PTSD AND PTSI: removing the stigma

words associated with PTSD

Police officers are bound to have PTSD at some point in their careers. The horrors they see and the stress that comes with it guarantee some form of post-traumatic stress disorder. However, another term being used now is PTSI: post-traumatic stress injury. The aim is to destigmatize this diagnosis since “disorder” has a negative connotation. Injury, however, is a term that relates to people as being hurt or damaged by outside forces (such as a broken bone, concussion, etc.)

Mental health is still considered a weakness to many, so any way we can remove the stigma is a step in the right direction. We are losing too many law enforcement officers along with other first responders, military and veterans. The suicide rate is high and we need to curb this epidemic.

PTSI is described as an actual biological injury to the brain after a person experiences or witnesses a terrifying/tragic event. For many in the groups we mention and support, this is an everyday occurrence. For civilians, these events typically happen once, twice, a few times or not at all in a lifetime.

PTSI symptoms can range from flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety and pervasive thoughts of fear that affect daily living. There is extensive research on how to treat PTSI as an actual injury vs. a “mental disorder.” The fact is: a mental disorders and/or illness is a brain injury in which the chemicals are not balanced.

Our goal here at Blue Love: Off the Cuffs is to provide information, resources and support. If you are feeling any or all of these symptoms, please reach out to someone, ANYONE. You can also reach out to us directly and we will help you find resources.

This is not YOU, this is not YOUR fault. We are human and vulnerable. YOU are NOT alone.

I am a native Rhode Islander who is a wife, mother, sister, daughter and proud supporter of Blue Lives. My brother has been a police officer for the past 20+years and while he loves his job, the reality of it is, today's world is scary, times have changed and there is a continuous lack of respect for law enforcement. I am passionate about raising awareness on suicide prevention and mental health stigmas for police officers and first responder all over the country. I believe the more people talk about mental health, the less taboo it will be, espeically for the protectors.

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