June is PTSD Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

This month-long campaign aims to educate the public, reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and provide support for those affected by PTSD.

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a mental health condition that occurs after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. These events can include natural disasters, serious accidents, terrorist acts, war/combat, sexual assault and other violent personal assaults. PTSD can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or background.

People with PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger. Symptoms can manifest in various ways and significantly impact daily life.

Recognising the symptoms

The symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood and changes in physical and emotional reactions.

Intrusive memories:

  • Recurring, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the event


  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, activities, or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood:

  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Feeling detached from family and friends
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally numb

Changes in physical and emotional reactions:

  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Self-destructive behaviour, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability, angry outbursts, or aggressive behaviour
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame

Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person. For some people, symptoms may not appear until months or even years after the event.

Why awareness matters

Raising awareness is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it helps to reduce the stigma associated with mental health conditions. Many people with PTSD feel ashamed or isolated, which can prevent them from seeking help. Increased awareness encourages those suffering to seek the support they need.

Secondly, understanding PTSD can lead to better support systems within families, communities and workplaces. When people are educated about PTSD, they are better equipped to offer empathy and practical support to those affected.

How to support someone with PTSD

Supporting a loved one with PTSD can be challenging but incredibly rewarding. Here are some effective ways to provide support:

Listen without judgment: Sometimes, the best thing you can do is listen. Allow your loved one to share their experiences and feelings without fear of judgment.

Educate yourself: Learn about PTSD to better understand what your loved one is going through. Knowledge can foster empathy and patience.

Encourage professional help: While your support is vital, professional treatment is often necessary. Encourage your loved one to seek therapy or join support groups.

Be patient and understanding: Recovery from PTSD is a long process. There will be good days and bad days. Your patience and understanding can make a significant difference.

Create a sense of safety: Help create an environment where your loved one feels safe and secure. This might mean making changes at home or in social settings.

Treatment options

Effective treatment for PTSD is available and can include a combination of therapies. The main treatments are:

  • Psychotherapy: Also known as talk therapy, this involves working with a mental health professional to manage PTSD symptoms. Common types of psychotherapy include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Exposure Therapy.
  • Medications: Antidepressants are often prescribed to help manage PTSD symptoms. These medications can help control symptoms such as sadness, worry, anger and feeling emotionally numb. Remember that everyone’s different so ensure you seek professional advice.
  • Support Groups: Sharing experiences with others who have PTSD can help individuals feel less alone and provide practical coping strategies.

Getting help in the UK

If you or someone you know is struggling with PTSD, there are numerous resources available in the UK:

Mind   |   Rethink   |   NHS Mental Health Services   |   Combat Stress


PTSD Awareness Month is an essential opportunity to educate ourselves and others about this serious mental health condition. By understanding PTSD and how it affects individuals, we can create a more supportive and empathetic society.

If you or someone you know is struggling with PTSD, remember that help is available and recovery is possible. Reach out to someone or the resources mentioned above. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Together, we can make a difference and support those affected by PTSD.

Let’s spread the word, reduce stigma and offer a helping hand to those in need. Every step towards understanding and empathy makes a world of difference.

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