NOT JUST SOLDIERS
This project is a requirement of the GOA Abnormal Psychology Course. Using the process of design thinking, a challenge in the world of mental health was identified, interviews and research were undertaken, and a solution prototype was developed. Below you will find information about the identified area of concern and my proposed solution. Please feel free to provide feedback on this prototype, using questions such as “How might we…”, “What if….?”, “I wonder….”, “I like…”, and “I wish.” Keep the comments positive, please. For more information on the process of Design Thinking, click here.
War after war we hear about the traumatic experiences people have and the intense affects it has on the mind. Many soldiers of battle come back home with serious issues of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), however we never hear about the 5.5 million cases of PTSD that involve children and adolescents in the United States. PTSD can be caused by a series of tragic events ranging from fires or car crashes to sexual or physical abuse. From research and previous cases, psychologists are able to see that PTSD comes from the following:
– 65% neglect
– 18% physical abuse
– 10% sexual abuse
– 7% psychological (mental) abuse
On top of that three to ten million children witness family violence each year while around 40% – 60% of those violences involves child physical abuse, and these are the ones that we know of (two thirds of child abuse cases are never reported). This just shows how many young people experience these intense traumas and how it can impact them mentally.
The risks having to do with PTSD are very severe and can last years, especially if they are not treated properly.Symptoms of this disorder may start immediately after the event has taken place or can develop as long as months or years later. There are four different types of symptoms a person with PTSD can go through. The first is reliving the traumatic event which could include bad repeating memories or nightmares. Some even say that they feel as though they are going through the event again, like a flashback. The second type of symptoms of a person with PTSD is that the person may try to avoid any type of situation that reminds them of that traumatic time out of fear that the situation will trigger and old memory. These people may avoid talking or even thinking about the event that happened to them. The third type of symptom that may occur is that the person might have more negative feelings and beliefs than they did in the past. The way the person might think about themselves and others may change because of the damaging event that happened in their life. For example, a person who has PTSD might feel guilt or shame or feel as though the world is a dangerous place to live in and not trust anyone else. This can be extremely difficult on the individual and can takes years to soften. Finally, the fourth type of symptom is hyperarousal. A person experiencing this symptom may find themselves jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. They may have a hard time concentrating or sleeping, and may even go to drugs and alcohol to try to control their emotions which can lead to other serious issues. These affects can especially be dangerous in teenagers since their minds haven’t completely developed yet, so they may be impulsive and show aggressive behaviors to others.
So many people forget that young adults and even children can have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from dramatic events that lead to serious trauma. I believe that it is important to address this in our community so that these people do not feel weak or discouraged about the trauma that they have to face. I believe that in this way we need to spread awareness of this issue so that we are able to further help these people. Below there is a video about a seventeen year old named Terrance who struggled with PTSD and depression in his own life.
I have created a blog to try and spread awareness about PTSD in young adults. In the blog I have included stories from others who have experienced PTSD at a young age and also a story from someone who tries to treat patients with PTSD. I hope that by reading these stories and reading about the misunderstandings of PTSD that others will also understand the importance of what I am trying to get across to people and gain empathy for them. Below you can see the home of the webpage.
The next step is to reach out and spread the word. I am able to get the word out to those around me but for this to be effect I will need everyone’s help to continue the expansion of awareness about PTSD. To do so with my blog I will show it to others and try to create it so people can add their own posts and share their own ideas so that there will be a wide variety of stories and perspectives.