June is National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month, and the Steven A. Cohen Clinic for Military Families at Centerstone remains committed to helping veterans and military families impacted by this condition. This month is dedicated to PTSD awareness and access to treatment, with June 27th being National PTSD Awareness Day. According to the National Center for PTSD, 7-8% of the population will suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives.
For some veterans, PTSD is a harsh reality. Those deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, for example, have an 11-20% risk of developing PTSD. This number can also increase over time, as evidenced by the fact that Vietnam veterans have a 30% risk of developing PTSD.
Veterans develop PTSD in many ways. Combat-exposed veterans are at increased risk, as are veterans who experience military sexual trauma. A veteran may also develop symptoms after learning that a friend has been injured in the line of duty. These various ways in which veterans develop PTSD means that each veteran is affected differently. For National PTSD Awareness Month, it’s important to know that this condition comes in many different forms and affects different people in different ways.
Although PTSD can be commonly associated with military veterans, it can happen to anyone who experiences a frightening or traumatic event, such as a serious accident, physical or sexual assault, or natural disaster, as well as seeing someone killed. or seriously injured. Men, women, and children can suffer from PTSD due to trauma in their lives.
Events due to fights, accidents, disasters, and abuse are just a few of the causes of PSTD, although not everyone seeks treatment for the disorder. In fact, nearly one in four Americans – 23% – believe PTSD is not treatable. That’s according to the Cohen Veterans Network’s 2021 Mental Health and PTSD in America Survey.
There are, however, several treatment options that have been shown to be effective in treating PTSD. There are also resources available to help diagnose PTSD and get help. There is no shame in asking for help.
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How can I help you? First, educate yourself about PTSD to understand the condition. Education builds understanding of the issues faced by veterans and others affected by PTSD. If someone you care about is going through trauma, encourage them to seek help.
For veterans, National Guard, reservists, active duty members, and all military families, the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone in Jacksonville provides outpatient care that can treat PTSD and its effects. Many other organizations, like the VA, offer wonderful treatment and support that can change lives in positive ways. The key is to take the first brave step and ask for help.
Together we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by PTSD. No matter who you are or what you do for a living, you can help veterans with PTSD. All you have to do is be open to the opportunity to show that you care.
Jodie Bielman, Clinic Director, Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone, Jacksonville
This guest column is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of The Times-Union. We welcome a diversity of opinions.