June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, and this year many people are struggling with personal loss, fear, and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic is a national trauma, but not everyone who suffers loss or extreme stress from it will develop PTSD, psychologist and marriage and family counselor Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker writes in PsychCentral.com. She notes that an estimated 3.6% of U.S. adults had PTSD in the past year, yet an estimated 70% of U.S. adults have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives, according to data from a national survey.
PTSD is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. If you suspect that you or someone you love is suffering from PTSD, you may need to seek help from a licensed mental health professional.