In 1989 the Department of Veterans Affairs established the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with the mission to "advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's veterans through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders." The center does not provide direct clinical care, but instead strives to be the clearinghouse for all information and activity related to PTSD. With seven different research locations from Vermont to Hawaii, the center's easy-to-use Web site provides a single point of access to an important educational resource on PTSD.
Initially designed to provide information related to PTSD in veterans, the center now also covers nonmilitary-related post-traumatic stress syndromes, from accidents and anniversary reactions to war and women. Each disorder includes several fact sheets with excellent overviews and additional links that lead to further fact sheets on related disorders. In addition, from the initial fact sheet for each of the major disorders, the link to published material provides access to research articles published in the center's print and open access journals.
The extensive and highly informative "Assessment" section is designed to provide clinicians and researchers with descriptive, reference, and contact information about child and adult measures of trauma exposure and responses. "Assessment" also offers a useful link for laypeople, providing information on understanding PTSD evaluation results.
The center has an extensive physical print collection in its Resource Center, located in Vermont, and more than 25,000 items, including a copy of every publication indexed in the center's online catalog, PILOTS. Unfortunately, the collection is non-circulating and unavailable through interlibrary loan.
"Documents" offers a very long list of full-text PDF documents of articles published in the center's various journals and articles published by commercial publishers. It is not easy to locate information from this list unless the last name of the article's first author is known. It is, however, possible to use PILOTS to find a citation and then check in "Documents" to see if it is included in this part of the Web site.
The National Center for PTSD is a well-organized site with multiple levels of information, making it useful not only for the general public but also for many disciplines within the university community interested in this aspect of mental health.
University of Kansas