Despite the fact that members of the military and first responders have been dealing with it for centuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a medical term that has only recently become part of the modern lexicon.
According to The Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs, “An estimated 7.8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, with women (10.4%) twice as likely as men (5%) to develop PTSD. About 3.6 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 to 54 (5.2 million people) have PTSD during the course of a given year.”
This means millions and millions of people will need PTSD support in their lifetimes, with the most meaningful and effective PTSD support coming from their family, friends, and peers.
Want to know how you could be helping someone with PTSD? Here are three ways to get started:
- Be A Good Listener – Those suffering from military or first responder stress have seen and done things that many of us can’t even imagine. The best way to provide PTSD support is just to be quiet and listen when your coworker or loved one has something to say. They’re not looking for answers, for you to say “I know how you feel,” or for you to “fix” anything. They just need to unload their thoughts and feelings.
- Anticipate & Manage Triggers – There are both external triggers (sights, sounds, smells, locations, types of weather, etc) and internal triggers (physical discomfort, bodily sensation, strong emotions, etc) that can affect someone suffering from PTSD. Anticipating them and developing a system for management is a huge help.
- Become A PTSD A Support Specialist – Are you a veteran or first responder? You can provide a unique type of PTSD support by becoming a peer support specialist. These professionals teach their peers about critical incident stress management in an environment of comfort and trust.
Contact Peer Support Central to learn more about how our critical incident counseling courses makes it possible for you to help someone with PTSD in your community.