Each year, the month of June is designated as National Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month. This awareness month began to educate communities about PTSD and provide support and resources to those individuals living with this condition. PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents or serious accidents. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged. These symptoms can be severe and can last long enough to significantly impair the person’s daily life. An estimated 7.8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, with women (10.4%) twice as likely as men (5%) to develop PTSD.

It is important to recognize that PTSD can affect people from all walks of life and all age groups. However, our military personnel are disproportionately affected due to their exposure to potentially traumatic events during combat. Consequently, the US Veteran’s Administration created the National Center for PTSD to advance the clinical care and social welfare of America’s Veterans and others who have experienced trauma, or who suffer from PTSD, through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders. For more information on the VA’s PTSD Center, you can visit National Center for PTSD.

Another great organization that works to provide support to our Veterans is the PTSD Foundation of America. This non-profit organization is dedicated to mentoring combat veterans and their families with post traumatic stress. One resource they provide is Camp Hope: Interim Housing for Veterans. Camp Hope opened in 2012 and is in Houston, TX. In addition to temporary housing, Camp Hope offers a 90+ day PTSD recovery program in which residents: attend group lessons and support sessions with other combat veterans; conduct individual mentoring sessions with certified combat trauma mentors; participate in off-site small group interaction activities (fishing, hiking, local activities and events); and get involved with local churches, businesses and volunteer organizations to assist in their personal healing and educating the community on the invisible wounds of war. To learn more about this great program, you can visit Camp Hope: Interim Housing for Veterans or call 877-717-PTSD (7873)

If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).

– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32

Rep. Hunter represents Nueces (Part) County. He can be contacted at todd.hunter@house.texas.gov or at 512-463-0672.