Do your part during PTSD Awareness Month

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas partners with New Directions to make sure our members and employees have access to the behavioral health resources they need.

More than 5 million people experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) each year

Unfortunately, many of us will experience trauma in our lifetime. A traumatic event could be anything from assault or combat to childhood neglect. Traumatic events can affect survivors, rescue workers and the friends and relatives of victims who have been involved.

Responses to such events may include feelings of fear, grief or depression. Most people report feeling better within three months after a traumatic event, but if the problems become worse or last longer than one month after the event, you may be suffering from PTSD.

Identifying PTSD

PTSD is an intense physical and emotional response to thoughts and reminders of the event that last for many weeks or months after the traumatic event. The symptoms of PTSD fall into three broad types: re-living, avoidance and increased arousal.

Symptoms of re-living include flashbacks, nightmares and extreme emotional and physical reactions to reminders of the event. Emotional reactions can include feeling guilty, extreme fear of harm and numbing of emotions. Physical reactions can include uncontrollable shaking, chills or heart palpitations, and tension headaches.

Symptoms of avoidance include staying away from activities, places, thoughts or feelings related to the trauma or feeling detached or estranged from others.

Symptoms of increased arousal include being overly alert or easily startled, difficulty sleeping, irritability or outbursts of anger, and lack of concentration.

What to do

If you’ve experienced trauma or any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. You can call the behavioral health number on the back of your health insurance card to speak with a caring mental health professional to get the care you need. Visit for additional mental health resources, available to all Kansans.

During PTSD Awareness Month in June, educate yourself and others about available treatment options. It’s never too soon – or too late – to get help.

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