The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and for most people, it can be a fun way to celebrate our nation’s birthday. Millions of Americans set off fireworks in the days leading up to the holiday. While fireworks may provide a festive atmosphere for the Fourth of July, it may affect others adversely.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 20% of military personnel who served in Iraq or Afghanistan experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) each year. For these veterans, sudden and loud noises can trigger painful and traumatic memories of their experiences in combat. Something as simple as a “Boom!” can also cause feelings of isolation or rage.

What are some ways you can be mindful of using fireworks during this time of year?

  • Refrain from setting off fireworks late at night.
  • Be courteous of neighbors who have PTSD by letting them know you will be setting off fireworks in advance.
  • Many veterans with PTSD put signs in their front yards to make neighbors aware of this condition. Be on the lookout for those in your neighborhood!

Also, if you are a veteran with PTSD, you can join a support group for others suffering from PTSD to help you get through the holiday.

PTSD can happen to anyone, and it is not a sign of weakness. It can occur from a number of factors in a person’s life, many of which are outside of his or her control. This includes physical and/or sexual abuse, a car accident, or the unexpected death of a loved one, among other things.

Heartland Family Service offers a variety of counseling practices and methods to help those dealing with PTSD cope with their symptoms and triggers. For more information about our counseling services, visit http://heartlandfamilyservice.org/counseling-prevention/mental-health-counseling/.