“I am so OCD about things,” “Aren’t we all just a little bit Autistic?” “I had an anxiety attack the other day,” “I have such PTSD about that.” These are phrases we hear in our everyday life from friends, family or co-workers about their struggles. And yet…these statements are often not accurate to actual mental health needs. This June, Professionals United for Parkland shines a light on PTSD Awareness Month.
Over the years the community has learned that mental health issues are real, debilitating and treatable. We know that these conversations would never have happened in the past due to stigma about mental health. PU4P is grateful that mental health continues to become less stigmatized over the years. Our mission is to help serve and educate the community about trauma, the lasting effects and services that can aid in growth and healing. While we often hear “I have PTSD,” we know that this serves as a short-cut for “I was upset/scared” about an incident.
So what IS PTSD then? PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs when a person is exposed to an event that exposed them to “threat of death, serious injury, or sexual violence” by direct involvement, witnessing the event, knowing a direct relative experienced an event or the repeated exposure by professionals in the field of distressing events. After this extreme event, a few other things must develop in order to be diagnosed with PTSD – extreme avoidance of anything associated with the event, intrusive thoughts or dreams about the event, and a prolonged change into negative behavior, thought and emotional well-being.
Many of the adolescents, teachers and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas were directly witness to or experienced horrifying events as a bystander. We might rush to judgement – “Everyone will need years of therapy after that.” However, not everyone developed PTSD. Many improved with adequate support and a place to share their thoughts and feelings. Others received evidenced-based and best practice therapy services.
While many in our community did receive support and guidance after February 2018, we know many, many more people were affected or did not seek services. It is never too late to receive the help you deserve. We know that more work is needed to break the cycle of stigma – allowing anyone who is in pain to receive quality and compassionate help. Professionals United for Parkland was founded to help address the long-term effects of communal trauma. Help is available – please reach out today.
During the month of June, Professionals United for Parkland remembers Joaquin "Guac" Oliver. "Change The Ref (CTR), was formed to empower our Future Leaders. CTR gives the kids of today the tools they need to be empowered to make changes to critical issues that affect our nation, through education, conversation, and activism. Change The Ref’s ultimate goal is to give the young generation of survivors and victims a disrupting voice to help lead the way to change – a more peaceful future." #NeverAgain. For more information, visit: https://changetheref.org/
PU4P Updates Interested in joining our trauma trained therapists (licensed only) - please take a few moments of your time and join the PU4P referral directory. The MSD community will need services for the long run. PU4P links those in need with a vetted list of trauma therapists. We ask for a commitment of 2 pro-bono clients a year. For more information or questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please support PU4P by designating it as your charity with The AmazonSmile Foundation. They will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible smile.amazon.com purchases. Don't forget to check our Facebook page for the most current events, updates, and information about PU4P! Thank you for your support of PU4P and your dedication to the Parkland community.