Help People With PTSD Thrive
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Sponsor: The Veterans Site
Pledge to support those who live with the invisible scars of PTSD. Make a difference in someone's life!
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Those living with PTSD may find those feelings of fear, stress and fright, continue to make life difficult even when they are not in danger1.
To bring attention to this issue, the United States Senate designated June 27 as National PTSD Awareness Day and The National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder has designated June as PTSD Awareness Month, representing an opportunity to talk with family and friends about this disorder and learn about how it affects the people around us2.
Many people suffer silently with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), particularly our service members.
An estimated 7.8% of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, while about 30% of service members who have spent time in war zones experience PTSD3.
Helping military members cope with everyday stressors or take control of their mental health before, during and after deployment is especially important.
"Asking for help is very hard because some people don't want others to know that they are getting treatment or going to a program to solve their mental and emotional issues," says Jaime Cruz, Service to the Armed Forces specialist for the Red Cross South Florida Region4. "There is a lot of stigma and taboos around this because it can be perceived as a sign of weakness and prevent further military career development if not addressed properly."
There are currently about 8 million people in the United States with PTSD, but only about 50% of PTSD sufferers seek treatment5.
During PTSD Awareness Month, and throughout the entire year, you can help raise awareness about the many different PTSD treatment options. Sign the PTSD Awareness Pledge and help make a difference!
- National Institutes of Mental Health, "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder."
- Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, 115th Congress (26 June 2017), "S.Res.203 - A resolution designating the month of June 2017, as "National Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month" and June 27, 2017, as 'National Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Day.'"
- PTSD Foundation of America, "Post-Traumatic Stress Defined."
- American Red Cross (25 June 2020), "PTSD Awareness Day: Talking About a Silent Disorder."
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "PTSD: National Center for PTSD."
As a supporter of all our men and women in uniform, and many others who have experienced an event leading to the invisible scars of Post-Traumatic Stress, I pledge to advocate for more resources to help those living with PTSD, and support them by:
- Listening - Sometimes the best support is someone who listens, and people with PTSD may feel the need to talk about hard experiences to work through them.
- Providing social support - Don't pressure someone into talking or offer unsolicited advice. Find an activity you both enjoy and let them lead the way to their comfort.
- Providing trust - Sticking to a routine while continuing to make future plans is an effective way to build trust in any relationship.
- Being considerate of triggers - Some people with PTSD find their symptoms are exacerbated by certain environments or sounds. Taking care to understand and minimize these stressors can make life more comfortable.
- Taking care of yourself - Overextending ourselves can lead to burnout, which isn't helpful to anyone. Take time to recharge, set healthy boundaries, and remember to rely on your own support system, as well.
- Support treatment - There are currently about 8 million people in the United States with PTSD. There are also PTSD treatments that work, but many people who live with PTSD don't seek help. The following organizations and resources that can help both individuals and professionals discover ways to identify and manage PTSD symptoms:
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder - The American Psychological Association provides news articles, books and other timely resources for individuals and families coping with PTSD.
- The waking wounded - Addressing injured soldiers' sleep issues helps improve their rehabilitation, psychologists find.
- More PTSD among homeless vets - Homeless Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are more likely to be haunted by PTSD than homeless vets of previous eras.
- Helping veterans and their families - Government agencies and community organizations must build bridges to assist service members, veterans and their families, said APA members at a 2012 congressional hearing.
- Working Together to Raise PTSD Awareness - The National Center for PTSD is a VA center that promotes awareness of PTSD and effective treatments throughout the year. The organization provides mobile apps, videos, printed materials and online tools to educate and assist veterans, the general public and professionals about PTSD.