Steps to Getting Help
Many time we receive an email or telephone call from a family or person desperate to find help for them self or a loved one. Below are some tips and advice that we hope can assist you because many times the situation requires fast and immediate action!
If you think or suspect someone is suicidal you need to act quickly! Calling that person's local law enforcement is one thing you can do and request a health and welfare check for the person you are concerned about. When doing this please make sure that you explain to law enforcement that the person you are concerned about might be in danger and if you know they are suffering from PTSD let them know this as well. Your loved one will not be arrested, but they will have law enforcement check as to your loved ones state of mind and whether they are a danger to them self or others.
If someone you love is out of control and is presenting them self to be a danger to them self or others and refuses to go for help, you maybe able to seek a court ordered mental health evaluation requiring them to be evaluated or hospitalized. If you are concerned that someone with PTSD may be a danger to him/ herself or someone else please contact your local court house, community mental health center or your state mental health agency.
Free mental health services are available, but limited. Call your local state mental health office and see if they have anything available in your area. Another option is a program we know and trust called Give an Hour. Give an Hour offers free mental health services for our military, veterans and families. They understand that individuals who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan--and their families--may need help dealing with the effects of wartime service. They want to help you heal and offer a variety of mental health services to address your needs. Go to their website http://www.giveanhour.org/ and do a search for someone in your local area under the visitors link.
Make a detailed written or typed time line of your situation and all you have done to get help. This is your story so make sure you include any and all information concerning your situation. DO NOT Embellish or exaggerate because all your facts and stories will be checked and verified and you do not want anything to distract from what is actually going on in your situation. Include things like; when you or your loved one served, where, unit names, treatment or diagnosis's, medications, awards or recognition's, Names of who you have spoken with, what they have said. Lastly a detailed account of what your problem is. This will help you to not have to keep repeating yourself over and over and will make it easier for us or others to assist you. Always take notes when speaking to others about your case and keep them! They can prove invaluable later on if there is any question as to what someone has said. Keep any and all email correspondence!
If you are in legal trouble there are things you can do. First you must find an attorney that is well versed in military law! Even better is someone with experience and success as well in not only military law but cases concerning PTSD or mental health issues. We understand that each case is going to have different circumstances but do not put off speaking with a good attorney! Most consults are free. Check with your local state bar or call your local court house and get a list of names. Of course that is not enough so this link I think gives some great tips, advice and information to use as a guide line: Finding An Attorney
Contact your local media! The reason we say this is by turning the bright light of public opinion and the media on your problem will definitely motivate any command or the VA to take you seriously and take action. Believe us they will react, whether good or bad that will depend on a lot of factors, but this is what you want, action. Do not focus on the big name news media to start...begin with your small town local papers and TV news!
Another avenue that we have found sometimes helps but not always, is by contacting your state senator or the senator or the state this situation is located in. They may require you to fill out releases, but they can also be a great go between in resolving your situation. If you are having an issue with the VA, you can always file a complaint with the VA OIG, this is a link for you to do so, but read their FAQ before filing a complaint. Again, the steps you take and depending on your situation may require fast action and you to be proactive not inactive. Do not give up. You may have to advocate for yourself or someone else but sometimes this is exactly what you have to do. Lastly, these are just a few steps we felt were the most important. Feel free to contact us if you need assistance in this. We have helped other families but can not promise anyone what the outcome may be. That again is based on many factors, but we will do what ever we can to help or connect you with the right people that can assist as well. Never give up the faith because you are not alone and most assuredly your situation is not as unusual as you may think, the circustances may be different but the basic problem is not.