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Anticipatory Vigilance: Posttraumatic Stress Injury (PTSI)

Posttraumatic Stress Injury (PTSI)

When a person does not have a diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), but does have symptoms of a mental health injury (anxiety, depression, etc.) it is called a Posttraumatic Stress Injury (PTSI). For PSP, PTSI can happen at any time, but is more common later in a career due to a buildup of exposures over time.  PSP family members can be heavily impacted by their own traumatic exposures as well as those of their PSP member.

Stigma around Posttraumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) in PSP sectors

Some PSP might find it hard or hesitate to seek help for mental health concerns. This can be because of the ongoing stigma around mental illness, the structure of PSP organizations, and the communities in which they live. Stigma describes the negative attitudes and perceptions around mental illness. In the Global North, much work is being done to dispel the myth that mental illness is a weakness.

Because of their roles, PSP are often presumed to be strong and courageous in all that they do. There might be a feeling that they are letting the team and community down if PSP seek mental health support. Many PSP have reported feeling this expectation of courage and strength, and so fear the labels that might come with seeking support. PSP also fear that this could have an impact on their jobs.

When stigma prevents PSP from seeking out care, it increases the strain placed on other family members. They may have to cope with behavioural changes in the PSP and an increase in household responsibilities because the PSP is unable or unwilling to contribute. The stigma can also lead to isolation for both the PSP and family members. PSP might be afraid that others will not accept or trust them or will think less of them. They may avoid going out and, in turn, reduce chances for their families to socialize with extended family and friends.

Effects of PTSI on PSP Families

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References for this page (click to expand)

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