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June 27, 2023 is PTSD Awareness Day!

Updated: Feb 8

“Soldier’s heart”, “shell shock”, and “war neurosis” are all terms many have heard in association with veterans after their service. It wasn’t until 1980 when the term “PTSD” or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder appeared in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines this disorder as, “a mental health condition that can impact any person of any age after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Such traumatic events might include military combat, sexual or physical violence, natural disasters, or severe accidents” (Owens, 2022). Along with military veterans, any person can be affected by PTSD. The U.S Department of Veterans’ Affairs reported that 6 out of every 100 people will be affected by PTSD at some point in their lives. They also found that the disorder is twice as common among women than men. Those suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder may experience a variety of symptoms after a traumatic event including nightmares, feelings of numbness, anger, and isolation.

On June 27, 2010, PTSD Awareness Day was established in honor of Staff Sergeant, Joe Biel, a National Guard service member who experienced PTSD after two tours in Iraq and died by suicide in 2007 (Owens, 2022). 4 years later in 2014, the federal government designated the entire month of June as PTSD Awareness Month. Trauma can impact anyone’s life regardless of their background and it is important to bring awareness to this disorder and break the stigma around seeking help.

If you or someone you know may be suffering with PTSD there is a variety of ways that you can help:

  1. Talking it out: If you are suffering, be open with your feelings to someone you trust. If someone you know is suffering, listen to their feelings but don’t push them to share more than they are comfortable with.

  2. Recognize triggers: Identify places, people, noises, etc. that may trigger negative feelings regarding the event and understand how to address those situations.

  3. Seek professional help: Treatment is available. Recovery is possible. Speak with a professional to curate a treatment plan that meets your individual needs.

  4. Be supportive: If someone you know is experiencing PTSD, encourage their treatment and journey. Be a support system to them even if it means just lending a listening ear.

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