Independence Day celebrations can trigger PTSD in veterans. VA New Jersey Healthcare

EAST ORANGE, N.J. — Fireworks on Independence Day are an American tradition, but mental health experts say holiday-makers should look out for neighbors who served in the military.

“They were exploding to our left, they were exploding to our right. I had no idea,” says Vietnam War veteran Rick Young.
Young recalls serving in Vietnam.
“We had a rocket attack that night,” he says.
It’s been 50 years since Young served in the military, but memories of his first decade of dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder are still vivid, especially when he returned home around the Fourth of July celebration. He says it remains in
“While others are happily watching these things happen… I can watch the fireworks take off and go back to that particular instance,” he says.
According to the National Center for PTSD, the number of veterans with disabilities varies by age. 15 of his 100 veterans who have served in Vietnam suffer from his PTSD. About 30% of Young’s peers attending the service will experience PTSD in her lifetime.
Bradley Jacobs, Suicide Prevention Coordinator at the Department of Veterans Affairs, says 4th of July celebrations can trigger PTSD reactions.
“It could be large crowds, bright lights, certain smells, the sound of explosives,” says Jacobs.
Young says he can relate to this.
“It was the first time I had seen fireworks up close and personally, and I had a strong desire to find a foxhole as soon as possible,” he says.
Jacobs says it’s important for veterans who may be suffering from PTSD to learn the warning signs and know who to talk to in a crisis.
“Who are you asking for help? Have those numbers ready. It’s very important to have some kind of relationship when you’re going through an emotional reaction,” Jacobs said. say.
Veterans, as well as their friends, family and neighbors, are encouraged to call the Veteran Crisis Line if they suspect PTSD. And as the holidays approach, mental health providers want to remind Americans to look out for the friends, family, or neighbors they’ve served.
PTSD looks different for each person, but signs to look out for include, but are not limited to, clenching your teeth or fists, walking around, shortness of breath, and strong emotional reactions.

Related Links:
Veterans Crisis Line: 800-273-8255, press Option 1
Text: 838255

Experts warn some Independence Day celebrations can trigger PTSD in veterans (

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