September is National Service Dog Month, a time marked to pay tribute to the animals who support Americans with special training to help with people dealing with vision impairment, medical issues, mental health, and many other areas.

service dog is trained for as long as two years at an expense that can reach as high as $40,000. The training for service dogs varies depending on the emphasis. Medical alert dogs will have different skill sets than those who assist people with unrelated medical issues.

There is no single breed of preferred service dog. They can be large or small, they can be especially bred for service or they can be sourced as rescue dogs. There are dogs trained to help the visually impaired, those with PTSD, and much more.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur when an individual experiences a traumatic event like combat, military sexual trauma, violence, and terrorism. It is normal for most people to have a stress reaction after a traumatic experience. But, if the reaction doesn’t dissipate or begins to disrupt daily life, then you may have PTSD. According to the National Center for PTSD, eight out of every 100 veterans have PTSD.

If you or a fellow comrade is struggling with PTSD, here are nine organizations that can help:
Military OneSource
National Alliance on Mental Illness
PTSD United
Give an Hour
BraveHeart: Welcome Back Veterans Southeast Initiative
PTSD Foundation of America
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
National Resource Directory

Suffering from PTSD can be a lonely and isolating experience. The first step to getting well and learning how to manage your symptoms is to ask for help. There is absolutely no shame in admitting that you may not be able to cope by yourself. Know that you are not alone and use these resources to contact professionals who are ready to help.