Although PTSD has become recognized as a potentially preventable condition, early interventions to alleviate normal stress reactions and link exposed individuals to treatment remain to be systematically implemented. Recent investigations suggest 20-40% of acutely injured patients present with high PTSD symptoms, yet a review indicates only 7% of level I and II trauma centers implement screening procedures for PTSD. Epidemiologic data indicates it may take years for trauma-exposed individuals to seek treatment and that health problems and functional impairments often accompany the disorder, translating into significant financial burdens on healthcare systems. This behavioral health care delivery gap places trauma centers in a unique position to advance the evidence base for effective PTSD treatments via detection and early intervention.

This randomized controlled study will provide a brief preventive PTSD intervention to improve healthcare delivery and impact health outcomes. The study will evaluate the effectiveness of a brief preventive intervention (BPI) with trauma patients at the University Medical Center Brackenridge (UMCB) who screen at-risk for developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

This study can improve the delivery and efficiency of behavioral health care by 1) assessing the prevalence of patients at-risk for PTSD, 2) delivering a brief preventive intervention to those screening positive and by 3) determining the effectiveness of the innovative intervention, which is expected to positively affect patient health and functioning outcomes. Another aim of this study is to analyze disparities of health outcomes, treatment seeking-behaviors and barriers to care among study participants through analysis of study specific and trauma registry data.