National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day is dedicated to helping people better understand PTSD and its impacts on so many in our society. This day of awareness is observed annually on June 27. The U.S. Senate first officially designated the day in 2010 and it has been recognized every year since. In 2014, the Senate also designated the whole month of June as PTSD Awareness Month.
National PTSD Awareness Day was established to help get information about symptoms and treatments for PTSD into the public sphere. The hope is that greater understanding and awareness will lead to more people seeking treatment while also improving the treatment that is available.
What Is PTSD?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that affects around 7% of adult Americans at some stage of their life. Women are more than twice as likely to be affected as men (10% of women and 4% of men). Two common causes of PTSD are sexual trauma and the stress and trauma experienced by military veterans.
Indeed, PTSD rates are extremely high for veterans who served in active war zones, with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs reporting that more than 30% of Vietnam veterans, 10% of Gulf War veterans, and 14% of Iraq War veterans are affected by some form of PTSD. As a result, the U.S. Department of Defense is one of the organizations most involved in the annual PTSD awareness program and in providing services to people affected.
The symptoms of PTSD can disrupt people’s ability to function normally. Besides feelings of anxiety, agitation, or depression, affected people often repeatedly re-experience traumatic events as flashbacks, intrusive memories, or nightmares. Sufferers can feel they are enduring the traumatic event over and over during these episodes, which may occur randomly or be triggered by certain situations, words, or sounds.
PTSD may also result in:
- Difficulty concentrating
- A lack of interest in daily activities
- Emotional apathy
- Memory loss around the traumatic event
- Irritability or bouts of anger
- Insomnia or frequent nightmares
- Exaggerated feelings of guilt, worry, or blame
- Frequent anxiety or panic attacks
Treatment Services Available
Because of its complexity, there are no specific tests to diagnose PTSD. Reaction to traumatic events varies from person to person and, some people may be reluctant to discuss or recall the trauma. Mental health specialists such as psychiatrists and psychologists as well as support groups provide the best treatments available .
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a range of services for PTSD sufferers as part of more than 200 designated PTSD treatment programs. They include:
- 1-to-1 mental health assessments
- Medical treatments
- 1-to-1 psychotherapy, including methods such as Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
- 1-to-1 family therapy
- Group therapy for special needs such as anger or stress management
Accessibility and PTSD
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodations — restaurants, movie theaters, doctor’s offices, etc. — and also mandates that all government websites must be fully accessible. This is particularly important for people affected by PTSD. For instance, many military veterans with PTSD may also be affected by a physical disability or impairment received during active service.
PTSD sufferers with depression or anxiety may avoid public activities in favor of more time at home, becoming increasingly reliant on online services. For these people, fully accessible online services are an integral part of ensuring access to vital services, including those that help PTSD sufferers in their treatment and recovery.
For more information on how regulations on website accessibility apply to both government and non-government websites, please contact us. To see what kinds of accessibility services would best serve your company, try our free accessibility scan.