Thursday, April 23, 2015

What Has Been Achieved By Raising Awareness?

Right now I would like to raise awareness of a very simple fact. We are all suffering from stupefaction!
Stupefaction verb (used with object), stupefied, stupefying. put into a state of little or no sensibility; benumb the faculties of; put into a stupor. stun, as with a narcotic, a shock, or a strong emotion. overwhelm with amazement; astound; astonish.

If you are sensing a rant coming on, you know me all too well by now.

Before technology changed the way we discover information, there were town criers
(formerly) a person employed by a town to make public announcements or proclamations, usually by shouting in the streets.
There was a time when someone wanted to know something they'd read a newspaper,
The New-England Courant (also spelled New England Courant), one of the first American newspapers, was founded in Boston on August 7, 1721, by James Franklin.
Then they could go to a library,
On July 1, 1731, Franklin and a group of members from the Junto, a philosophical association, drew up "Articles of Agreement" to form a library. The Junto was interested in a wide range of ideas, from economics to solving social woes to politics to science. But they could not turn to books to increase their knowledge or settle disputes, as between them they owned few tomes. But they recognized that via the Junto's combined purchasing power, books could be made available to all members.

So it was that 50 subscribers invested 40 shillings each to start a library. Members also promised to invest 10 shillings more every year to buy additional books and to help maintain the library. They chose as their motto a Latin phrase which roughly translates as "To support the common good is divine." Philip Syng, a silversmith who would one day create the inkstand with which the Declaration and Constitution were signed, designed the Company's seal.

Most of the time folks would have to hear about something from someone else to get their curiosity just enough to ask questions, seek answers and then, hopefully, gain enough knowledge to attempt to change the future after learning from the past.

Fast forward a few hundred years and now we have thing I spend so much time on putting access to millions of pages on a subject within fingers on a keyboard limited only by ones ability to search.

Thats where we got into trouble. The problem is not being aware of history or what is happening with our veterans. The problem is everyone seems to be aware of the same wrong information.

Someone along the way figured that if trying to find cures and treat illnesses was money maker than raising awareness should be as lucrative for them. After all, a town crier got paid, so why shouldn't they?

In the beginning it was a good idea since most people didn't have a clue what PTSD was or how many veterans were committing suicide other than the veterans and their families. We knew all about it since we lived it everyday. Plus we hung out with other veterans, so what was secret in our world along with pretty much everything else, was forgotten about.

Ever wonder who did what when? Considering that by the time troops were coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq, there were PTSD programs being run. Contrary to popular belief, it was happening even though the public didn't notice. (Don't you hate that when that happens? It is almost as if no one did anything, suffered from anything or waited in the VA lines before this generation showed up and no one thought about how long it had been going on.)

This is a bit of history on PTSD from the VA
In 1980, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) added PTSD to the third edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) nosologic classification scheme (2). Although controversial when first introduced, the PTSD diagnosis has filled an important gap in psychiatric theory and practice. From an historical perspective, the significant change ushered in by the PTSD concept was the stipulation that the etiological agent was outside the individual (i.e., a traumatic event) rather than an inherent individual weakness (i.e., a traumatic neurosis). The key to understanding the scientific basis and clinical expression of PTSD is the concept of "trauma."
History of the National Center for PTSD
Congressional Mandate

The National Center for PTSD was created in 1989 within the Department of Veterans Affairs in response to a Congressional mandate (PL 98-528) to address the needs of Veterans and other trauma survivors with PTSD. The Center was developed with the ultimate purpose to improve the well-being, status, and understanding of Veterans in American society.

The mandate called for a center of excellence that would set the agenda for research and education on PTSD without direct responsibility for patient care. Convinced that no single VA site could adequately serve this unique mission, VA established the Center as a consortium of five divisions.

Organization of the Center

The Center now consists of seven VA academic centers of excellence across the U.S., with headquarters in White River Junction, VT. Other divisions are located in Boston, MA; West Haven, CT; Palo Alto, CA; and Honolulu, HI, and each contributes to the overall Center mission through specific areas of focus.

The National Center for PTSD is an integral and valued component of the VA's Mental Health Services (MHS), which itself is within the Veterans Health Administration. MHS and the National Center for PTSD receive important budget support from VA, although the National Center also leverages this support through successful competition for extramural research funding.

Impact of Scientific and Clinical Interest in PTSD

Scientific and clinical interest in PTSD has grown exponentially in the past 25 years. PTSD is recognized as a major public health problem and a behavioral health problem for military Veterans and Active Duty personnel subject to the traumatic stress of war, dangerous peacekeeping operations, and interpersonal violence.

Moreover, due to the surprisingly high prevalence of assault, rape, child abuse, disaster, and severe accidental and violent trauma in the civilian arena, PTSD is a serious public health problem in the general population. It is estimated that PTSD affects more than ten million American children or adults at some point in their lives.

The Center has emerged as the leading center of excellence in research and education on PTSD. We will continue to uphold our mission to advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's Veterans and others who have experienced trauma, or who suffer from PTSD.

Now we can pretend all this is new, but it isn't. We can pretend that veterans have not been committing suicide until this generation but then we'd have to ignore the simple fact that older veterans have been committing suicide, not of just decades but for generations.

We can dismiss the fact that there has never been more done on PTSD and raising awareness on suicides connected to military service achieving more of them instead of reducing them but that won't bring them back. Do you see where I'm going with this?

Raising awareness on the end result does not raise awareness on what they need to heal and live. It does not clue them in on anything they need to know but does clue them in on not being alone wanting to die instead of live.

How about we give them what they need to understand they are not alone on struggling to heal and change again? Yep, now that's a novel idea. How about we let them know that PTSD caused a change inside of them and they can actually change again?

How about we raise awareness that millions of veterans not only live with PTSD but are living a good quality of life, healing and sharing how they did it everyday?

When things get worse with knowing more, it means the wrong lessons have been learned and frankly, that is what the veterans have been crying about for decades!

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