Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Whether you just returned from a deployment or have been home for 40 years, it’s never too late to get help for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Getting counseling or treatment can help you manage your symptoms and keep them from getting worse.
Our National Center for PTSD is the world leader in PTSD research, education, and treatment. Find out how to access PTSD health services through VA.
Are you in crisis? You have options.
- Call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, then press 1 to talk to someone now.
- Get private support online with the confidential Veterans Chat.
- Text 838255 to get help right away.
- Call 911.
- Go to the nearest emergency room.
What services does VA provide for PTSD?
We have almost 200 PTSD treatment programs across the country that offer:
- 1-to-1 mental health assessment and testing to figure out if you have PTSD
- Medicine proven to work for treating PTSD
- 1-to-1 psychotherapy (also called talk therapy). This includes proven methods like Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT).
- 1-to-1 family therapy
- Group therapy for special needs, like anger or stress management or combat support
- Group therapy for Veterans who served in certain combat zones or who’ve been through similar traumas
We also offer other forms of treatment and support:
- PTSD specialists provide regular outpatient care to Veterans with PTSD in each VA medical center across the U.S.
- Special residential (live-in) or inpatient care programs—found in each region of the U.S.—help Veterans with severe PTSD symptoms who have trouble doing normal daily activities (like going to work).
- Providers offer added PTSD care in some of our large community-based outpatient clinics.
Please note: If you don’t live near a VA medical center or clinic, our mental health providers can counsel you over the phone (called telemental health care). Or, we can refer you to a Vet Center or health care provider near you.
How do I access VA services for PTSD?
The VA health care program covers PTSD health services. To access these services, first apply for VA health care. Apply for health care.
Once you’ve signed up:
- If you have a VA primary care provider, talk to them about your concerns. Your provider can help you figure out if you have PTSD—and can offer treatment and support as needed.
- If you don’t have a VA primary care provider or have never been seen in a VA hospital or clinic:
What if I don’t have VA health benefits?
You may still be able to get care:
- If you’ve served in a combat zone, get free private counseling, alcohol and drug assessment, and other support at one of our 300 community Vet Centers. Find a Vet Center near you.
- If you’re homeless or at risk of becoming homeless:
- Visit our website to learn about VA programs for Veterans who are homeless. Learn about our homelessness programs.
- Contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838) for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A trained VA counselor will offer information about VA homeless programs, health care, and other services in your area. The call is free and confidential (private).
- Call or visit your local VA Community Resource and Referral Center. Even if you don’t qualify for VA health care, our staff can help you find non-VA resources you may qualify for in your community. Find your local Community Resource and Referral Center.
Can I get disability compensation (monthly payments) or other benefits from VA if I think I have PTSD linked to military service?
If you have symptoms of PTSD and suffered a serious injury, personal trauma, sexual trauma, or were threatened with injury, sexual assault, or death while serving in the military, you may be able to get disability compensation or benefits. Find out if you can get disability benefits.
Where can I find more information and support?
- See our “Understanding PTSD and PTSD Treatment” booklet for more about PTSD symptoms and treatment. Read the booklet.
- Go to our National Center for PTSD website for information about PTSD treatment and support. Visit the National Center for PTSD.
- Go to these websites for resources and stories of Veterans who’ve overcome PTSD and other mental health challenges:
- Use our PTSD Coach Online to help manage stress. Visit PTSD Coach Online.
- See our Self-Help Resources guide for books, web resources, and mobile applications recommended by VA experts. Get self-help resources.
- Call the VA general information hotline at 1-800-827-1000.