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PTSD and Student Veterans

What Is PTSD?

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after someone has experienced a traumatic event, such as combat or a physical or sexual assault. While more than 90% of returning Veterans have experienced a traumatic event in their lifetime, only 10–30% of them develop PTSD.

Did you know?

Most people who have experienced a traumatic event do not develop a mental health disorder.

Deployment-Related Stressors and Traumatic Events

Traumatic events are different from daily life stressors in at least two ways. First, traumatic events are often experienced as life-threatening, and most life stressors are not. Second, traumatic events often activate the hard-wired human fight or flight (or freeze) response. Such intense emotional reactions make traumatic events much more salient and memorable than other events. Research on deployment-related stress suggests that most service members have experienced chronic, daily life stressors as well as traumatic events.

Deployment Experiences (Handout)

Did you know?

Traumatic events are not the same as daily hassles or even major life events such as divorce or moving to a new home.

Learn More About PTSD

Download a booklet with information on PTSD, including information on getting help and answers to common questions about PTSD treatment. You can also obtain continuing education units by learning more about PTSD. The National Center for PTSD offers an array of free online courses.

Understanding PTSD

Learn about PTSD from Veterans who live with it every day. Hear their stories and find out how treatment turned their lives around at About Face.

PTSD signs, treatment options, resources, and self-help tools, can be found at

What Can I Do To Help?

There are many ways for the campus community to welcome and help student Veterans. Here are some helpful tips and resources for members of the faculty, staff, and administration as well as other students.

Research from the National Center for Veterans Studies suggests that symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and depression are significant among student Veterans, and thoughts about suicide are also a serious concern. VA has numerous resources to help Veterans manage emotional and mental health challenges. In addition, the Veterans and Military Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for Veterans who need support. Veterans Crisis Line responders are available by phone at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255, or chat online at

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