Welcome everybody to the second entry of The Rainbow We Fly Over! This series will acknowledge the many-colored ribbons dedicated to mental health awareness. I cannot wait to see what this turns into!
Again, thank you all who have continuously read, especially with everything going on. I truly value everyone that takes the time out to read my entries! Every reader is greatly appreciated, and there is more to come!
As the month of June wraps up, I would love to acknowledge the awareness associated with our lovely transitional month. June is the home of National PTSD Awareness Month and its corresponding teal ribbon. Additionally, June 27th is honored as National PSTD Awareness Day! PTSD is a short acronym for a mental disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the DSM-5 (a diagnostic and statistical manual for mental disorder), people with post-traumatic stress disorder have specific criteria, such as exposure to a stressor, persistent re-experiences of the specific stressor, avoidance of the stressor, negative alterations in cognition and mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity. Those that experience PTSD may exhibit behaviors such as sleep problems, irritability, anger, recurrent dreams of the stressor, isolation, or maybe even finding outlets to cope with the situation. Within my abnormal psychology course at my university, I related the symptoms of PTSD to the Tyler Perry movie “For Colored Girls” that is based on Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf. The character Crystal Wallace, also known as the lady in brown, is a married woman with two children. Unfortunately, this woman and children experienced constant physical and emotional abuse at the hands of the father of the household, Beau Willie Brown. Brown’s behavior after returning from the Vietnam War demonstrates high aggression, impulsive violent actions, verbal abuse, and finding solace in alcohol for coping. This story is too familiar to a lot of Black veterans that have been tossed to the side after serving in the army. Yet, this story is also too familiar with many Black and unprotected families worldwide.
With the combination of everyday stressors, life-changing events, and previous risk factors, post-traumatic stress disorder is no light subject. According to the National Center for PTSD, 7-8% of the overall population will experience this disorder within their lifetime. More specifically, childhood trauma and stressors’ prevalence causes about ⅓ of the population to develop PTSD or other mental disorders. Though these percentages seem low, it is often to find comorbidity within mental disorders. Comorbidity is defined as co-occurring mental disorders that also imply worse outcomes as a result of interacting symptoms. Which brings me back to Mr. Beau Willie Brown, I also believe this character may have also suffered from alcohol use disorder as he was under the influence in many of the violent instances with his family.
Stressful situations cannot be taken lightly when someone’s health and livelihood are in conversation. We cannot continue simply writing people off as crazy, psycho, or what have you and leaving them behind. Society did that when it deemed mental health as “the awkward elephant in the room that no one talks about”, we need to protect and serve our people when our society does not. I have linked a few resources I highly recommend to either spread awareness, expand knowledge, or initiate conversations. I hope you all enjoy them! If y'all would like general links and resources about overall mental health, feel free to also check out my Lime Green entry on my Rainbow We Fly Over Series.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network: https://www.nctsn.org/resources/public-awareness
National Center for PTSD: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_adults.asp
Find a Therapist: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/gethelp/find_therapist.asp
National Alliance on Mental Illness on PTSD: https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Posttraumatic-Stress-Disorder
PTSD United: www.ptsdunited.org
Suicide Prevention Action Network: www.spanusa.org