Golly, Miss Molly
A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD
(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)
PTSD Awareness Month
In June, we celebrate PTSD awareness month. In 2010, Congress made this designation, adding June 27 as PTSD awareness day. The VA is seeking Congressional support to declare June as National PTSD awareness month in perpetuity rather than requiring a resolution each year.
According to the VA, “The purpose of PTSD Awareness Month is to encourage everyone to raise public awareness of PTSD and its effective treatments. We can all help those affected by PTSD.”
The VA offers a bundle of services for the Veteran, as well as the family caregiver. These services are neatly packaged at the VA website. Expect to be awed by the list of services. As well, the website allows you to sign a pledge to help spread PTSD awareness (under the Materials and Tips tab).
For health-related support for Veterans and their families, click on this link. Here you will find links to connect you with these health-related services:
- Blind Rehabilitation
- Community Living Centers
- Compensated Work Therapy
- Dental Care Benefits
- Disease Prevention
- Fisher House
- Geriatrics and Extended Care
- Homeless Services
- Mental Health
- National Center for PTSD
- Patient Centered Care
- Prosthetics and Sensory Aids
- Readjustment Counseling (Vet Centers)
- Rural Health
- Smoking Cessation
- Substance Abuse Programs
- Veterans Crisis Line
- Weight Management
- Women Veterans Health Care
Whew! That is quite the list.
Do you think you May Have PTSD?
If you think you might have PTSD but are not sure, the VA website offers an on-line diagnostic tool you can use to help you decide when it is time to get help. It also offers resources and a step-by-step guide to get help. The tool is also available to family members and friends of the Veteran.
As a spouse of a 100 percent disabled Veteran, I know that the burden for getting help rests with the Veteran. No one can do it for you. The VA makes it easy to reach out and get help—even if you are not certain you need it. You risk nothing by reaching out and you stand to gain everything by taking that step.
This month, resolve to get help or get a Veteran connected with these services.
Here are a few links to find out more about PTSD awareness month:
- American Psychological Association
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- Washington Post
Molly’s Brush with PTSD
This week, Molly accompanied William to see his primary caregiver at the VA Hospital. His doctor fell in love with Molly. When I told her that Molly was experiencing a dog version of a panic attack in sympathy for William, she got down on the floor and got face-to-face with Molly. The doctor stroked her nose and talked sweetly to her. This served as good medicine for both Molly and William.
While you are not supposed to allow others to pet a service animal while working, we found it impossible to hold back the tide of Veterans, who wanted to pet her. Giving in, Molly helped more than a dozen Veterans and one doctor that day in relieving their stress. We watched as smiles spread across the faces of those in the waiting rooms we visited.
Both Molly and William napped the rest of the day when we got home. Drained and exhausted, they both rested peacefully, knowing that they made a difference in the lives of those they touched. Who would have thought that a fluff ball and a disabled Veteran with PTSD could have such an impact!
Post your Comments:
During the month of June, will you pledge to reach out to at least one Veteran and offer support, resources, or friendship? Please reply below.
Photo credits: pculbrethgraft
About the blogger
Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her granddaughter.