Call for culturally-aware crisis support for Indigenous peoples in B.C.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
In life, we experience many different types of events. Some are happy and positive; others may be distressing and even scary.Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that can occur after you have been through a traumatic event.
A traumatic event can be something that you see or that happens to you. During this event, you may feel like your life or the lives of others are in danger. You may feel afraid or not in control of what is happening in that moment.
What causes PTSD?
PTSD can develop when a person experiences trauma in a direct or indirect way. For example, a person who has experienced a life-threatening event may develop PTSD. But you don’t have to go through a traumatic event to have PTSD. Sometimes, learning that a traumatic event has happened to a loved one or someone you care about can cause PTSD.
Traumatic events can include:
Physical violence or sexual violence.
Serious injuries, such as from a car accident.
Natural disasters, such as a fire, tornado, flood, or earthquake.
Being sent to a combat zone; living in or near an area affected by conflict, such as war; or terrorist attacks.
Life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer.
Major life events that cause significant forms of grief and loss, including divorce, bankruptcy, loss of significant relationships or material goods.
Negative interactions with authority figures, such as law enforcement, social workers, or others.
Abuse experienced during childhood or as an adult.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
There are certain things you may experience after going through a traumatic event. You may start to feel upset by things that remind you of what happened or have nightmares, vivid memories and flashbacks. It could feel like the event is happening all over again. This may cause you to avoid things and places that remind you of the event.
A person experiencing PTSD may begin to feel down about themselves and the world, anxious or panicky, numb, irritated or jittery, and have trouble sleeping. You might feel like you are constantly in danger when you’re not and begin to withdraw from certain activities or people in your life.
The development of PTSD can change your behaviour and how you live. But there are things that can help you to feel better.
What can you do if you think you have PTSD?
If you believe you may be experiencing PTSD, it’s important to reach out for help. It’s never too late to get back to feeling better again. Your symptoms don't have to interfere with your everyday activities, work, and relationships. Early support and treatment may help reduce long-term symptoms.
Let a loved one or friend know what you are going through. Speak with your family doctor to figure out the best type of support for you. Counselling and/or medications could help you to manage symptoms.
If you're a veteran, contact Veterans Affairs Canada, toll-free at 1-800-268-7708, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for free and confidential mental health support.
If you have thoughts about hurting yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1, or go to a hospital emergency room.
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HealthLink BC (8-1-1)
Free, reliable non-emergency health information and advice available by phone (8-1-1), online, or mobile app.
Free, reliable non-emergency health information and advice available by phone, online, or mobile app.
Get the health information you need to make decisions for yourself and those you care for. Information is available anywhere in B.C., any time of the day or night, every day of the year, online or by phone.
Visit HealthLinkBC or call 8-1-1 to speak with a health service navigator, who can also connect you with a:
Registered nurse any time, every day of the year
Registered dietitian from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday
Qualified exercise professional from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday
Pharmacist from 5 pm to 9 am every day of the year
Translation services are available in more than 130 languages. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired, you can call 8-1-1 using Video Relay Services (VRS) or Teletypewriter (TTY) – learn more.
Emotional support, information and resources specific to mental health in British Columbia.
If you need support with your mental health, call to find help immediately.
The service is confidential, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is toll-free anywhere in British Columbia (no need to dial an area code), provided by the Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of British Columbia.
A confidential and free service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to Veterans, former RCMP members, their family members, or caregivers.
The VAC Assistance Service provides support for difficulties that affect your wellbeing. These could include: Work-related issues, health concerns, family and marital problems, psychological difficulties, bereavement, and other challenges.
You do not need to be receiving other services from Veterans Affairs Canada to receive this service.
There is no application form to request the VAC Assistance Service. A bilingual Canadian mental health professional is always ready to respond to a call.