Tuesday , 19 November 2019

PTSD Awareness Day – Reminding People to Be Informed and Get Help

From the DCoE blog

June 27 is the nation’s official day to focus attention on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Last year, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution naming June 27 National Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day to promote dialogue about this prevalent condition and help people realize that there are resources and effective treatments available to address PTSD.

U.S. Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), authored the resolution and at the time said that the wounds of PTSD may not be visible but they are still real. He was inspired by the efforts of the North Dakota Army National Guard to bring attention to the disorder and its effect on one of its unit members, Staff Sgt. Joe Biel, who sadly, took his own life following two tours in Iraq. June 27 was Biel’s birthday.

Conrad saw the need to press for more to be done to educate individuals about the medically-diagnosed disorder and direct them to resources and treatments. Having a national day of awareness is a step in that direction.

Behind all the attention is the number of service members diagnosed with PTSD, having been exposed to traumatic events during multiple and extended deployments. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), PTSD occurs in about 11 to 20 out of 100 veterans of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. Military leaders are greatly concerned about the incidence of veterans diagnosed with PTSD and moved to create a system of frontline care for service members, including pre- and post-deployment training in stress management and access to counseling.

“It’s important to make sure people are aware, educated and that they look for it in themselves, their friends and fellow service members,” said Navy Capt. Paul S. Hammer, director of Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) during last month’s media roundtable. “Sometimes reaching out and talking to someone can put that person on the right path to get the help [they need],” he said.

As more is learned about PTSD, more is known about how it affects people who live with and care for the person diagnosed with PTSD, such as family and friends. These individuals not only deal with behavioral changes in their loved one, but may experience emotional or psychological concerns themselves from the stress of exposure to those behaviors.

During June, VA’s National Center for PTSD is promoting helpful ways to become informed about PTSD and get others to focus on the issue. On the center’s website, you’ll find resources for military personnel,providers and families.

More help is now available through mobile applications, such as the PTSD Coach. VA’s National Center for PTSD recently teamed up with National Center for Telehealth and Technology to develop this app to help individuals manage PTSD symptoms. Also, check out Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, a DCoE component center, for comprehensive resources on the disorder.

To stay abreast of the latest developments in PTSD research and treatment, sign up for monthly updates from the National Center for PTSD and updates from DCoE.