Nicole S. Daniel
The Birmingham Times
June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month, an observance intended to raise public awareness about issues related to the disorder, reduce its stigma, to help to individuals suffering from the disorder and to provide access to proper care.
“PTSD is a very serious condition. It’s one that people tend to ignore when it comes to mental health,” says Jerrold Langford, Executive Director of Allworld Counseling and Consulting, LLC located in Homewood, AL.
“PTSD can be a little difficult to diagnose because a lot of men aren’t able to identify some of their emotions. If it is not treated at a young age, it opens the door for other disorders,” said Langford, a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), certified in addictions counseling with experience in treating trauma, anxiety, depression, childhood behavioral issues, as well as other social and emotional issues.
Although PTSD is commonly associated with military veterans or first responders, PTSD is a disorder that affects a wide range of people and can be triggered by a variety of traumatic events.
According to the National Center for PTSD, six out of every 10 men and five out of every 10 women will experience at least one trauma in their life and seven or eight out of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their life. About 8 million adults experience PTSD during a given year. “Trauma is the source of PTSD”, says Langford.
The American Psychological Association (APA) states that trauma is “an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, or natural disaster.” However, a person may experience trauma as a response to any event they find physically or emotionally threatening or harmful to them.
One segment of the population should not be taken for granted, said Langford.
“We underestimate first responders’ mental health,” he said. “We expect them to go in a crisis and make the best decision.”
A first responder is someone trained to respond to emergencies. First responders are always on the front line facing highly stressful and risky calls. They consist of being law enforcement officers, paramedics, EMT’s and firefighters. First responders are usually first on the scene assisting with an accident, natural disaster, or terrorism, domestic violence and drug related issues.
According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, in 2015, it was estimated that 30 percent of first responders develop behavioral health conditions including, but not limited to, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as compared with 20 percent in the general population.
“As a community we have to be more empathetic to all individuals,” said Langford.
Jerrold Langford, Executive Director at Allworld Counseling & Consulting, LLC, is located at 201 Beacon Pkwy W, Birmingham, AL 35209 and can be reached at (205) 401-8363.