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Observe PTSD Awareness Month with Atrium Health Navicent by Raising Awareness of COVID-19’s Impacts on Mental Health

PTSD Awareness Month is Observed Each June

Although vaccines are now available to protect most people aged 12 and older from COVID-19, effects may linger for some time in the form of post-traumatic stress and some individuals may be diagnosed with PTSD. In recognition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, Atrium Health Navicent urges the community to become educated about mental illness, reduce stigma associated with PTSD and help ensure that those who suffer from PTSD receive proper treatment.

PTSD is an intense physical and emotional response to thoughts and reminders of an event that last for many weeks or months afterward, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As the world copes with the impact of COVID-19, healthcare providers have noted an increase in the number of children and teenagers suffering from anxiety and depression. Children and teenagers living in poverty, the mentally ill and those who suffer from developmental delays are at greater risk. Being unable to participate in activities such as school dances, proms, graduations and other events may have long-lasting and irreversible impact.

“The impact of experiencing a potentially life-threatening illness or watching someone else do so, hearing about the seemingly unending numbers of people dying, the social isolation, and the loss of opportunity to partake in significant developmental milestones has understandably raised the anxieties of children around the globe,” said Dr. Michael Johns, an Atrium Health Navicent psychologist. “Research is also showing that some children are experiencing nightmares, increased arousal and fearfulness, and withdrawal, all of which can be signs of a post-traumatic stress reaction.”

The stress of illness, losing a loved one, quarantine, social isolation, job loss, food insecurity, remote schooling and other pandemic effects have also weighed heavily on adults.

Examples of PTSD symptoms include:

· Nightmares or difficulty sleeping

· An intense, ongoing fear or sadness

· Irritability and angry outbursts

· Becoming very upset when something causes the child or adult to remember the event

· Constantly looking for possible threats and/or being easily startled

· Reliving the event over and over in thought or in play

· A lack of positive emotions

· Acting helpless, hopeless or withdrawn

Treatment and support groups are available for those who suffer from PTSD.

To find a doctor, visit and click “Find a Doctor.”

Atrium Health’s Virtual Behavioral Health Integration Program offers patients the ability to participate in a real-time virtual care visit with a behavioral health professional while at their physician’s office without the need to make a second appointment or delay care. For more information, visit

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and well-being through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit