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Catholic Charities Corporation Administrative Offices:

7911 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102

(216) 334-2900

PTSD Awareness: Why it's Important to Know the Signs and Symtoms

Posted June 27, 2024

In April of 2017, Army Staff Sgt. Joe Biel of North Dakota’s National Guard took his own life following his return from his second tour of duty in the Iraq War.

Sgt. Biel was one of many who have suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Three years later, the United States Senate established June 27th,Biel’s birthday, as PTSD Awareness Day as a tribute to Staff Sgt. Biel.

This day brings awareness to the effects of PTSD and the people who are impacted by it.

According to the American Red Cross, PTSD is a mental health disorder that individuals develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event.

Although someone may have experienced trauma, it does not always lead to PTSD.

“It’s different from trauma in that you have bad, horrible things that have happened in life… Folks with PTSD have lasting symptoms. They go through different things.” Matt Talbot Inn Therapist, Lori Jarosz said.

People who have PTSD go through different obstacles than others who have experienced trauma in their lives.

“They [people with PTSD] may have intrusive thinking, bad dreams, flashbacks...” Lori said, “They may isolate or detach because of it,”

PTSD is something that needs a professional to help guide the individual through their experiences and provide tools that can help lessen their symptoms.

“There are tools out there that could be helpful that therapists can use and psychiatrists and even clergy can give to people. It’s worth exploring, especially if you don’t understand why you’re feeling this way,” Lori said.

Therapy is not the only resource people can look into. Support groups in the community not only connect an individual but also their family with others who are going through similar things.

NAMI is a great resource that can provide people support, support group information, education, and much more Lori said.

Having support outside of therapy can connect people and make them realize that they are not going through it alone.

“Having that support is so critically important, not just in the doctor’s office or therapist’s office… but also from people who might be going through similar things and knowing they’re not alone,” Lori said.

Lori believes it’s important for people to know that PTSD does not just affect military personnel. PTSD can affect all types of people regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, etc.

“There’s all kinds of things that can cause this to happen. So it’s not just people who are in the military that have PTSD,” Lori said.

Even though the term PTSD is well-known, it was not recognized in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, or DSM5 until the 1980s.

“Talking about how it affects the body and the brain, there’s so much more to know,” Lori said, “But there’s great research out there, and all you have to do is look for it.”

For those who might have recently gotten diagnosed or those showing symptoms, Lori reminds them that there is hope.

“You’ve been through so much already, and you’ve survived. Now you can thrive, but you have to give yourself the chance to do that. There’s hope. Give yourself that chance.” Lori said.

If you or someone you know has experienced a traumatic event there are many hotlines you can contact to get help:

  • The National Mental Health Hotline: 866-903-3787
  • 988 Lifeline: 988 (Press ONE (1) to speak with someone who can support veterans)
  • Crisis Text Line: TextCONNECT to741741 to speak with a trained crisis counselor
  • NAMI Greater Cleveland Helpline: 216-875-7776 (TTY 711) or email

Interested in learning about how Catholic Charities can help? Click the button below to view a list of our programs through our mental health services.

Mental Health Services

Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Part of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

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