Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month
Since 2010, June has been observed in the United States as “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month”. The purpose of this observance is to raise awareness about PTSD, provide education and resources, and reduce the stigma surrounding the condition.
PTSD can be caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Trauma is defined as an extremely distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope.
PTSD can affect individuals of all ages, including children and adolescents. In the U.S., the rates of PTSD are higher among certain populations, such as military veterans who have experienced combat, survivors of sexual assault or interpersonal violence, first responders, and individuals from marginalized or disadvantaged communities. According to the National Center for PTSD, about 6 of every 10 men and 5 of every 10 women experience at least one trauma in their lives.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), it is estimated that approximately 9 million adults experience PTSD in the U.S. in any given year. It’s important to note that these statistics are based on diagnosed cases of PTSD and may not account for individuals who have not sought professional help or have not received a formal diagnosis.
While not everyone who experiences a traumatic event develops PTSD, it most commonly occurs in individuals who have experienced events such as:
Military combat: Soldiers who have been involved in combat situations, witnessed violence, or endured life-threatening experiences during their service may develop PTSD. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reports that approximately 11-20% of veterans who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have experienced PTSD.
Physical or sexual assault: Survivors of rape, sexual abuse, physical assault, or domestic violence can develop PTSD. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), around 94% of women who experience PTSD after sexual assault meet the diagnostic criteria for the disorder during the two weeks following the assault.
Natural disasters: People who have experienced or witnessed natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, or wildfires may develop PTSD.
Serious accidents: Individuals who have been in severe accidents, such as car crashes, plane crashes, or industrial accidents, can develop PTSD.
Childhood trauma: Traumatic experiences during childhood, such as abuse, neglect, or witnessing violence, can contribute to the development of PTSD later in life.
Medical trauma: Patients who have undergone traumatic medical procedures, received a life-threatening diagnosis, or experienced prolonged hospitalization may develop PTSD.
Severity and duration of PTSD symptoms can vary from person to person. During PTSD Awareness Month, numerous organizations, government agencies, and mental health professionals organize events, educational programs, and campaigns to educate the public about PTSD, its symptoms, and available treatments. The goal is to encourage individuals to seek help, provide support to those affected, and promote understanding and compassion for those living with PTSD.
The Woolf Group (TWG) team has come alongside countless individuals who have experienced traumatic events in addition to the organizations who work tirelessly to support them and shed light on the struggles faced by individuals with PTSD. We stand in solidarity with the victims and the caregivers who aim to bring attention to the mental health challenges faced by individuals who have experienced traumatic events and to emphasize the importance of seeking help and support.
By Cindy Johnson, TWG Research Specialist & Strategy Consultant