Nina Tomaro | Marketing and Communications, Mind Share Partners
While it’s common for employers to host summer celebrations that often coincide with July holidays, it’s important to remain aware of the different experiences employees may have. Awareness around post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is especially important during the 4th of July when some employers may consider having fireworks at an office picnic or holiday celebration.
About 8 million adults (roughly 3.5% of Americans each year) have PTSD every year, and fireworks, explosions, and other noisy displays can raise anxiety levels, trigger panic attacks, and bring back traumatic memories. Here are a few things to keep in mind and be aware of.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault. Simply put, PTSD is a natural fear response to traumatic events, but one that persists for months or even years after the danger has gone.
Who experiences PTSD?
Combat veterans are often the focus of concern around the 4th of July, as the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates up to 20 percent of vets who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars experience PTSD.
However, PTSD triggers and symptoms are not limited to veterans, as anyone at any age can experience PTSD including but not limited to those who have experienced abuse, accidents, disasters, traumatic events, and loss of a loved one. It’s also possible for those who haven’t experienced an event first-hand but had a friend or family member experience extreme danger to experience PTSD symptoms. For example, the National Center for PTSD estimates that 28 percent of people who have witnessed a mass shooting develop PTSD.