PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event. A common misconception is that only veterans who have been to war can suffer from PTSD.
But did you know that anyone who has had exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence – whether directly experiencing the traumatic event, witnessing it, or even just learning that the traumatic event occurred to a close family member or friend - could potentially have PTSD?
June is considered “PTSD Awareness Month”, as promoted by the U.S. Veterans Administration National Center for PTSD. This year, REVIV featured a 60-minute Webinar entitled: “Coping with Traumatic Events.” The event was held on Tuesday, June 23rd, hosted by Licensed Therapist Dr. Nancy Little.
Some key takeaways from the Webinar
The webinar used the term “Critical Incident” as “any situation faced by employees that causes them to experience unusually strong emotional reactions which have the potential to interfere with their ability to function.” There was an acknowledgment that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us have encountered loss and disruption in different ways, and should be aware of signs of how it may be affecting us personally.
"Most of us are in the Critical Incident phase," said Dr. Little. "The reality is that we're in an unknown experience in our lives and we have our unique responses. There's an enormous range of reactions that people may have, and others may not have the same reaction as you do. Grief reactions could be signs of shock, from feeling paralyzed or frozen, having a sense of moving in slow motion, increased irritability or impatience, to depression, or even denial of what you’re feeling.”
We may have noticed a change in our mood, motivation or behaviors, or a change in others. Dr. Little made the analogy that the list of symptoms could be seen as indicators whether our “check engine” lights are on – either yellow or red - which could be signs that we may need professional support. Dr. Little further added that “We are in this together, and can make a difference for someone by gently letting them know with a simple phrase of ‘I notice you don’t seem like yourself lately.’
The webinar concluded with an overview of tactics people can take to building resiliency by increasing healthy activities, such as exercise, having fun and bonding time with family & friends, or engaging in relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga.
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