June is national PTSD Awareness Month and the 932nd Airlift Wing reminds members there is always help available in Illinois, and nationally.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that develops in some individuals who are exposed to a shocking, traumatic, or dangerous event. Instead of experiencing a normal period of distress followed by a natural consolidation of memories and return to pre-trauma functioning, people who develop PTSD continue to be highly distressed by thoughts and memories of the traumatic event they experienced. This distress can lead to significant relationship, emotional, and occupational problems, and can become a chronic life-long disorder if not treated.
Psychological Health Advocacy Program offers services for children, suicide prevention, substance abuse awareness, mental health awareness, financial management, anger management, domestic violence awareness & prevention, and employment assistance according to the PHAP website.Those members who would like to talk to a full time director of Psychological Health can call the 932nd office at 618-229-7492, while the Airman and Family Readiness office has great financial information available.
The normal reaction to a traumatic event is to experience symptoms of extreme fear, anxiety, worry, panic, or paralysis. This is a protective, adaptive response that your body goes through in the face of a traumatic event such as combat, rape, assault, or a natural disaster. It is the way in which your body communicates a desire to defend itself against potential death. Put another way, the fear of death, or fear in response to events that may result in death, is a very normal, healthy human response. Fear can trigger split-second changes in the body to help defend against danger, or to avoid danger altogether. This “fight-flight-or-freeze” response is a typical reaction meant to protect a person from harm. However, in the case of PTSD, this response from the body continues even when the person is no longer in bodily danger. The individual with PTSD continues to experience extreme panic, fear, and dread in response to memories, thoughts, conversations, or situations that are reminders of the actual traumatic event. These “contextual cues” can include different situations, people, events, and memories, and can result in a reaction similar to the reaction experienced during the actual traumatic event. Obviously, this can be very upsetting to the individual and can cause significant problems in day-to-day life.
PTSD awareness has improved a lot in recent years and reservists who have deployed worldwide may have experienced a wide variety of events in warzone. The more people talk about and understand PTSD, the better equipped they are at identifying it and getting necessary treatment. If you or someone you know have been through a traumatic event, seek out a mental health provider and request a screening. The earlier you seek help, the sooner you can return to your normal life.
The 932nd Airlift Wing and Scott Air Force Base have several resources available to help reserve members stay ready and handle stress. Keeping our members resilient and strong helps maintain better Airmen, helping maintain personal readiness and our worldwide unit readiness.
One thing mentioned and provided on a special card in the Airmen and Family Readiness office is the word "ACE" which stands for Ask your Wingman, Care for your Wingman, Escort your Wingman.
The Air Force Reserve Command has many additional resources available on the AF Reserve Command Psychological Health Advocacy Program page:
Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. Resilience factors can help reduce the risk of the developing PTSD and can include:
- Seeking support from other people, such as friends and family
- Finding a support group after a traumatic event
- Learning to feel good about one’s own actions in the face of danger
- Having a positive coping strategy, or a way of getting through the bad event and learning from it
- Being able to act and respond effectively despite feeling fear
The 932nd Airlift Wing and the base have several phone numbers available here at Scott, and also on our new 932nd AW mobile application:
Chaplain: (During UTA) 618-229-7017 or after hours: 618-256-5891
National after hours numbers: 800-342-9647 or 618-256-7386
Military Crisis Line: 800-273-8255
National Center for PTSD:
#ReserveReady #AFReserve #ReserveResilient
NOTE: Information compiled from the Air Force Reserve and local handouts.