PTSD Awareness Month
PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a mental health condition that veterans and non-veterans alike can develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event. June is PTSD awareness month and was formed to raise awareness for the issues related to PTSD and reduce the stigma of seeking proper treatment. Initially, the condition wasn’t as understood by the health and military community as it is today. “Shell shock” or “combat shock” were earlier efforts to understand symptoms. But in 1980, PTSD was officially recognized as a mental health issue by the American Psychiatric Association.
There isn’t always a tell-tale sign from someone who is struggling with mental health issues. Almost everyone will experience different emotions after trauma or a significant event, however, those who do have PTSD will usually exhibit symptoms within 3 months of the traumatic incident. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, to be diagnosed, an adult must experience symptoms such as being easily startled or tense, flashbacks, avoidance of people or places, and negative thoughts about oneself and/or distorted feelings (guilt, shame) for at least one month. While these symptoms can be nonspecific, some of the more specific problems that military members face are hypervigilance (a state of increased awareness) or hyperarousal (when a person’s body kicks into high alert as a result of recalling trauma).
Observance of PTSD Awareness Month
A big part of observing PTSD Awareness Month is encouraging conversations about PTSD, why it’s caused, and how to identify it. There are effective ways to treat PTSD, but some people still are not getting the help they need. Helping to raise awareness about PTSD is so important because it lets people know that there are extremely successful treatments possible. Here are some tools that can help.
PTSD Family Coach App: The app can help you learn about PTSD, how to take care of yourself, and how to manage your relationship with your loved one or children. PTSD Family Coach also has information on how to help your loved one get the treatment they deserve.
PE Coach App: PE Coach is an evidence-based psychotherapy for PTSD that helps you decrease distress about your trauma. PE Coach is a mobile application (mobile app) for patients to use with their therapists during PE therapy for PTSD.
Veterans Crisis Hotline: This hotline provides free, confidential support from qualified and caring responders, some of them are even veterans themselves.
Those who are experiencing symptoms of PTSD should seek assistance immediately. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers counseling, therapy, and other resources to help create a care routine that will help those who are silently suffering. Veterans Families United also has a list of helpful resources available on their website.
For ways to get involved, visit this link for a calendar of daily activities you can do to help spread the word and raise awareness for PTSD.