PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) Awareness Day, a day devoted to encouraging open discussion about PTSD, its causes, symptoms and about getting help, is observed Thursday, June 27. Much of what is done to observe PTSD Awareness Day involves encouraging open talk about PTSD, its causes, symptoms, and most importantly, getting help. PTSD is often misunderstood by those with no firsthand experience with the condition or those who suffer from it.
The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) has resources that can help.
A free, online screening for individuals who are troubled by shocking, painful events that have occurred in their lives is available on the CSB website. Results are confidential. The screenings take less than five minutes and results include resources, referral information, and articles that can help address PTSD.
While anyone can experience PTSD, many veterans struggle with substance use disorders, mental health conditions (such as PTSD), and trauma. These issues can be exacerbated by the loss of structure and camaraderie found in the military, and research continues to link substance use disorders with service-related mental illness. Such conditions increase the likelihood of involvement with the justice system. In fact, 81% of justice-involved veterans had a substance use disorder prior to incarceration, and 25% were identified as mentally ill.
Through collaborative efforts, Fairfax County is trying to improve outcomes for veterans who have become involved with the criminal justice system.
The Fairfax Veterans Treatment Docket (VTD), one of 334 across the country, is an integral part of Fairfax County's comprehensive Diversion First initiative, which aims to improve outcomes and offer alternatives to incarceration for people with mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders (SUD) who come into contact with the justice system.
More than 76,000 veterans reside in Fairfax County (U.S. Census Bureau, 2018). Veterans face unique needs and challenges, as it is estimated that 75% of veterans have substance use treatment needs and many are diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders, including PTSD, TBI and/or have experienced military sexual trauma. Currently, it is estimated that 22 veterans die by suicide each day. These unique challenges have caused many veterans to become entangled in the criminal justice system.
The VTD program provides intensive treatment and supervision to justice-involved veterans to address the criminogenic risk and treatment needs in an effort reduce recidivism rates and to enhance veterans' ability to engage in a meaningful and productive life. Learn more about Fairfax County’s Veterans Court Docket.
For more information about general CSB services, call CSB Entry & Referral at 703-383-8500, TTY 711, or come directly to the Merrifield Center for a screening, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Emergency mental health services are available 24/7 by calling 703-573-5679, TTY 711, or come directly to the Merrifield Center's lower level. The Fairfax Detoxification Center is also available 24/7 at 703-502-7000, TTY 703-322-9080.
Contact for news media inquiries: Lucy Caldwell, Communications Director, 703-324-7006 (office), 703-856-5210 (cell).