National PTSD Awareness Month is observed in June and it ushers in an array of awareness campaigns run for the benefit of PTSD survivors. PTSD, which stands for post-traumatic stress disorder, occurs in people after they have experienced a particularly traumatic event like war, violent physical/sexual/verbal assault, accidents, and so forth. Symptoms include depression, anxiety, nightmares, paranoia, insomnia, disturbing thoughts, and much more. Many people recover from PTSD after a few days, weeks, or months. Yet, for others, the recovery road might mean one year or more. This mental disorder is highly treatable, but due to the lack of knowledge around it as well as the stigma attached to seeking mental help, many choose to ignore the problem and suffer through it.
In 2010, the U.S. Senate declared June 27 to be National PTSD Awareness Day. However, in 2014, it designated the whole month of June to be observed as National PTSD Awareness Month. This was a welcome move by many PTSD organizations and support groups as many felt that more awareness campaigns needed to be held for people to seek help when it came to PTSD. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, one of the most active forerunners in the fight against PTSD, has released a special June calendar that people can download. This special calendar features several activities (like raising awareness on social media through sharing PTSD helplines, articles, subscribing to YouTube channels, finding local PTSD therapists, etc.) aimed to increase awareness and support for PTSD survivors.
PTSD is not a newly recognized mental disorder. The disorder dates back to 50 B.C. when it was described in a poem by Hippocrates. He talks about the experiences of a soldier returning home after a battle. PTSD started gaining more attention after the wars between England and France when many people, civilians and soldiers alike, reported experiencing symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, intrusive and disturbing thoughts, and flashbacks. This continued throughout WW1 and WW2, with PTSD being named as ‘Shell Shock’ and ‘Battle Fatigue’, respectively. It was during the 1970s’ Vietnam War that the mental disorder was renamed PTSD. Earlier treatments related to electric shock therapy and other painful options. But today’s modern technology and extensive research have led to much better and effective treatments like group therapy, counseling, and antidepressants.
- 8% of the population will experience PTSD: The National Center for PTSD states that around 7–8% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetimes.
- Women are more likely PTSD sufferers: Women are twice more likely to suffer from PTSD than men due to a sexual assault/trauma event.
- ‘Big T’ and ‘Small t’ types of trauma: There are two types of trauma and they range in the severity of the causes and triggers: the ‘Big T’ is any type of trauma that has occurred due to a life-threatening situation like wars, natural disasters, physical assault, etc., while the ‘Small t’ is caused due to a disturbing event that is not life-threatening like divorce, abrupt relocation, financial woes, etc.
- Trembles are normal after trauma: Experts state that it is completely normal and healthy to experience shivers and trembling after a traumatic, stressful event as it is the body’s way to release all of the excess adrenaline.
- PTSD is not just from personal experience: Many people can develop PTSD simply because they heard or witnessed someone else going through a traumatic event.
How to Observe
- Stand with PTSD survivors: PTSD survivors need care, attention, and love. Research shows that people recover faster from illness if they have supporters in the shape of friends and/or family. Be there for them by being informed about their specific symptoms, directing them to professional help, or just lending them an ear.
- Learn about PTSD: Research about PTSD’s causes, symptoms, and treatments. You will be better equipped in helping people in the future or even yourself.
- Talk about PTSD: The main aim of National PTSD Awareness Month is to spread awareness about it. Talk to your friends and family, go to events related to it, and donate to PTSD organizations if you can afford to. But whatever you choose to do, don’t stop spreading information about the disorder.
Resources for Support
Even though PTSD treatments work, most people who have PTSD don’t get the help they need. Everyone with PTSD, whether they are Veterans or civilian survivors of assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events, needs to know that treatments really do work and can lead to a better quality of life.
|Resource *resources for those enrolled on Victra’s medical plans||Contact Information|
|Employee Assistance Program||1-800-538-3543 EAP Website|
|BCBS Medical Plans*||1-800-359-2422 BCBS Behavioral Health Resources|
|HealthJoy Teletherapy* Provides access to confidential virtual therapy that can address depression, anxiety, trauma and other mental health concerns.||Access via the HealthJoy app New users can download the HealthJoy app from the App Store or Google Play then visit https://mygroups.healthjoy.com/membership to activate your account.|
|Veteran Crisis Line||Call, chat online or text for support |
Veteran Crisis Line Website
24/7, confidential crisis support for Veterans and their loved ones. *You don’t have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care to connect.
The PTSD Coach app can help you learn about and manage symptoms that often occur after trauma. Features include:
- Reliable information on PTSD and treatments that work
- Tools for screening and tracking your symptoms
- Convenient, easy-to-use tools to help you handle stress symptoms
- Direct links to support and help
- Always with you when you need it