Fireworks may be a PTSD trigger for some combat veterans

How the booming sound of fireworks can affect veterans
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 8:35 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The Fourth of July is a day to take a break and celebrate freedom.

Without a doubt, fireworks are the main attraction for most celebrations.

However, for some of those that served to maintain that freedom we celebrate, the sounds of the fireworks take their minds back to a place of danger.

More often than not, fireworks are set off in the middle of the night when others are trying to sleep. It can be bad enough for someone worried about getting enough sleep because they have work in the morning, but it is amplified for a combat veteran with PTSD.

At the VA Clinic in Bowling Green, there are 4,238 veterans in their care.

Penny Ritchie, Center Operations Director of the clinic estimates that at least 25% of those are treated for PTSD.

That is just over 1,000 veterans at one clinic.

However, she says, “If I had to guess how many of our veterans actually have PTSD, it would probably be closer to 75%.”

Combat veterans may be your neighbors suffering in silence because of the stigma of seeking help with mental health.

A company out of Indiana called Military with PTSD offers yard signs, free of charge, to combat veterans with PTSD to bring awareness to their neighbors.

However, the company is having difficulty filling orders and getting the signs out to those that desperately need them.

It can be difficult to transition from a deployment or training situation to home life for some.

A traumatic event can cause a veteran to live in a state of constant heightened awareness.

Jennifer Cromer, Primary Care Social Worker, at the Bowling Green VA Clinic says “Even though you know and have the awareness of I’m at home, I’m safe, I’m with people who care about me and support me... You can’t turn off what the body remembers or what the mind remembers.”

Cromer suggests reaching out to your combat veteran neighbors. Reach out to your civilian neighbors. Communication can be the key to celebrating responsibly and conscientiously.

Veterans experiencing a crisis during the holidays can call the VA or the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.

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