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Today is PTSD Awareness Day – here are statements from Trump, CENTCOM, USO and more

President Donald Trump speaks to troops while visiting U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill, AFB, FL, Feb. 6, 2017. (D. Myles Cullen/Department of Defense)
June 27, 2020

President Donald Trump signed a presidential message on Saturday June 27, recognizing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day.

“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day is an opportunity to draw attention to PTSD, raise awareness for the treatments available to those affected, and recommit to supporting Americans who are burdened by this disorder,” Trump’s presidential message stated.

“Post-traumatic stress disorder results from having experienced or witnessed a terrifying event.  The most common traumas associated with PTSD are sexual and interpersonal violence, being involved in a car accident, witnessing serious injury or the death of another person, or being in combat,” Trump’s PTSD Awareness Day statement continued. “Those experiencing PTSD often struggle to control their emotions and may have unexpected outbursts, often straining supportive personal relationships and causing them to feel alone or uncared for.  Many individuals suffering from PTSD also struggle with depression and substance abuse.

“Diagnosis and treatment of this disorder are critical.  Unfortunately, far too many Americans suffering from PTSD don’t get the care they need, a problem that has only been exacerbated by the coronavirus.  That is one of the reasons why we have increased Medicare telehealth coverage under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, providing those who are suffering from PTSD with expanded access to medical care from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

“We also recognize that our veteran community has long been disproportionately affected by PTSD, and we must use all tools at our disposal to ensure every veteran knows they are not alone in their fight, especially during our ongoing response to the coronavirus,” Trump continued.

Trump noted efforts during the coronavirus to maintain mental health support for veterans during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, such as funding for mental health programs for veterans.

“The CARES Act allocates $19.6 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to expand programs that support our veterans, including services for mental health and additional access to the VA Video Connect app—an innovation that offers a virtual and secure platform free of charge for patients to video conference with their VA medical providers,” Trump said.

PTSD Awareness Day is recognized annually on June 27, and June is PTSD Awareness Month. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD has been recognizing the particularly high number of U.S. veterans with PTSD throughout the month.

On Wednesday, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. shared a message ahead of PTSD Awareness Day.

“Men and women of this command go forward, serve in harm’s way under conditions of incredible stress and danger all the time,” McKenzie said. “Many of them bring back experiences that harm them for the rest of their lives. Those experiences aren’t just transient. They last for a lifetime and we shouldn’t face those challenges alone.”

McKenzie encouraged those struggling with PTSD to reach out for help.

“Reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of profound strength,” he said. “And I would encourage everyone who has a problem to reach out, not only for yourself but also for the sake of those around you.”

The Wounded Warrior Project also tweeted, sharing a link to resources for PTSD support.

“If you are battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Wounded Warrior Project has resources available to help,” the Wounded Warrior Project tweeted. “Learn more about our programs.”

On Saturday the USO also shared a link detailing its efforts to support active duty service members dealing with PTSD, high suicide rates and other mental health concerns.

“Suicide rates among active-duty military have been increasing over the past five years at an alarmingly steady pace. It is an issue that cannot be easily fixed, but it is one that should be addressed — here’s how the USO is trying to help,” the USO tweeted Saturday.