May 10, 2019 6:30:00 AM EDT  |  Culture  |  Security

Mental Health Awareness Month and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Last week, we introduced a Mental Health Awareness Month initiative to help break the stigma related to mental health, especially as it relates to security clearances. For week 2 of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re focusing on an often-stigmatized mental health disorder that impacts millions of Americans, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

mental-health-awareness-month-PTSDPTSD can impact anyone. Individuals who are involved in a traumatic event often experience a range of reactions. Though many people naturally recover from initial symptoms, others continue to experience problems over time, even when they are no longer in danger.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD happens to those who have experienced shocking or dangerous events and have trouble recovering from the trauma.

About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their lives. Considering this ratio, it’s important to remember that not everyone will develop PTSD, but you may know someone who does. Your awareness is vital to help those around you who struggle with PTSD.  

10 Facts you probably didn’t know about PTSD:

  1. Symptoms usually begin early on but can appear years after the traumatic event
  2. Women are at higher risk of developing PTSD
  3. One cannot just “get over” PTSD
  4. Symptoms are not always obvious
  5. Therapy can be enough to recover
  6. There are different types of flashbacks
  7. Exercise helps!
  8. Not everyone has the same trauma threshold
  9. Children can develop it too
  10. PTSD is a growing epidemic

PTSD signs & symptoms:

If the following indicators last longer than a month and are severe enough to interfere with relationships or work, they may be considered PTSD.

  • Can include flashbacks, bad dreams, frightening thoughts
  • Avoiding places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience.
  • Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event.
  • Being easily startled or feeling on edge
  • Having difficulty sleeping or having angry outbursts
  • Trouble remember key features of the event
  • Negative changes in thoughts, feelings, or perceptions about oneself or the world
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable activities

Sources and resources:

How can I help?

If you, or someone you know, are experiencing signs and symptoms of PTSD, reach out to a mental health provider who is experienced with treating PTSD.

Be aware that receiving treatment for PTSD may not impact your security clearance.

Questions, comments or feedback:

Please reach out to HR or Security with any questions or feedback on this initiative.

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About the Author

Juliana Lee

Juliana Lee

Juliana Lee joined the team in 2018 and brings over 15 years of marketing, communications, and design experience to our team. She leads Anser Advisory's corporate communications and marketing. A DC area native, Juliana holds a BA in Communications from the University of Maryland College Park (Go Terps!), as well as multiple marketing certifications from HubSpot and the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) designation. Previously, she led marketing communications for Meridian Imaging Solutions, a Konica Minolta company, as well as providing strategic support for B2B, B2C, B2G, and government clients through marketing consultancy District Smarketing, LLC. A two-time recipient of the Gold President's Volunteer Service Award from President Obama, Juliana is passionate about giving back to the local community. She is an active member of the Markon Cares corporate philanthropy group and supports the firm's STEM outreach initiatives. Outside of work, she is an active volunteer for A Space of Her Own, which empowers under-served girls through arts, carpentry, and creative one-to-one mentoring.