JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. –
According to the National Center for PTSD-Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD is a mental health issue that one may develop after witnessing or experiencing a life-threatening event such as a natural disaster, combat, sexual assault, or car accident. They also specify that anyone can develop PTSD and at any time in their life after a traumatic event.
"Anyone can suffer from PTSD. It doesn't pick and choose," said Maj. Kimberly McKenna, 633rd Medical Group Family Advocacy officer. "If a traumatic event has happened to you and you notice or your loved ones notice your behavior has changed, that's a sign [of PTSD]."
The National Center for PTSD-Department of Veterans Affairs takes the entire month of June to raise awareness of treatment options, dispel myths and explain how to receive proper care.
McKenna stated some signs of PTSD are behaviors such as consuming alcohol more often, using drugs, increased anger or irritability and engaging in risky behavior without regard to personal safety.
"We have been in a war for a while, and the VA has seen an increase in diagnoses of PTSD. We want to get the awareness out there so that people are more comfortable with seeking help and understand they are not alone," McKenna said.
McKenna recommends putting the National Suicide Hotline number into your phone contacts so you are always ready with at least one resource if you come across someone in need.
Some members may be concerned about seeking help for PTSD due to the nature of their work.
"This is not a horrible disease that you should be ashamed of or hide,” McKenna explained. “It is real, there is treatment for it and with support you can have a better outcome than if you don't seek treatment," She continued, "This is a psychological injury that deserves to be taken care of and that’s okay to acknowledge."
If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD or similar symptoms, speak with your primary care provider to discuss treatment and medication options. The mental health clinic, Military OneSource and Military Family Life Counselors also offer a variety of therapy opportunities.
- Military OneSource/MFLAC: 800-342-9647
- National Suicide Prevention Line: 800-273-8255