These documentaries have been reviewed by the Public Education Committee of ISTSS, and may be helpful as a resource for individuals to learn more about traumatic stress and posttraumatic stress disorder. If there is a video that you would like to recommend for posting on this list, please contact us.
Note: ISTSS does not endorse nor is it responsible for content on these Web sites.
About Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Hope for Recovery: Understanding PTSD (10
This streaming video, intended for the general public, includes brief narratives told by real people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It also includes perspectives from mental health professionals who are PTSD experts. They review the symptoms and associated symptoms of PTSD, such as substance abuse, relationship stress, and physical complaints. There is an emphasis is on the fact that help is available and people can recover. This video also provides information on how loved ones can help.
Note: trauma survivors briefly describe their experiences.
Videos and Films about Refugees and Traumatic Stress
Lost Boys of
Sudan (87 minutes)
Cost: $26.95 (buy)
This 2003 documentary film follows the lives of a handful of orphaned Sudanese refugees from Dinka tribes. The young men are funded by the YMCA to leave their Refugee Camp and travel to the United States to live in Houston, Texas. There is a focus on the Lost Boys adjusting to life in the US, and how they have dealt with trauma and loss in their lives.
Note: there is a retelling of a traumatic event in one scene of this film.
The Flute Player (60 minutes)
Cost: $125 for educators (buy or view the trailer for free)
This one-hour documentary focuses on Cambodian genocide survivor Arn Chorn-Pond. Arn survived Cambodia's Khmer Rouge military regime as a child, doing whatever it took to save his own life amidst violence and trauma. The Flute Player follows Arn as he gives Cambodia's Master Musicians the opportunity to reengage in their lost art forms, and gives them a chance to tell their stories of surviving the Khmer Rouge. In the film, he reconciles with his past by attempting to uncover Cambodia's holocaust.
Note: there are recountings of violence under the Khmer Rouge and photographs of the Cambodian killing fields, which may be disturbing.
Children of War: A Video for Educators (30
This steaming video focuses on a theatrical performance of refugee children who tell their true stories of traumatic experiences in their war-torn countries of origin. Background is also given describing the prevalence of refugee children in American schools and the difficulties they face learning how to function socially in a new culture while trying to cope with traumatic experiences. The film identifies a few potential indicators that a child is experiencing traumatic stress reactions. There is also a resource guide for the video here.
Note: children describe violent traumatic events, which may be disturbing.
Videos and Films about Child Traumatic Stress
Finding Courage (50 minutes)
Cost: €1.50 for each viewing (streaming)
Finding Courage is the director's cut of the documentary 'Echoes of War.' It is a portrayal of the consequences of war for children. The documentary focuses on children from Afghanistan, Colombia, Sierra Leone and New York, who are inspired to tell their stories after hearing the story of a little elephant that loses his father in a jungle fire. The children share their stories, memories, nightmares and dreams regarding their respective traumas.
Note: there are some graphic retellings of violent and/or traumatic events.
It's OK to Remember (35 minutes)
This downloadable video produced by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is intended for parents, caregivers, and educators. It is a brief video featuring professionals and experts describing childhood traumatic grief and its treatment. Also, an example is given of trauma and treatment.
Note: the video may take several minutes to download.
The Courage to Remember (35 minutes)
This training video is aimed at mental health professionals who are seeking information about treating children with traumatic grief. It begins with description of childhood traumatic grief, and discusses pre-existing conditions that increase risk for developing the condition. There is also a review of treatment, including psychoeducation, affect expression, stress management skill development, cognitive affect regulation, trauma narrative, cognitive processing, etc.
Note: the video may take several minutes to download. Also, the video is accompanied by a written document (85 pages).
The Promise of Trauma-focused Therapy for Childhood
Sexual Abuse (27 minutes)
This streaming video is intended for parents of childhood sexual assault (CSA) survivors and individuals who refer children to treatment for CSA. The video provides information about the impact of CSA, and it emphasizes the importance of including parents/caretakers in treatment. A fictionalized story is presented with narration, pictures drawn by CSA survivors, and video of an actress portraying a CSA survivor.
Note: there is a verbal recount of a traumatic event, which may be mildly disturbing.
Videos and Films about Domestic Violence and Traumatic Stress
Cops, Kids, and Domestic Violence: Protecting Our
Future (21 minutes)
This steaming video is intended for law enforcement officers. It focuses on the impact of domestic violence (DV), law enforcement's involvement in DV disputes, and the effects DV on children in the home. The video provides law enforcement officers with practical information regarding communication with children about DV. It features commentary from law enforcement officers and mental health experts, and it contains a dramatized account of a DV incident involving children.
Violence (196 minutes)
Cost: $29.95 (buy)
This documentary film focuses on the women, men, and children housed in the largest battered women's shelter in Florida. The film features footage of intakes, daily activities, and classrooms, with footage of both DV survivors and the providers caring for these individuals. There are several scenes involving adults and children talking firsthand about DV and their own interpretations of it. Domestic Violence survivors also talk about their own ideas about what makes someone susceptible to DV and how to prevent their children from becoming victims.
Note: there are recountings of both domestic violence and sexual assault, which may be disturbing.
Videos and Films about Veterans and Traumatic Stress
The New Warrior: Combat Stress and Wellness
Perspectives for Veterans and Their Families (47 minutes)
This streaming educational video is aimed at veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is intended to help them readjust to life post-deployment. It is appropriate for both veterans and their family members. It features veterans describing their own problems with and concerns about readjusting to civilian life.
Note: there is some footage of combat engagement in this video.
Perspectives for Mental Health Care Providers (73
This streaming video is designed to help mental health care and other providers to prevent chronic mental health issues resulting from combat and other war-zone stress, promoting wellness in this returning group of veterans. The video is available in both a provider perspective and a separate video for veterans, active duty service members, and their families.
Boots: Episode 5 (38 minutes)
This streaming documentary-style video is a part of an online series funded by the Iraq Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund (IADIF), produced by Brave New Foundation, and hosted by Jan Bender, a veteran of the war in Iraq who served from 2004 to 2005. Episode 5 is a non-fiction autobiographical narrative of Domonicque Tatum, a veteran from Operation Iraqi Freedom. Domonicque returns from service and has serious readjustment difficulties. He discusses how he addresses his readjustment and homelessness with help from the VA and a veteran peer support group.
The Soldier's Heart (60 minutes)
This streaming video, produced by PBS Frontline, describes the psychological effects of Operation Iraqi Freedom on veterans and their families. The video also provides information on treatment successes and failures. The video features interviews with active duty service members at Camp Pendleton, San Diego, and with mental health experts both in and out of the military. Note: individuals interviewed describe combat situations and psychological symptoms.
Women Who Served in Our Military: Insights for
Interventions (41 minutes)
This streaming video reviews changes in the role of women in the U.S. military, briefly surveys the history of women in military service, describes the stressors of military service and their possible effects on women. The video features women with PTSD talking about their challenges, and presents the many trauma treatment options available to women veterans in VA medical facilities. There are testimonials by veterans who sought treatment that offer tangible proof that treatment does make a difference in bringing a person back to normalcy.
Note: there are non-graphic photos and clips of combat environments, and individuals interviewed briefly discuss sexual assault without descriptions of incidents.
War on Many Fronts: African American Veterans with
Perspectives for Treatment Providers (63 minutes)
This three-part streaming educational video, narrated by James Earl Jones, is intended for health providers, mental health care providers, social services workers, or any other professionals working with African American veterans. It is designed to help providers by increasing awareness of the cultural aspects of PTSD care when provided to African American veterans. The goal is to help providers and others understand the history and cultural issues of African Americans and how we can best serve these veterans. Health care professionals explain the best way to provide treatment while taking these cultural aspects into account. Veteran testimonials and interviews with health care professionals give a fuller understanding of how to treat African American veterans with PTSD.
Note: There is some brief footage of combat that may be disturbing.
Combat on Many Fronts: Latino Veterans and Family
(38 minutes, closed-captioned)
This streaming educational video, produced by the Cesar Chavez Foundation, is intended for Latino veterans. It reviews the history of Latino-American military service in the U.S. Armed Forces, and the symptoms and associated features of PTSD are described. Latino veterans provide testimonials about their struggles with PTSD and the benefits of treatment at the Veterans Affairs Hospital (VA).
Note: this film features some combat scenes that may be disturbing.
PTSD Among Asian-American and Pacific Islander Veterans:
Perspectives for Veterans and their Families (39 minutes)
This streaming video is targeted towards Asian American and Pacific Islander veterans and their families. A variety of Asian American and Pacific Islander veterans are interviewed about their experiences before receiving treatment, what it was like to go a Veterans Affairs Medical Center and receive help, and how they are doing now. Veterans discuss discrimination during or after service, and also cultural issues experienced by Asian American and Pacific Islander veterans with PTSD.
Note: there is some non-graphic combat imagery in this video.
Wounded Spirits, Ailing Hearts: PTSD and the Legacy of
War Among American Indian & Alaska Native Veterans (63
This streaming video is targeted towards American Indian and Alaskan Native veterans of the United States Armed Forces. It contains interviews with veterans and family members that provide personal examples of military experience and readjustment to civilian life. The individuals interviewed describe experiences and perceptions about problems that occur when seeking or obtaining assistance from the VA, the Indian Health Service (IHS), community and tribal resources.
Cost: $19.95 (buy)
This documentary focuses on a group of female Army support soldiers who became the first women in American history to be sent into direct ground combat. The story is told through interviews, journals, and archival footage. It offers perspective on the training of female soldiers, how they interact to defuse tension with local civilians and women in Iraq, as well as their re-adjustment as female combat veterans.
Note: there is some footage of combat in Iraq that may be disturbing.
Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience
Cost: $24.99 (buy)
This documentary film is part of a project created by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to gather the writing of servicemen and women and their families who have participated in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The NEA brought distinguished writers to conduct writing workshops at 25 domestic and overseas military installations from 2004 to 2005. Through interviews and dramatic readings, the film examines the experiences of the men and women who are serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Note: there is some non-graphic combat imagery in this video.