PTSD & THE CHILE MINERS: Will Education Keep them Safe?
Monday, October 18th, 2010 • PTSD Recovery Tips •
PTSD and the Chile miners are on the forefront of everyone’s mind. Experts are giving Q&As estimating how many of the men will end up with PTSD symptoms (some say 3-4 out of 33), and reporters are digging to unearth traumatic details and their psychological implications.
While I’m sensitive to how the sensational coverage of the story can lead to a severe imposition on the miners’ healing privacy, I’ve been watching the television, reading the news and listening to radio reports and thinking: how lucky these men are! How many people emerge from trauma into worldwide PTSD symptom education?
While the heroic rescue is amazing and inspiring, the world’s focus on the miners’ psychological recovery is the most exciting part of this to me. Suddenly, we have an international PTSD symptom education course flooding the globe. And the coverage is fabulous. Check out these two compassionate and informative pieces:
Here’s why I think these men are so lucky: The international focus on their psychological recovery will educate, inform and – best case scenario – protect them from struggling with undiagnosed PTSD symptoms for years to come. Armed with knowledge of what a post-trauma response can be, fortified with what to look for in terms of PTSD symptoms, and surrounded by family members who have been told what to expect and how to support these men, it is quite possible that they will be able to avert the years so many of us have experienced stumbling around in the PTSD symptom darkness.
Not only that: the worldwide attention to the story and its PTSD angle does a lot in terms of PTSD PR. There are now several articles factually documenting what we all have learned through months if not years of putting the pieces together. I’m thinking today about what good might come from all of this; how so many more people will be educated for the future.
As someone who lost over 25 years to PTSD, I’ve long harbored the wish that someone had told me what to look out for when my month-long trauma ended. I have long wished someone had told my family how to recognize what was wrong with me years before the mental and physical meltdowns that temporarily decimated my life, career and body.
No one would ever want anyone to be traumatized in any kind of way. However, after trauma occurs I believe it’s essential to make meaning come out of it as part of the process of moving on. If PTSD awareness is raised by this recent event then I hope the meaning that comes out of it is a more compassionate and empathetic view of PTSD by those on the outside, and a more proactive, get-help-as-soon-as-possible view by those of us on the inside.