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Art exhibit raises awareness for PTSD

Staff report

Veterans and survivors of trauma are invited to submit art work for the fourth annual Expressions of PTSD art exhibit, which will be on display Wednesday, June 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Salisbury VA Medical Center.

The annual exhibit aims to raise awareness during Post Traumatic Stress Disorder awareness month by sharing the unique artistic expressions of veterans and trauma survivors.

Veterans, family members and the public are invited to attend the exhibit, which will be held in the lobby of Building 2 on the Salisbury VA campus at 1601 Brenner Ave.

Submissions for prior exhibits included photographs, paintings, drawings, sculpture, poetry, music and other unique artistic expressions. Veterans or individuals interested in submitting artwork or executing a performance art piece can call the Salisbury VA PTSD art exhibit team at 704-638-9000, extension 5525.

PTSD is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident or sexual assault. Symptoms of PTSD include persistent intrusive thoughts and distressing dreams about the traumatic event, triggered emotional responses to reminders of the trauma, efforts to avoid thinking or talking about the trauma and persistent hypervigilance for cues that indicate additional danger or trauma re-occurring.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, about 7 percent to 8 percent of the population will have PTSD at some point in their lives, and the number of veterans who have experienced PTSD ranges from 11 to 20 percent for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to an estimated 30 percent for Vietnam veterans over the course of their lifetime.

If you or a veteran you know is in crisis, find a facility near you or contact the Veterans Crisis Line. Veterans and their loved ones can call toll-free at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, chat online at www.veteranscrisisline.net, or send a text message to 838255. Support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. In the event of an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

For enrollment information, contact the Salisbury VA Medical Center at 704-638-9000, extension 3470, or contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-877-222-VETS (8387), or visit online at https://explore.va.gov/health-care.

In 2010 the U.S. Senate designated June 27 as National PTSD Awareness Day to bring greater awareness to the issue of PTSD. In addition, June is designated annually as PTSD Awareness Month by the National Center for PTSD.

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