Today, more than 7.7 million Americans have PTSD.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious condition that develops in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. The symptoms of PTSD can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health, work and relationships.
PTSD recovery can be received through community resources and PTSD support groups. Led by a UT Health East Texas employee, a local church in Tyler offers PTSD help to the public, specifically first responders and veterans.
“People can expect to feel safe, be seen and be heard. It is a place free from judgment, shame, criticism and expectations,” explained Brenda McBride, LCSW. McBride is the Employee Assistance Program Director for UT Health East Texas and leader of the Warrior PTSD Support Group.
“By definition, a warrior is a person who fights in battles and is known for having courage and skill,” McBride explained. “First responders and veterans fit this definition perfectly. Every day they face danger, uncertainty and the significant stress. It is our responsibility as a community to honor this service by giving these warriors the psychological first aid that they need to increase post-traumatic growth.”
McBride’s passion for supporting local heroes battling PTSD stems from her experience witnessing the negative impact of the anxiety disorder.
“PTSD support and awareness is important to me because I have witnessed first-hand the physical, emotional, relational and financial toll that trauma can cause in a person’s life,” McBride said.
Feeling connected with others who understand what it is to suffer from PTSD can be a powerful form of PTSD help, according to McBride.
“It is a space where first responders get a sense of belonging with others who have faced the same battles; whether emotional or psychological battles, physical battles, war or traumatic scene battles, addiction battles or relationship battles. We are the 911 for the 911.”
“We provide a space that allows for honesty and at times, raw-truth that only other warriors can comprehend. It is a space where first responders and veterans can bond with others in the midst of their struggle and healing.”
McBride and other healthcare professionals who attend Warrior PTSD Support Group meetings are trained in coping strategies and committed to creating supportive connections with individuals.
“Trauma is stored in the body as well as the mind, and the social workers at the PTSD group are trained in the recent research regarding strategies to promote integrative healing of the mind, body and spirit.”
PTSD support group meetings occur every Thursday (except holidays) at 11:00 a.m. at the Lone Star Church, located at 604 W. 4th Street in Tyler. Meetings generally last about an hour.
If you, a family member or friend is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, there is help. For questions or to learn more about the Warrior PTSD Support Group, please contact Brenda McBride at (903) 266-2211 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.