CHICAGO – With June being Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month, State Representative Brad Stephens (R-Rosemont) is recognizing this awareness month. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are about 12 million people in the U.S. living with PTSD. PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event and can be developed by people who have served in combat or experienced or witnessed an assault, abuse, accident, disaster, or other serious event.
“PTSD is an often silent burden many people carry with them throughout their lives, including veterans and first responders who witness or experience traumatic events,” said Rep. Stephens. “Let’s take the opportunity this month to inform the people we love and our neighbors of the options available for people who may have PTSD. You can help people receive the resources they need when living with PTSD and make a difference.”
From an April 2021 report from the NIOSH Science Blog from the CDC, “law enforcement officers and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.” It additionally highlighted how occupational stress in first responders is associated with an increased risk of post-traumatic stress and suicidal behaviors and how studies found 17% to 24% of public safety tele-communicators have symptoms of PTSD.
The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshall has resources available for first responders online here. Additional resources can be found from the Illinois Department of Human Services, including locating mental health providers, resources to deal with traumatic events, and more online here.