When we think about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), we think about war time veterans and the traumas they experienced on the battlefield. But PTSD encompasses a much broader range of trauma and affects more than just veterans. Survivors of rape, molestation and domestic violence often suffer from PTSD, but trauma also happens when we are first exposed to anger, frustration, and impatience as children by our parents. Trauma can also occur in the womb if the mother and father carry stress among other things.

Navajo tradition and culture teach us how to live without the negativity and stress to prevent it from being passed down to the children. When trauma gets passed down from generation to generation it’s called intergenerational trauma. Trauma will lead to feelings of severe stress, anger and resentment that will affect relationships with family and friends to the point of verbal arguments, physical altercations and eventually the dissolve. Trauma that goes untreated can also lead to substance abuse and other behavioral problems.

The Division of Behavioral & Mental Health Services (DBMHS) plays an important role in the native communities in and around the Navajo Nation in providing the needed treatment. Often using traditional and cultural teachings along with prayers and ceremony, DBMHS traditional practitioners help clients better understand themselves and discover why they do things they don’t want to do. They emphasis the importance of clanship and kinship, so that an individual knows he/she is connected to the community and that they are not alone.

DBMHS also provides modern western treatment for PTSD and substance abuse and addiction at its various treatment centers. DBMHS is proud to also provide faith-based counseling for the native Christian individuals on the Navajo Nation. Though a comprehensive approach, DBMHS case managers develop effective and culturally appropriate treatment plans for individuals to overcome and heal from various traumas. If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD, do not hesitate to contact DBMHS to find help and resources.