Recognizing the Signs and Seeking Help During National PTSD Awareness Month

June is National PTSD Awareness Month, a time dedicated to increasing awareness about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), recognizing the signs, and encouraging those affected to seek help.  PTSD can affect anyone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, including military personnel, first responders, and civilians.

Recognizing the Signs of PTSD

PTSD manifests in various ways, and the signs can differ from person to person. Here are some common symptoms to watch for:

  1. Intrusive Thoughts:
  • Recurrent, unwanted memories of the traumatic event
  • Nightmares or flashbacks where the event is relived.


  1. Avoidance:
  • Avoiding places, people, or activities that remind them of the trauma.
  • Refusing to talk about the traumatic event.


  1. Negative Changes in Mood and Thinking:
  • Persistent negative thoughts about oneself or others.
  • Feelings of hopelessness, emotional numbness, or detachment from loved ones.
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.


  1. Changes in Physical and Emotional Reactions:
  • Being easily startled or frightened.
  • Always being on guard for danger.
  • Irritability, angry outbursts, or aggressive behavior.
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.


How to Get Help

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, it’s crucial to seek help. Here are steps to take:

  1. Reach Out to a Professional:
  • Therapists and Counselors: Licensed professionals can provide therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
  • Psychiatrists: For those needing medications to manage symptoms, psychiatrists can offer medical assistance.


  1. Support Groups:
  • Joining a support group can provide a sense of community and understanding from others who have experienced similar trauma.


  1. Hotlines and Online Resources:
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1
  • PTSD Alliance: Offers resources and support for individuals and families.


  1. Self Help Strategies:
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity can help reduce stress and improve mood.
  • Mindfulness and Meditation: Practices like mindfulness and meditation can help manage symptoms.
  • Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and avoiding alcohol and drugs can contribute to overall well-being.


Supporting Loved Ones with PTSD 

If someone you care about is struggling with PTSD, here are ways you can support them: 

  • Listen and Be Patient: Allow them to talk about their feelings when they are ready. 
  • Educate Yourself: Learn about PTSD to better understand what they’re going through. 
  • Create a Safe Environment: Help them feel safe and secure and avoid triggers that may cause distress. 



National Institute of Mental Health PTSD  

Veterans Affairs PTSD  

US Dept of Veterans Affairs June PTSD Awareness Month