Screening is Encouraged during PTSD Awareness Month - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Screening is Encouraged during PTSD Awareness Month

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June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness month.

The disorder affects thousands of combat veterans every year, many of whom never seek out help.

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, June 20th is designated as PTSD screening day, a day where you are encouraged to answer a few questions that may reveal a lot.

"We were in Iraq I was with the 141st Engineer Combat Battalion." says Lt. Col. Warren Pauling, Bismarck.

Warren Pauling says the military did a good job taking care of his physical injuries, but the effects of war can cause more damage than you see on the outside.

"Those who think that you're weak if you have PTSD is far from the truth, it's very far from the truth." says Pauling.

Soldiers often internally deal with everything from anxiety to nightmares to avoidance.

"It's not the same for everyone, avoidance is one of those areas that I had, I would just avoid many different situations, things that people take for granted, and it would just bother me, 4th of July is one of those, it would just bother me to be around any type of fireworks." says Pauling.

Symptoms to be aware of.

June 20th is PTSD Screening Awareness Day.

A day when veterans are encouraged to answer a handful of questions that may reveal a lot.

"The worst case scenario would be I suppose someone we would never lay eyes on, they battle the issues in their own mind, they don't end up talking about it." says Dr. Margo Norton, psychologist with Fargo VA Mental Health Services.

The Veterans Affairs Clinic in Fargo has been working on their outreach across the state, they want more soldiers to get screened, but can't force it either.

"Certainly PTSD treatment is not something we want to twist their arm or pressure them to do, PTSD is really a feeling of a lack of control, we want them to feel some control about the experience, ideally we want them to ask for help before we offer it." says Dr. Margo Norton.

Help can come from a multitude of military services.

"The best case scenario is getting connected to treatment providers, getting education about the treatments that are offered and offering them the choice." says Dr. Norton.

For someone who chose to seek out help with a nudge from his wife, it's worth checking into.

"Like I say there is help out there for you and the sooner you go in for help, that starts the journey, and it is a journey, because it doesn't get fixed in one single day, it takes a long time, and sometimes, more trips just to get over and talk through some of those issues." says Pauling.

June 27th is national PTSD Awareness Day--recognized in honor of a North Dakota Army National Guard soldier who died by suicide after his second tour of duty in Iraq.

The 27th isStaff Sgt. Joe Biel's birthday.

For more information on PTSD, where to get screened, how to ask for help, how family members can help, you can visit

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