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Fort Campbell’s Blanchfield Army Community Hospital promotes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder awareness

 

Written by Megan Broadnax
APSU Intern

Blanchfield Army Hospital - BACH - Fort Campbell KYFort Campbell, KY – Blanchfield Army Community Hospital’s behavioral health team has diligently been promoting post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) awareness to the Fort Campbell community this week.

The awareness events culminate on National PTSD Awareness Day Friday, June 27th as chief of behavioral health Maj. Joe Wise and Blanchfield Army Community Hospital commander Col. George N. Appenzeller spoke to staff and patients about PTSD at 11:30am in the hospital’s “A” building entrance lobby.

Wanda Jobe, a contractor who works on Fort Campbell, accepts a PTSD Awareness Day shirt and asks Samantha Rogers, from Military Pathways, questions about PTSD resources June 25, 2014 at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital. "I think that I may have an undiagnosed case of PTSD myself and I am working through my own issues," said Jobe. "Hopefully this information will help me work through what I'm going though and maybe I can use it to help my friends." (U.S Army photo by Stacy Rzepka)

Wanda Jobe, a contractor who works on Fort Campbell, accepts a PTSD Awareness Day shirt and asks Samantha Rogers, from Military Pathways, questions about PTSD resources June 25, 2014 at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital. “I think that I may have an undiagnosed case of PTSD myself and I am working through my own issues,” said Jobe. “Hopefully this information will help me work through what I’m going though and maybe I can use it to help my friends.” (U.S Army photo by Stacy Rzepka)

Appenzeller and Wise supported the week’s activities while their team partnered with Military Pathways to offer more than 700 free t-shirts and informational materials to patients and staff June 24th-25th at the main hospital and within the Soldier and Family-Centered Medical Homes on Fort Campbell and in Clarksville.

BACH’s behavioral health team also promoted PTSD awareness at the Post Exchange June 23rd.

Hospital staff and patients lined up to receive the PTSD awareness t-shirts, which grab attention with large letters on the front stating, “Proud, Tough, Strong, Determined,” and the words, “It takes a different kind of courage,” imprinted on the back.

Both Appenzeller and Wise emphasized that PTSD Awareness Day is an opportunity to highlight Army Medicine’s Top Priorities – “Readiness and Health of the Force,” and “Health of Families and Retirees” to increase and optimize health, build resiliency and promote healthy behaviors. They shared different options for treatment and the importance of encouraging loved ones to seek help.

“Anyone can be affected by PTSD, from Soldiers and civilians to children and the elderly,” said Wise.  “Although anyone may be at risk for PTSD following traumatic experiences like car accidents, combat, sexual assault and natural disasters, not everyone who experiences trauma gets PTSD,” he explained. “In fact, the majority of people are able to naturally heal.”

Sherry Fanara, provider resiliency trainer and licensed professional counselor for Blanchfield Army Community Hospital hands a PTSD Awareness shirt to Angie Summers, a registered nurse in BACH’s Same Day Surgery June 25, 2014 to help promote PTSD awareness. BACH staff members are encouraged to wear their t-shirts on National PTSD Awareness Day Friday, June 27. (U.S Army photo by Stacy Rzepka)

Sherry Fanara, provider resiliency trainer and licensed professional counselor for Blanchfield Army Community Hospital hands a PTSD Awareness shirt to Angie Summers, a registered nurse in BACH’s Same Day Surgery June 25, 2014 to help promote PTSD awareness. BACH staff members are encouraged to wear their t-shirts on National PTSD Awareness Day Friday, June 27. (U.S Army photo by Stacy Rzepka)

Wise explained that many PTSD treatment options are available at Fort Campbell for Soldiers and Families. “For those who do get PTSD, it is important to note that it is a very treatable condition,” said Wise. “Here at Fort Campbell, we offer evidence-based psychotherapy as well as medication for this condition, which have been demonstrated as effective treatments for PTSD.”

Appenzeller explained that recovery begins within a safe and supportive environment where behavioral health treatment can be sought and received by those who need it.

“The most important thing that our friends and Families can do is encourage their loved ones to get help when they need it,” said Appenzeller. “As Family and close friends, it is important to let the Soldiers know that seeking help is a sign of strength and we want to encourage that in all of our Soldiers and our Family members.”

The Department of Defense partnered with Military Pathways to offer anonymous mental health self-assessments on their website, complete with helpful tools and apps to help Soldiers and Families with PTSD, depression, alcohol, anxiety disorder, suicide, resilience and more.

The free and anonymous self-assessment and resources are available at www.mlitarymentalhealth.org

Military Pathways representatives Haley Fishman and Samantha Rogers flew from Massachusetts to promote the PTSD events at Fort Campbell this week. Fishman said the purpose of their visit was all about awareness. “We really like to promote our site that has online mental health self-assessments that are free and for anyone to go online and take, said Fishman. “The best thing is that it is anonymous; you can do it on your own.”

Rogers said that she feels getting a conversation started helps address the problem. “By raising awareness with the t shirts and the logos, it gets people thinking and a conversation started,” said Rogers.

If you know someone who is suffering with PTSD symptoms and has not sought help, please refer them to their primary care provider so they can begin seeking treatment right away.  Early intervention and treatment of behavioral health diagnoses and symptoms promotes improved well being.


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