Harrisburg, PA – June 26, 2020 – In recognition of June as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month and June 27 as PTSD Awareness Day, Pennsylvania State Senators Mike Regan and Pam Iovino, Republican and Democratic Chairs of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, respectively, are raising awareness of PTSD and the impact it has on veterans, first responders, and all who have endured trauma.

“Through my 23-year Navy career and then as Assistant Secretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs, I was pleased to see how our understanding of and treatments for the impacts of trauma have improved significantly. Those facing invisible wounds from PTSD, such as our veterans or first responders, must feel empowered to seek health care regardless of the source of the injury or illness,” said Senator Iovino (D – Allegheny & Washington). “It is my hope that by continuing to raise awareness of PTSD and the resources available to address it, we can improve lives, and in some cases, save lives of those that suffer from PTSD throughout this country.”

“Mental health must be a priority in the work we are doing in Harrisburg,” said Sen. Mike Regan (R – Cumberland & York). “This has been a recurring theme for me – particularly with respect to the prevalence of Veteran suicide, the potential for increased suicides and drug overdose deaths due to isolation requirements of COVID-19, and the need to assist our younger generation in identifying mental health issues early and getting them any needed assistance.  The same is true for our law enforcement officers and other first responders.  They do carry the weight of their experiences with them. And as with many people, that weight can add up and manifest in undesirable ways.  Raising awareness and providing needed supports are essential to addressing this societal issue.”

The diagnosis now known as PTSD was first defined in 1980 by the American Psychiatric Association to more accurately understand and treat veterans who had endured severe traumatic combat stress in Vietnam, however, ‘shell shock’ or ‘battle fatigue’ have long been recognized as a consequence of combat. In the broader application, PTSD is a normal response to exposure to extremely traumatic events, including, but not limited to, combat, sexual assault, torture, abuse, life-threatening accidents, natural disasters, or interpersonal violence. PTSD is treatable with timely access to appropriate resources, counseling, medication, and support. 

All Pennsylvanians suffering from PTSD deserve our compassion and support to ensure their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. By bringing awareness and educating the general public about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of PTSD, we can save and improve lives. 

Information about PTSD and how to get help and treatment is available at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD website: ptsd.va.gov.

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