Approximately 8 million Americans are living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a potentially debilitating condition that can develop following a traumatic experience. For example, approximately 67 percent of those exposed to mass violence have been shown to develop PTSD. However, this mental health condition may be triggered by a natural disaster, a personal assault, childhood abuse, or any other emotionally distressing event.
Although PTSD treatments are effective, sadly, most people who have PTSD do not get the treatment they need. That is why the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, SAMHSA, National Center for PTSD, and other key organizations would like you to join them this June to make a difference during PTSD Awareness Month.
PTSD Impacts Millions, But Help Is Available
Millions of Americans live with PTSD, representing only a small portion of those who have experienced trauma. In fact, up to 70 percent of all adults experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime, with some being more susceptible than others.
So why do some develop PTSD and others do not?
While studying soldiers, researchers have found that pre-war psychological vulnerabilities are as equally important as combat-related trauma in relation to the development and progression of PTSD. Their data shows that 98 percent of veterans who developed PTSD had experienced one or more traumatic events during combat. However, of the soldiers who experienced traumatic events in combat, only 31.6 percent developed PTSD. This suggests that other variables play a role, including a family history of substance abuse, childhood abuse, etc.
There are several risk factors associated with PTSD. Recently mental health experts have been concerned about the psychological toll that the current pandemic will have on front line workers. That is why the more aware we remain, the greater the support will be for those who need it most.
Unfortunately, a high percentage of those living with PTSD do not get the help they require — and while each individual case is unique, various treatment options are highly effective. As stated by the National Center for PTSD, approximately 53 out of 100 people who receive trauma-focused psychotherapy will no longer meet the criteria for PTSD.
The goal of PTSD Awareness Month is to spread the word that effective treatment options are available.
Learn more: Meditation and Yoga Can Reduce Symptoms of PTSD
What You Can Do
To help spread awareness, whether you are someone who has PTSD, has a loved one with PTSD, or you’re simply a mental health advocate, here are some options to get involved:
- Spread the word — Would you like to actively spread awareness? If so, you can find downloaded resources here, as well as the PTSD Awareness Month Calendar (offering 30 ways to raise PTSD awareness), outreach ideas, a sample proclamation, and more.
- Partner with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs —There are several steps you can take this month. Take the pledge, download the partner toolkit, and become more aware of the organizations that you can work with. Find out more here.
- Understand PTSD — Education is critical when it comes to overcoming the stigma of mental illness, which is why it’s so important to gain perspective on what PTSD is and how it impacts those affected. Learn more here.
- Get the Support You Need — If you or a loved one need support, now is the time to take action. There are a number of resources available for those in a crisis, in addition to resources for their family and friends. Here are some excellent coping and self-help strategies and for those in need, please seek counseling.
As Glenn Close said, “What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation” — which is exactly what PTSD Awareness Month is all about. Join the conversation today!