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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is important to address in our Military Communities, but it is also equally as important to address PTSD in every community. Many people struggle with PTSD, that have never been to war. NIMH is a great resource to learn more.

Although many are more aware of what PTSD is, how do we define what Trauma is?Throughout the years I have worked in the mental health field, I have conducted hundreds of assessments. In these assessments, I ask each and every time, in a general way if they have experienced any traumatic event. The reason why I ask this so generally at first, is because everyone has a different definition of trauma. Some only think trauma or PTSD is when you go to war and are in combat. Others consider it to be rape, molestation, or something else they might consider to be severe. However Webster Dictionary defines trauma as "a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury".

In essence, Trauma is anything that you feel may have impacted you in a negative way, that has resulted in distress. At this point, many people tell me they have never had trauma, but when I ask them if they have experienced anything they feel like was very important in their life, and was very difficult, such as car accidents, loss of relationships, any type of physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, natural disasters, witnessing violence or death, bullying, abandonment (and the examples can go on) then I usually get more responses and people talking about difficult life experiences they never thought could be considered traumatic, but it impacted them severely. Therefore PTSD can happen not only to our brave veterans and those who are actively serving, but it can absolutely occur to anyone struggling with any type of trauma.

Here's the good news. There is help. I love that there is more mental health awareness as each day passes. Every county and state has community mental health clinics, insurance companies have providers, and you can always find a therapist in a private practice setting (some take insurance and others are cash only). However you can always find help. If you are not sure where to start, look up your county name and mental health or counseling. If you are in crisis, call 911, go to your nearest hospital, or call the national suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255.

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