June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day
June 27, 2023

After a traumatic event, it is common for individuals to experience stress reactions. However, when symptoms exist for longer than a few months, a person may be experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to recent research, about 6 out of every 100 people (or 6% of the U.S. population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.

June 27 has been named PTSD Awareness Day to help more people understand the scope and impact of this disorder and to provide those affected with paths to healing.  

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a mental health condition that individuals may develop after experiencing or witnessing traumatic events. Although often associated with combat veterans, PTSD can impact any person of any age after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. 

Individuals with PTSD may experience nightmares or unwanted memories of the trauma, avoidance of situations that bring back memories of the trauma, heightened reactions, anxiety, or depressed mood that impact their ability to perform in their social life, work life, or other important activities. 

PTSD is associated with a range of physical and psychological symptoms. In addition to the core symptoms of intrusive memories, avoidance, negative thoughts and mood, and increased arousal, individuals with PTSD may also experience difficulties with sleep, concentration, and interpersonal relationships.

Effective treatments are available for PTSD, with evidence-based therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) shown to be beneficial in reducing symptoms and improving overall functioning.

Prevalence of PTSD

PTSD can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. It commonly occurs in individuals who have experienced or witnessed events such as military combat, sexual assault, natural disasters, accidents, or serious injuries. PTSD is slightly more common among veterans than civilians. Furthermore, women are more likely to develop PTSD than men—in part due to the types of traumatic events women are more likely to experience.

Why today?

Although PTSD first appeared in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1980, PTSD Awareness Day was not established until 2010. June 27 was selected in recognition of the birthday of Staff Sergeant Joe Biel, a National Guard service member who experienced PTSD after two tours in Iraq. Biel died by suicide in 2007. In 2014, the U.S. government decided the entire month of June should be recognized as PTSD Awareness Month.=

PTSD resources 

It is important to share resources and research about PTSD and its treatment. Here are a few places to turn to learn more: 

  • The National Center for PTSD. Part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Center for PTSD offers a wide variety of free resources, including a confidential online screening tool that offers individuals advice and information they can bring to a mental health provider. Veterans Affairs also offers a podcast called PTSD Bytes that offers short bits of practical information that about innovations and research pertaining to PTSD. 
  • The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The NIMH offers brochures, fact sheets, and other shareable resources you can provide to clients who may be experiencing PTSD.
  • The American Psychological Association (APA). In addition to clinical practice guidelines for treating PTSD, APA also offers highlights from the latest research, news, and information you can share with patients and their families.

Everyone can all help spread the word to raise PTSD awareness. Individuals, families, behavioral and mental health providers, and communities all play a vital role in addressing the needs of trauma survivors and individuals who are living with PTSD.

PAR offers several instruments and tools to help you help people with PTSD, including the TSI-2TSCCTSCYCDAPS, and PSS.