7 Ways to Support People with PTSD

Approximately nine million adults in the United States struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Of those diagnosed with PTSD, over one-third are classified in the “severe symptoms” category. Indeed, someone you know or love may be struggling with PTSD in the aftermath of a traumatic event, such as an assault, accident, abuse, injury, a mass traumatic event, or witnessing something horrific happening to someone else.

Unfortunately, speedy intervention by a trained professional who is knowledgeable about and experienced in working with PTSD patients may not always be possible immediately after the traumatic incident. Furthermore, trauma is not always a single incident, so it’s crucial that professional intervention is administered once awareness of the problem comes to light. If you or someone you love is struggling with their mental health after a traumatic event, a therapist can help.

Still, there are ways you can support and help to stabilize someone who has experienced a traumatic event. Use the following tips to help those around you who might be struggling:

  1. Encourage the individual to talk about his or her reactions, but only if they feel ready. If the individual wants to talk, listening in a respectful and nonjudgmental way can help them share their feelings. Be mindful to avoid saying anything that might make what the person share seem trivial or wrong. Statements such as “don’t cry,” or “calm down” likely aren’t going to help and could make matters worse.

  2. Help the person identify, establish, and connect with sources of support, including friends, loved ones, friends, and professional counselors.

  3. Encourage the traumatized individual to get plenty of rest, to eat, and to do things that feel good, such as reading, watching TV, taking baths, exercising, listening to music, and more.

  4. Encourage the individual to think about and employ any coping strategies they have developed and successfully used in the past.

  5. Encourage the individual to spend time where they feel comfortable and safe.

  6. Respect the individual’s need for privacy and to be alone at times.

  7. Discourage the individual from using unhealthy coping strategies such as overworking, using drugs and alcohol, or engaging in other self-destructive behaviors.

Be mindful of your own feelings and mindset, as well. Before jumping in and helping another person after a traumatic event, make sure you are safe and well first. Then, check for potential dangers or hazards, such as weapons, fire, debris, or the threat of other people becoming aggressive. Indeed, you cannot be of help to another person if you are not okay.

It’s also crucial to be able to recognize the warning symptoms and signs of PTSD and other mental health issues and know how to respond before it’s too late. Talk to a mental health professional about counseling in Palatine, IL to learn the risk factors and warning signs associated with PTSD and traumatic events. Again, you should know how to respond while ensuring your own safety and be able to identify which resources are available for professional help and self-help.

For more information, reach out and schedule an appointment to discuss your unique situation.

Thanks to Lotus Wellness Center for their insight into counseling and supporting a loved one with PTSD.