June 27, 2021
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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. It causes intense fear, helplessness or horror. It is described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association. The symptoms of PTSD often surface within three months of the traumatic event that caused it but can also surface years later.
PTSD has become a global health issue and the prevalence of it is gaining awareness. In Canada, between 1.1 and 3.5 per cent of the general population is thought to have PTSD. In 2016, Ontario amended the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 to presume that PTSD is a workplace injury among first responders if it arises out of and in the course of the worker’s employment.
Military personnel, emergency personnel, rescue workers, first responders, journalists and families of victims are particularly at risk, although PTSD can affect anyone, regardless of socio-economic status, gender, age, nationality or vocation.
In 2010, the Senate of the United States of America designated June 27 in each year as National PTSD Awareness Day. Similarly, June 27, 2019 was historic for mental health awareness in Ontario as, for the first time, the province officially recognized June 27 as PTSD Awareness Day. By making a similar designation in Ontario, it helps to raise awareness for this disorder and help thousands of people in the province and beyond move past stigma, isolation and helplessness and towards resources, understanding and, ultimately, the road to recovery.
With the pandemic, all frontline and essential workers may become more susceptible to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This year, more than ever it’s paramount to bring attention to this important day and the devastating impact PTSD can have on an individual and their families.
June 27 of each year is proclaimed as PTSD Awareness Day.