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where to go for support & services

· U.S. Military & U.S. Government Services

· Non-Governmental Support, General Support, and Advocacy Organizations for Service Members, Veterans and Their Families

· U.S. Military & U.S. Government Services

"Military OneSource" -- Comprehensive Military Assistance
"Military OneSource" was established in June 2004 as a one-stop shop for all service members who need "help to cope with life's little -- and not so little -- issues." The service, which was previously broken down by individual service branch, offers 24-hour help by phone (800-342-9647) or by e-mail. Its web site provides advice on everything from coping with stress to caring for an elderly relative to recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. In addition to online articles, there are booklets, CDs, audiotapes, and interactive tools available, all free. Service members can log on to the main site or go through the original portals specific to each branch.

To access advice and help by individual service branch:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The only national suicide intervention hotline (800-273-TALK-8255) funded by the federal government, this number works 24 hours, seven days a week and is comprised of over 100 crisis centers nationwide.

The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Just about everything you might ever want to know about PTSD -- from the biology of the disease to its impact on spirituality -- is provided on this Web site in the form of fact sheets, medical papers, videos and more. The NCPTSD is a part of the VA that works to advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's veterans through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders.

VVA's PTSD Claims Guide
The purpose of this guide is to assist the veteran, or the veteran's survivor(s), in presenting a claim for benefits based on exposure to psychologically traumatic events during military service that has resulted in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The difficulty of readjusting to home is addressed here on this Web site, with input from all four branches of the services, the Reserves and the VA.

VA Readjustment Counseling Services
You will be able to locate a Vet Center in your state on this Web site.

Vet Centers are small community organizations managed by the VA and dedicated to providing counseling for combat veterans from combat veterans. The site also links to tele-health services and the National Center for PTSD (see below).

The Courage to Care
A collection of electronic factsheets, this site covers everything from flu season to "psychological first aid" and features input from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

The Recovery and Employment Assistance Lifelines initiative is a joint project of the U.S. Department of Labor, the Bethesda Naval Medical Center and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It works to create a seamless, personalized assistance network to ensure that seriously wounded and injured service members who cannot return to active duty are trained for rewarding new careers in the private sector.

The Web site for the official military health plan, TRICARE, explains what services are covered and also offers limited medical advice. One of the interesting links is "Healthy Choices for Life" which presents the results of a major 2002 survey of "health related behaviors" of military personnel.

Individual Services

The official web pages for the medical departments of each service branch that offer press releases and directives from the top brass.

· Non-Governmental Support, General Support, and Advocacy Organizations for Service Members, Veterans and Their Families

National Veterans Foundation
The only nationwide non-governmental national hotline for veterans and their families providing crisis intervention, resource referral, benefits information and emotional support: 800-777-4443. (Monday-Friday, 9 am to 9 pm Pacific Time).

National Gulf War Resource Center
This is an international coalition of organizations that has been advocating for veterans since 1995 and is run by former Army Ranger Steve Robinson. The NGWRC is a resource for information, support, referrals and how to file claims. Under "Resources" there is a self-help guide on PTSD, and be sure to explore the "PTSD and Readjustment" bulletin board.

PTSD Alliance
PTSD Alliance was launched in 2000 and works with anyone suffering from Post Traumatic Stress, including military veterans. The Alliance is a multi-disciplinary group of professional and advocacy organizations that have joined forces to provide educational resources to medical and health care professionals, individuals diagnosed with PTSD and their loved ones, the general public and the media.

Lariam Action USA
Lariam Action is an information and support service for people who have questions about the effects of the antimalaria drug Lariam© (mefloquine). Lariam recently has become an issue because some U.S. troops in the Iraq war think it is linked to their severe behavioral changes.

Veterans and Families
"Let's get homecoming for veterans right this time," says the Web site of Veterans and Families, neatly summing up the organization's mission. A national non-profit community service and support organization, it is founded and directed by veterans, parents, grandparents, family members, employers, mental health professionals, academics and community leaders. It offers an online support group and links to recommended reading.

Patience Press
The wife of a Vietnam veteran created this site as a clearinghouse for PTSD information after her husband lived with the disease, undiagnosed, for fourteen years. Spouses will find a special section written with them in mind.

Disabled American Veterans
Formed in 1920 and chartered by Congress in 1932, the million-member DAV is the official voice of America's service-connected disabled veterans -- a strong, insistent voice that represents all of America's 2.1 million disabled veterans, their families and survivors. Its nationwide network of services -- free of charge to all veterans and members of their families -- is totally supported by membership dues and contributions from the American public. Not a government agency, the DAV's national organization receives no government funds.

Blinded Veterans Association
If you are a blind or visually impaired veteran, if you are a relative or a friend or if you just want to get involved, the BVA invites you to write, email or give them a call. The BVA is an organization specifically established to promote the welfare of blinded veterans and help them meet the challenges of blindness.

Paralyzed Veterans of America
The PVA Veterans Benefits Department provides assistance and representation before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, without charge, to veterans with spinal cord injury or dysfunction, and their eligible dependents. They also assist clients with applying for health care, as well as other benefits they may be entitled to.

Military Spouse Resource Center
This organization offers a large resource library for military spouse employment, education, relocation information and much more.

National Military Family Association
The NMFA's mission is to provide timely and useful information to military families. There is much to explore on this organization's Web site.

Society of Military Widows
The Society of Military Widows (SMW) was founded in 1968 by Theresa (Tess) Alexander to serve the interests of women whose husbands died while on active military duty, of a service-connected illness, or during disability or regular retirement from the armed forces. SMW is a nonprofit organization.

TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors)
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc. (TAPS) is a national nonprofit organization made up of, and providing services to, all those who have lost a loved one while serving in any branch of the Armed Forces -- Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, National Guard, Reserves, Service Academies or the Coast Guard. The heart of TAPS is a national military survivor peer support network. It also offers grief-counseling referral, case worker assistance and crisis information, all available to help families and military personnel cope and recover. The services are provided 24 hours a day, free of charge.

ESGR: Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve
Guardsmen and Reservists have the right to return to their civilian jobs following their service. Those who think their employers have acted unfairly -- for instance, if they believe they were fired because of their military service -- should contact the ESGR.


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posted march 1, 2005

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