Although awareness is largely viewed as one of the most important weapons in the fight against post-traumatic stress disorder among the veteran community, another critical facet is destigmatizing the affliction in the eyes of sufferers. Because PTSD has long had such a severe stigma in some circles, many veterans will end up being ostracized from their local communities, or might even avoid getting help given their lack of desire to be classified as someone living with the disorder. 

"Destigmatizing a disorder is no easy task."

Destigmatizing a disorder of any kind is no easy task, and demands a joint effort between the veteran community and civilians who interact with former military members to truly succeed. Luckily, the call to action has been heard across the nation, and many projects have been launched to actively inform Americans of what PTSD really entails and how it impacts sufferers on a daily basis. One advocacy group has been working hard to contribute to this cause. 

Spreading awareness
The Detroit Free Press recently reported that Honor for All, an advocacy group run by veterans and based in Royal Oak, Michigan, has made its core mission the complete eradication of stigmas related to PTSD. The group's leadership believes that achieving this objective would have a profoundly positive impact on not only the veteran community, but civilians who are around individuals suffering from PTSD on a daily basis. Interestingly, the group has a relatively intense connection to the dangers of this stigma. 

According to the news provider, Honor for All's vice president, Kent Hall, served in the Army during Vietnam and suffered from severe PTSD, then attempted a suicide by cop back in 1985 due to his lack of treatment and knowledge of the disorder. This is not all that uncommon in the veteran community, but Hall affirmed that the combination of a highly skilled officer on that fateful day with the support he received following the event has helped him live on. Now he wants to help others who live under similar circumstances. 

The source pointed out that Michigan Representative Tom Barrett explained that more veterans die from suicide than in combat today, which is why he commemorated Post Traumatic Stress Injury Awareness Day this week. The Detroit Free Press noted that Honor for All is looking to change the moniker of PTSD to post-traumatic stress injury in hopes that it will help to reduce stigma. 

PTSD awareness is reaching new heights. PTSD awareness is reaching new heights.

Simple steps toward improvement
PTSD is too often misunderstood, but this is likely caused by the relative novelty of scientific and medical research focused on the disorder. Although PTSD has been well-known for decades, intelligent conversations and advocacy for sufferers did not truly pick up until the turn of the century, but improvements have been widespread since that point. 

Veterans and their neighbors can find helpful resources related to treating and understanding PTSD through a range of groups and government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.