PTSD Awareness Day, also known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day, is an observance held annually on June 27th. The day is meant to raise awareness about PTSD and its effects on individuals, families, and communities. There are currently about 12 million people in the United States living with PTSD, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs.
PTSD is a mental health condition that can trigger compliance requirements for employers under both the FMLA and the ADA. Learn how Asure can help your business comply with federal and state laws here.
What Is PTSD?
PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. This can include a
being involved in a car crash.
being raped or sexually assaulted
being abused, harassed, or bullied
being kidnapped or held hostage
PTSD can cause symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance, and negative changes in mood and cognition, among others. It can be a debilitating condition that affects a person’s quality of life, relationships, and ability to function in daily life.
According to a published research paper by health psychologist Dr. Danica C. Slavish, “greater PTSD symptoms predicted nightmares and poorer sleep quality that night.” Obviously, this can impact an employee’s performance in the workplace.
PTSD Awareness Day aims to increase public understanding of PTSD, reduce stigma, and encourage people to seek help if they are experiencing symptoms. It is also an opportunity to show support for individuals with PTSD and their families and to recognize the contributions of healthcare professionals and advocates who work to prevent and treat PTSD. PTSD Awareness Day was first established by the U.S. Senate in 2010, and it has been observed annually since then.
7 Ways Small and Midsize Businesses Can Participate in PTSD Awareness Day
1. Host a Fundraiser
Consider hosting a fundraiser to support a PTSD-related charity or organization. This could involve a donation drive or a special event to raise funds and awareness. Fundraiser ideas include putting together a silent auction or a benefit concert, with the proceeds going to a PTSD-related charity or organization.
Your business could partner with a local mental health center, women’s shelter, or veterans’ organization that provides services and support to individuals with PTSD. Reach out to fellow local businesses and community leaders to donate items for the silent auction or to perform at the benefit concert.
In my town, a local restaurant owner promoted a karaoke night with prizes. Part of the proceeds from the cover charge and drinks went to support a local charity. You can take this idea and use it to support PTSD Awareness. The restaurant owner has garnered a lot of goodwill in the community through the years because of actions like this. This has undoubtedly boosted his reputation as an employer and the restaurant’s brand with customers.
2. Create Social Media Content
Develop and share social media posts, graphics, or videos to raise awareness about PTSD and its impact. Use hashtags like #PTSDAwarenessDay to join the conversation and reach a wider audience. You can create a series of posts to share facts and statistics about PTSD. Here are some PTSD stats you can share to raise awareness:
PTSD affects more than twice as many women (10%) as men (4%), according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
70% of adults in the U.S. experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime, according to the Sidran Institute
PTSD in adults is highest in 45- to 59-year-olds, according to Harvard Medical School.
A study of 1,938 veterans found PTSD prevalence of about 14% for those who served in Iraq, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
On your company’s social media channels, you might also encourage people to share personal stories. These stories from people who have experienced PTSD can help reduce stigma and inspire hope.
3. Offer Support to Employees
Provide resources and support to employees who may be struggling with PTSD or other mental health issues. This could include access to counseling services, mental health days, or other accommodations. You may choose to offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) that can connect employees with mental health professionals.
Another option is to offer accommodations at work that can be low-cost or no-cost to implement. Melanie Whetzel is the lead consultant on the Cognitive & Neurological Team at the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). JAN offers expert guidance on disability employment issues and is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Whetzel told the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) that offering flexible scheduling for an affected employee can help. An employee can be on a later schedule if their medications preclude them from working early. Or some employees with PTSD work better when the office is quiet when most people are gone.
A flexible schedule also helps an employee get to medical and counseling appointments. “We frequently recommend temporary or trial accommodations,” Whetzel said. “Try it and see if something works, and if it doesn’t work, then you’re not tied to it forever.”
By offering support to employees, your business can create a culture that prioritizes mental health and well-being. This can increase employee engagement and productivity and improve overall job satisfaction. To learn more about how Asure can help with HR services such as compliance and increasing employee productivity, click here.
4. Educate Your Team
On PTSD Awareness Day, provide training and education to your employees about PTSD and how it can affect people. This can promote understanding and empathy. Your business could organize a lunch-and-learn session, a training workshop, or invite a mental health professional to speak about PTSD.
Encourage open and honest communication about mental health in the workplace and provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals to share their experiences. This could include creating a mental health policy or statement that outlines the company’s commitment to supporting the mental health and well-being of its employees. These actions can nurture a more compassionate and empathetic workplace culture.
5. Share Stories
With permission, share stories from individuals who have experienced PTSD or have been affected by the condition. Highlight the challenges and triumphs of living with PTSD and provide hope and inspiration to others who may be going through a similar experience.
You might also share stories of folks who have sought help for their PTSD and have been able to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Stories connect people. This can humanize your business and build your brand reputation as a business that cares about people. This matters to your bottom line. 60% of Gen Z agree that the “brands they shop with are an expression of who they are,” according to a recent survey from Wunderman Thompson Intelligence shared.
Encourage your team to volunteer with a PTSD-related organization or charity. This could involve donating time or resources to support a cause related to PTSD. One volunteering idea is to organize a charity walk to raise funds for PTSD research and treatment. Another way to volunteer is to provide assistance with activities or services at a local mental health clinic or support group for individuals with PTSD.
Here at Asure, we offer employees VTO (Volunteering Time Off) to encourage our employees to do good in their community. By volunteering, your business can make a positive impact on the community and support individuals who are affected by PTSD. This can also cultivate team building and employee engagement while promoting the values of social responsibility and community involvement.
7. Partner with Other Businesses
Partner with other businesses in your community to raise awareness and funds for PTSD-related causes. This could involve joint events or initiatives to support the cause. For example, you could collaborate with a mental health clinic or a counseling center to organize a PTSD screening or education event for the community.
Reach out to other businesses to create a fundraising campaign for a PTSD research or treatment organization. Consider donating a portion of the profits on PTSD Awareness Day to support the cause. In addition to being a wonderful way to help those suffering from PTSD, you will also grow your network with collaborations such as these.
PTSD Awareness Day helps raise awareness about its impact on individuals and communities. Victims of sexual assault and combat veterans make up a significant percentage of those suffering. Small and midsize businesses such as yours can do something meaningful to help people, all while enhancing your brand’s reputation.
Consider participating in various activities such as hosting fundraisers, creating social media content, educating your team, sharing stories, offering support to employees, volunteering, and partnering with other businesses. By engaging in these activities, businesses can help to reduce the stigma surrounding PTSD, promote awareness and understanding of the condition, and support individuals who are affected by it.
By taking part in PTSD Awareness Day, your business can demonstrate its commitment to social responsibility and community involvement. Your business can also be proactive about making accommodations for workers with PTSD. In fact, you may be required to by federal and local laws, including the FMLA and the ADA.
Asure offers affordable and expert HR services to help you comply with laws and regulations, all while building your brand. Learn more here.