When veterans return home, the battle does not always end. Every day, 184 veterans are diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress and, tragically, 20 take their own lives as a result. Every year on June 27, we observe PTS Awareness Day, an opportunity to talk openly about PTS, its’ causes, symptoms, and most important of all, how to get help.
Unfortunately, the stigma around mental illness, and PTS in particular, is still strong today. Even in modern times, PTS is often misunderstood by those with no firsthand experience of the condition or those who suffer from it. Individuals with PTS may feel embarrassment or shame. Some even fear that if they seek help, they will be institutionalized. The stigma surrounding PTS can prevent veterans from seeking out help, leading to higher rates of depression and suicide. PTS Awareness Day was first created in 2010 in tribute to a North Dakota National Guard member who took his own life following two tours in Iraq.
Fortunately, research continues to help us understand the symptoms of PTS, as well as methods to cope. When nothing else works, professionally trained service dogs can. American Humane, serving the U.S. military for more than 100 years, rescues animals in need of forever homes and trains them to become free, lifesaving service dogs for our nation’s veterans.
If you’re a veteran or know a veteran suffering with PTS or traumatic brain injury, our Pups4Patriots program is here to help, literally saving lives on both ends of the leash. We are committed to helping America’s veterans and recognizing their heroic contributions to our country – both on and off the battlefield. Today and every day, let’s give veterans a fighting chance.