Historically mental health has found its way throughout earlier conflicts, given terms such as “soldier’s heart,” “battle shock,” “shell shock,” and “war neurosis” during the Civil War, World War I, II, and the Vietnam War, etc. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, better known as PTSD, is a mental health condition that occurs after one experiences trauma or witnesses a traumatic event. Traumatic events aren’t limited to combat; such events include vehicle accidents, natural disasters, terrorism, sexual assaults, sexual harassment, and physical violence. On 27 June 2014, in honor of a North Dakota National Guard member who committed suicide after two tours to Iraq, the United States Senate announced this day as PTSD awareness day.
For many active-duty service members, Veterans, and their families, the lingering symptoms of PTSD or “combat stress” make life difficult to live. Those suffering are usually on the verge of exploding or panicking, while some feel entirely emotionally numb and disconnected from their loved ones.
June is PTSD Awareness Month, and while continued attention given to PTSD is vital for our service members, Veterans and families, We Are One! also aims to create awareness about how to help those living with PTSD and make their lives easier.
The Overall Impact of PTSD on Active-Duty Service Members, Veterans, and Families
According to research conducted by the Department of Veteran Affairs, around 15% to 17% of service members returning from the Global War on Terrorism meet the criteria for major depression, PTSD, or generalized anxiety disorder shortly after returning home. These mental health disorders have very concerning symptoms that can disrupt the lives of those suffering and all those around them.
While the intensity of the impact of PTSD differs, the symptoms somewhat remain the same. Anger and self-destructive behavior are two of the most common symptoms among those suffering. In addition, overwhelming guilt and shame, trouble concentrating, mood swings, and irritability can also affect their daily lives.
Studies have shown that many Veterans also go through severe symptoms, such as reliving the event when its traumatic memories come back. As a result, they cannot focus on daily tasks and avoid spending time with their loved ones.
Family members of people living with PTSD can experience some of the same debilitating effects as PTSD. Supporting a family member living with PTSD can affect a person’s mental health and lead to depression, anxiety, and even substance abuse. In many cases, we have seen that family members are at a greater risk of being exposed to verbal abuse and physical abuse (such as yelling, screaming, and throwing things).
According to a 2017 study, Veterans living with PTSD and their family members are involved in more physical violence than spouses or partners of Veterans not experiencing PTSD. These repeated negative interactions damage the trust and cohesion within the family.
Behavioral Services Offered to Veterans in Orange County
Working Wardrobe’s VetNet – Veteran Behavior Health Peer Navigation Support Services program is an innovative program developed for Veteran families living in Orange County. The Program aims to intervene early to identify barriers that interrupt the day-to-day life of veterans and their families. The Program’s Peer Navigators conduct outreach to identify and engage unserved Veterans in the Community and link participants to Behavioral Health and Supportive Services providers.
The Veteran Behavior Health Peer Navigation Support Services program provides:
- Behavioral health screening
- Veteran Peer Navigation and Case Management
- Housing and Employment Resources
- Referrals and linkages to Community Resources
Support Military Veterans by Donating to We Are One! CA.
This PTSD Awareness Month, pledge to do everything in your power to support active military service members, Veterans, and their families suffering from PTSD. Donate to causes like VetNet, and We Are One! that is working tirelessly to return a sense of normalcy to the lives of those suffering. Click here to donate today.