By Allison Kirschbaum

During June, there are a lot of national holidays and observances being celebrated, but one stands out because sometimes it's still taboo to talk about it. Observing PTSD Awareness Month allows us to break the stigma and help those who are in need. Those who suffer from it have experienced a very traumatic event in their life, like war, assault, violence, accidents, and more, thus affecting their life, relationships with others, and even their sleep. People who suffer from this disease can recover, but it will take time, and it depends on their coping mechanisms. June PTSD Awareness Month empowers people to understand that they can get help and that recovery is possible.

An Overview of National PTSD Awareness Month

PTSD was recognized as a mental condition in the 1980s and has always been associated with the military, who show post-war symptoms. While this mental illness is mainly associated with them, PTSD is also rampant in other communities, which is why there is a PTSD awareness month; it aims to raise awareness and support those who suffer from it.

This observance started in 2010 when the Senate declared June 27 as the official day for PTSD; this was created in memory of Staff Sergeant Joe Biel, National Guard, who committed suicide due to PTSD.

However, in 2014, it was changed to a whole month observance, naming it June PTSD Awareness Month. Many organizations and support groups welcomed the new changes as they created more campaigns to reach those in need. Even the Department of Veterans Affairs has its list of activities during PTSD Awareness Month. Currently, many organizations are getting involved in this advocacy.

Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

A traumatic experience can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental condition that you should be aware of and be able to identify in others. Keep in mind that its manifestation may occur months or years following the traumatic incident and that individual differences may exist in its impact.

  • A person who has PTSD may have intrusive thoughts; reliving the traumatic event through flashbacks or nightmares. They may also experience disturbing dreams or nightmares, intense emotional distress, and physical reactions to something that reminds them of the traumatic experience.
  • This National PTSD Awareness Month, you should be cautious if the person you know is showing avoidance that links to some places, thinking or talking, people, or activities that may remind them of something traumatic.
  • Negativity in thoughts or mood is one symptom you should look out for. It includes pessimistic ideas about the world, oneself, and other people. They also show hopelessness about the future, problems in keeping close relationships, isolating or detaching oneself from family and friends, being emotionally numb, and lacking interest in activities once enjoyed.
  • Lastly, there are changes in physical and emotional reactions, which include being easily startled, always on their toes for danger, alcohol abuse, easily irritated, can't concentrate, sudden anger outbursts, and sleep problems.

This PTSD Awareness Month, if you have one of the symptoms or if you know someone who is displaying this type of behavior, consider seeking professional help.

Significance of the National PTSD Awareness Month

This mental illness is not a rare disease; it is affecting around 12 million people in the U.S. alone. As such, proper education is one of the goals of June PTSD Awareness Month. This can include sharing symptoms on social media.

Raising awareness about PTSD can erase the stigma around it, as it may also help reduce the feeling of isolation and loneliness from individuals who are suffering from it. Plus, this month also has great potential in helping those displaying disease symptoms. Sharing information about it may also help to educate the family members and friends of people with PTSD so that they can become a strong support group.

Essential Notes on PTSD Awareness Month

Get professional help immediately if you have disturbing thoughts about a traumatic event you've experienced. Being treated as soon as possible can prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse.

However, if this is a serious matter, such as suicidal thoughts, get in touch with a close friend or a loved one. You can also get in touch with 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, which is available 24/7. Don't worry because their services are free and confidential.

During PTSD Awareness Month, always be vigilant for signs, as sometimes these are difficult to detect. Be a strong source of support if someone you know asks for your help. This mental illness can be treated, and it's not something that someone should be ashamed of.

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