, there are resources to help you deal with specific concerns:

  • If you feel that you or a Veteran you care about is in crisis or emotionally distressed, contact the Veterans Crisis Line: dial 988 then press 1. You can also text 838255 or open a live, online chat on the Veterans Crisis LineLink will take you outside the VA website. VA is not responsible for the content of the linked site. website.
  • Call the 24/7 Veteran Combat Call Center 1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387) to talk to another combat Veteran or visit the Vet Center homepage to ask about local support groups.
  • The VA Caregiver Support Line provides services and support to family members who are taking care of a Veteran. Call 1-855-260-3274 or visit VA Caregiver Support.
  • Veterans who want to share their knowledge and experience with other Veterans dealing with mental health conditions may consider searching VA Careers for "Peer Specialist" positions.
  • The Psychological Health Resource Center offers 24/7 access to mental health information. Call 1-866-966-1020.
  • We also have a list of resources on our Help a Veteran Get Needed Care (en Español).

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PTSD Information Voice Mail: (802) 296-6300
Also see: VA Mental Health