16 Nov The Real Warriors Campaign: Changing The Stigma On PTSD
Post Written By Kelly Dano
In our society, mental illnesses is stigmatized. There has been a stigma surrounding mental illness for probably as long as it has been prevalent in society, and those burdened with a mental illness are often avoided or labeled as ‘crazy’ and ignored. Mental illnesses have become something to be ashamed of, as if a person is in full control of their brain chemistry. post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a disorder that results from the stressful occurrence of a traumatic event, is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses today, and it seems to becoming more frequent.
Sonja Batten, a clinical psychologist and a Senior Associate with Booz Allen Hamilton, says that this phenomenon is made to seem from media outlets as if PTSD is a new occurrence. Although it is relatively new to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), appearing first in 1980, the disorder may have been in existent since traumatic events have occurred. Sonja suggests that stories like the Odyssey and of Alexander the Great recount incidents of PTSD, indicating that the resulting disruption of trauma has occurred since ancient times. We just happened to more recently put a label on it.
In recent years, it is not that more people are experiencing trauma, it is that we have learned more about the effects of trauma and media outlets have raised awareness of the disorder, but still there is a problem. There is still a stigma around mental illness and people do not want to be labeled with PTSD. Individuals often think that the results of their trauma will go away on its own or have the fear that they will be stigmatized, or feel weak for needing to seek help. There are barriers to treatment.
The Real Warriors Campaign seeks to break down these barriers to make it more accessible and acceptable for military veterans, a population with a large incidence of PTSD, to get treatment. The program uses a model of someone else that has sought treatment, to show others, that treatment works and help is readily available. This program puts the decisions in the hands of men and women that have experienced trauma during their service. It allows them to see their options and actively do something about their condition.
The Real Warriors Campaign blows the stigma of mental illness out of the water by talking about it openly and truthfully through the stories of others. This is one way that the stigma surrounding mental disorders, like PTSD, are being changed from shameful weaknesses to treatable problems. Programs like the Real Warriors Campaign gives diagnosed mentally ill individuals a say and the power to change the view of mental illness from the inside out.
Find out more at realwarriors.net