June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month

A teal ribbon for PTSD Awareness Month

Providing Information, Resources, and Support 

By Shelly Hohl, LPC
RCC Counselor 

In 2010, the U.S. Congress declared June 27th PTSD Awareness Day highlighting the importance of bringing awareness to the invisible scars this disorder can cause.  The National Center for PTSD has since declared the month of June for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness.  The designation is designed to help raise awareness about the disorder and how many different PTSD treatment options are available and how you can make a difference in the lives of veterans and others who have experienced trauma. Everyone can and should help. 

Feel free to explore the information below for more information about what PTSD is, resources available to you if you feel you are experiencing PTSD symptoms, as well as how you can help support yourself or someone in your life who may have (or been diagnosed with) PTSD.   

As always, as a registered student at RCC, you have access to no-additional cost short-term counseling services. Should you need support in coping with PTSD symptoms, or any other concern, please reach out to our counseling department at 541-956-7443 or counselingfrontdesk@roguecc.edu to schedule an appointment with a counselor. 

June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Month. Not all scars are visible.

Learning Opportunities: 

What is PTSD? 

PTSD, or posttraumatic stress disorder, is an anxiety problem that develops in some people after extremely traumatic events, such as combat, crime, an accident or natural disaster. 

People with PTSD may relive the event via intrusive memories, flashbacks and nightmares; avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma; and have anxious feelings they didn’t have before that are so intense their lives are disrupted. 

Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology 

How Do I Know if I Need Therapy? 

Most of us face struggles at some point in our lives. These struggles may include stress at work, difficulty with a romantic partner, or problems with a family member. Alternatively, struggles may include emotional symptoms such as depression or anxiety, behavioral problems such as having difficulty throwing useless items away or drinking alcohol too often, and cognitive symptoms such as repetitive upsetting thoughts or uncontrolled worry. Sometimes, life’s struggles can be eased by taking better care of yourself, and perhaps talking about the issues with a supportive friend or family member. 

But there may be times when these steps don’t resolve the issue. When this happens, it makes sense to consider seeking the help of a qualified licensed psychologist.

How do you know if therapy is needed? Two general guidelines can be helpful when considering whether you or someone you love could benefit from therapy. First, is the problem distressing? And second, is it interfering with some aspect of life? 

When thinking about distress, here are some issues to consider: 

  • Do you or someone close to you spend some amount of time every week thinking about the problem? 
  • Is the problem embarrassing, to the point that you want to hide from others? 
  • Over the past few months, has the problem reduced your quality of life? 

When thinking about interference, some other issues may deserve consideration: 

  • Does the problem take up considerable time (e.g., more than an hour per day)? 
  • Have you curtailed your work or educational ambitions because of the problem? 
  • Are you rearranging your lifestyle to accommodate the problem? 

A “yes” response to any of these questions suggests that you might wish to consider seeking professional help. Remember that sometimes a problem might be less upsetting to you than it is to the people around you. This does not automatically mean that you are in the know and your friends or family are over-reacting to you. Rather, this situation suggests that you may wish to think about why the people who care about you are upset. 

Clearly, the decision to enter into therapy is a very personal one. Numerous advances have been made in the treatment of psychological disorders in the past decade and many therapies have been shown scientifically to be helpful. As you think about whether therapy might be helpful to you, remember that many psychological problems have been shown to be treatable using short-term therapy approaches. 

Learning more about different approaches to therapy might also help you to discern if one of them sounds like a good fit with your personality and approach to life. Given the range of therapeutic options that are available, you don’t need to continue to struggle with a problem that is upsetting and/or getting in the way of other parts of your life. Help is available. 

Source: APA Div. 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology, Updated July 31, 2017  

PTSD Clinical Practice Guideline 

NAMI Mental Health Myth Busters: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder | PTSD 

Primary Care PTSD Screen for DSM-5 (PC-PTSD-5) 

Self-Screening Tool:  How’s Your Sleep? 

I care about someone who may have PTSD.  How Can I Help Them? 

A word cloud for PTSD

Ted Talks: View the following Ted Talks on PTSD 

 “The Psychology of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” by Joelle Rabow Maletis as she details the science behind PTSD.  

“We train soldiers for war.  Let’s train them to come home, too” by Hector Garcia as he details helping veterans suffering PTSD regain their lives. 

“Art can heal PTSD’s invisible wounds” by Melissa Walker as she shares art, specifically mask-making, can help people suffering from PTSD to open up and heal what haunts them. 

YouTube videos on PTSD: