HCR 25: Designating June 27, 2016, as Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Awareness Day.

00 HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 25 01 Designating June 27, 2016, as Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Awareness Day. 02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 WHEREAS the brave men and women of the armed forces of the United States who 04 proudly serve the nation and risk their lives to protect its citizens deserve the investment of 05 every possible resource to ensure their lasting physical, mental, and emotional well-being; and 06 WHEREAS post-traumatic stress occurs after a person experiences trauma and may 07 not only result from the stress of combat, but also from rape, sexual assault, battery, torture, 08 confinement, child abuse, accidents, bombings, or natural disasters; and 09 WHEREAS post-traumatic stress is characterized by numerous symptoms, including 10 flashbacks, avoidance, hypervigilance, nightmares, re-experiencing, anxiety, cognitive 11 deficits, irritability, insomnia, fatigue, and thoughts of suicide; and 12 WHEREAS combat-related post-traumatic stress is significantly pronounced, given 13 that men and women in the armed forces are highly exposed, often daily, to traumatic events, 14 including life-and-death situations, for weeks, months, and even years; and 15 WHEREAS service members and veterans often struggle with combat-related post- 16 traumatic stress for years after leaving service; and

01 WHEREAS the extreme survival skills and defensive behaviors acquired as a result 02 of service are often difficult to manage; and 03 WHEREAS post-traumatic stress has historically been viewed as a mental illness 04 caused by a preexisting flaw in a person's brain or character, and the term "post-traumatic 05 stress disorder" or "PTSD" carries a stigma that perpetuates this misconception; and 06 WHEREAS referring to a post-traumatic stress injury as a disorder perpetuates the 07 stigma against mental illness, which in turn discourages people who suffer from post- 08 traumatic stress injury from seeking proper medical treatment; and 09 WHEREAS raising awareness of the condition and eliminating the stigma may 10 encourage people affected to seek help voluntarily and allow for timely treatment that may 11 prevent suicide; and 12 WHEREAS efforts should continue to make the condition less stigmatizing and more 13 honorable to increase the number of affected people who may seek help and assistance 14 voluntarily; and 15 WHEREAS all people who suffer from post-traumatic stress injury deserve 16 recognition, and people who are affected by post-traumatic stress injury from wounds 17 received while serving the nation further deserve respect and special honor; 18 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature designates June 27, 2016, as 19 Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Awareness Day to bring awareness to the people suffering from 20 post-traumatic stress injury and encourages people to reach out to their fellow citizens to 21 provide support and eliminate the stigma associated with this injury; and be it 22 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature encourages the 23 Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs and the Department of Health and Social 24 Services to continue educating service members and veterans, victims of abuse, crime, and 25 natural disaster, their respective families, and the public about the causes, symptoms, and 26 possible treatment of post-traumatic stress injury.