June is also known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness (PTSD) Month, and PTSD Awareness Day is recognized on June 27th. In 2010, Congress designated June 27 as PTSD Awareness Day to promote visibility and effective treatment for the affliction. Four years later, Congress set aside the entire month of June for National PTSD Awareness. The goal is to increase knowledge among the public about issues related to PTSD, to encourage those suffering from this affliction to seek help, and to provide insights into caring for family members coping with PTSD.

PTSD is a mental health problem that anyone can develop after experiencing a life-threatening event. The symptoms vary from person to person but can start right after the trauma or come up months, sometimes years later. Unfortunately this can be common in our military men and women who have volunteered to protect our country. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the following are statistics are the number of veterans who suffer with PTSD from each service era:

  • Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF): Between 11-20% of veterans have PTSD in a given year.
  • Gulf War (Desert Storm): About 12% have PTSD in a given year.
  • Vietnam War: About 15% were currently diagnosed with PTSD at the time of the most recent study in the late 1980s, the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS). It is estimated that about 30% of Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD during their lifetime.

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These statistics only account for those who have come out with their symptoms. Sadly it is far more common for our heroes to feel ashamed and embarrassed of their issues and at least 50% of those with PTSD do not seek treatment.

Vietnam War veteran Warren suffered with nightmares and substance abuse when he returned home from the war. After years of struggling with his symptoms he decided to seek help and went to Veterans Affairs for primary care. He received alcohol and drug treatment and was assigned to a therapist that helped him in his recovery. Warren now thanks his therapist who taught him how to face PTSD with the right tools, “You never get rid of PTSD but you know how to handle it, you know how to face it, you let it know you aren’t afraid anymore.”

See Warren’s story here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZzbT2jL4jw

Our men and women selflessly fight for our freedom and need to be our number one priority when they come home. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can happen to anyone, and for those that are suffering need to know it is not a weakness, and it is not something you have to live with. If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD, don’t hesitate to get help.

We at the Purple Heart Foundation are committed to offer assistance to those men and women who have served our country and struggle with PTSD. It is our mission to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for our men and women in uniform who have sacrificed for our freedom. Individuals can find numerous resources on our website, and it is with the generous contributions of our supporters that we are able to make ALL veterans our priority. You can show your support for these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure veterans continue to get the support they deserve by donating here.

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