27 JUNE Raising the Awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder & Helping our Veterans Heal
The month of June has been designated as is PTSD Awareness Month, with PTSD Awareness Day to be observed on June 27th. The main objectives of PTSD Awareness Day are to encourage an open dialogue about PTSD, including its causes, symptoms, and most importantly, getting people the help they need for the condition. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is still not fully understood by many, and PTSD Awareness Day is intended to help change that.
There are many resources that have been set up to help educate and inform military members and their families about the condition. The Department of Defense publishes circulars, articles, and other materials to help raise awareness. While The Department of Veterans Affairs official site has several pages dedicated to PTSD (here). When military members retire or separate from the service, they fill out VA claim forms for service-connected injuries, illnesses, or disabilities. Included in those documents is an option to be evaluated for PTSD as a part of the VA claims process. They offer evidence-based treatments for PTSD that have helped many Veterans.
According to The National Center for PTSD, it’s normal for Veterans to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. If difficulties persist, and performing normal daily activities, such as: going to work, attending social activities, or spending time with people you care about lasts longer than a few months, you may be experiencing PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time.
It is natural to want to avoid thinking about or feeling emotions about a stressful event. But when the level of avoidance is extreme, or when it’s the only way you can cope, that can end up impeding your emotional recovery and healing. Evidence suggests that opening up, and sharing your experience helps. You don’t have to go into much detail, every little bit counts. Some people might not understand, but they don’t have to, it’s more about giving yourself the permission to tell your story. That’s where the healing begins.
Effects of PTSD on families
PTSD can make somebody hard to live with. Living with someone who is easily startled, has nightmares, and/or avoids social situations can take a toll on the most caring family members. If you believe that you or a family member could be struggling with PTSD, schedule an appointment with one of our providers or seek out the resources made available by the The Department of Veterans Affairs. Educating yourself, and others, will help all of us to find a way to navigate these waters together. Please understand that for many, asking for help is not easy, so please be patient and understanding. The road to recovery is not always easy, but it helps to not walk it alone.
If you or a loved one is struggling, call our toll-free number 888-401-8988 to find a provider near you or call the Veteran Crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255, press “1” if you are a Veteran.