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Trump recognizes PTSD Awareness Day – Read his statement

President Donald J. Trump arrives at Joint Base Andrews Air Force Base Wednesday June 26, 2019, in Maryland, en route Japan for the 2019 G20. (Shealah Craighead/White House)
June 27, 2019

The White House issued an official statement from President Trump in recognition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day today.

PTSD Awareness Day was established in 2010 after a Senate resolution chose the day June 27 as a tribute to Army Staff Sgt. Joe Biel of the North Dakota National Guard, who took his life in April 2007 after suffering from PTSD following two tours in Iraq.

“Our Nation renews its commitment to assist and care for all those affected by PTSD.  As a Nation, we must ensure those suffering from PTSD have access to the resources and support they need to fully engage with their families and participate in their communities,” the statement said.

“Many people suffer from PTSD in silence, as they endure a wide variety of symptoms.  These can include flashbacks of traumatic incidents, crippling anxiety, overexpression of stress hormones, sleep deprivation, and impaired ability to communicate or relate with others,” the statement explained.

“PTSD is a life-threatening condition that can be debilitating to families and relationships, and it affects the ability to fulfill the normal demands of everyday life.  This is just one reason why my Administration has made mental health and wellness a top priority, working to ensure that those with mental health conditions have access to evidence-based treatment and services,” the statement continued.

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“Tragically, many of our veterans suffer from PTSD.  Addressing this problem starts with improving treatment.  According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, roughly half of these service members returning from combat with a PTSD diagnosis do not receive mental health treatment,” the statement noted.

“To help address this issue, in January, I signed an Executive Order to enhance mental health services for recently discharged veterans and to help ensure that those suffering from PTSD will have the resources they need when they return home from battle,” Trump pointed out in the statement.

He added, “I also recently signed into law the VA Mission Act, which will improve veterans’ access to quality care by making it easier for them to be treated by the doctors of their choice.”

“Today, my Administration pledges to continue fighting the stigma associated with mental health.  Through enhanced research, greater access to evidence-based treatments, and continued love and support, we can improve the lives of those suffering from PTSD,” Trump concluded.

While approximately 7 to 8 percent of all adults in the U.S. have PTSD at some point during their life, the rate of PTSD among veterans is nearly twice that number.

About 11-20 percent of all Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans have PTSD in a given year, and that rate is estimated to be 12 percent for Desert Storm veterans. About 15 percent of Vietnam veterans experience PTSD according to estimates from the 1980s, though that number is estimated to actually be 30 percent.