The month of June has been designated PTSD Awareness Month and today, June 27th is the National PTSD Awareness Day. We’re all aware of the impact PTSD has not just on our brave men and women who serve but the impact it can have on the soldier’s family and loved ones. We take this day to promote PTSD and to let everyone know that there are resources for those who have experienced trauma on the battlefield.
Each individual’s brain reacts differently to traumatic events. Sometimes they’re bottled up or otherwise “compartmentalized” or so the individual believes. But ignoring PTSD and its signs means perhaps keeping a treatable condition from relief or getting worse. There is help and support services available to anyone who reaches out and to realize it’s an issue that shouldn’t be hidden or made to feel guilty about.
Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event develops PTSD, in fact studies indicate that just 20 percent of those develop PTSD. There are certain symptoms that may be written off as just a lingering emotional event but if there are constant memories of the event, trouble sleeping at night or frequent anxiety then PTSD may be the cause.
If you think you may have PTSD or perhaps you suspect someone might be suffering from PTSD, schedule an appointment to speak with your doctor and visit with a mental health professional. According to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, many soldiers are fearful of getting help because:
• 20 percent say they won’t get help because they’re afraid of what others might think
• 33 percent say that wouldn’t want anyone to know they were in therapy, and
• 60 percent of returning soldiers coming home from Iraq said they wouldn’t get mental help because they could be seen as weak or hurt their career
It’s time to erase the stigma of PTSD and realize that it’s a treatable condition but left unguarded could lead to other physical and mental problems. There’s nothing weak about asking for help. And on this PTSD Awareness Day, we both salute our soldiers and encourage anyone who thinks PTSD might be a problem to reach out. Help is waiting.