HELENA — The Montana VA is encouraging everyone to consider those with PTSD before lighting off their fireworks for the Independence Day holiday.
While fireworks are expected on the evening of July 4th, the VA says they’re not always expected or appreciated on the days before or after, especially in the early morning hours.
One way to make it easier for your neighbors with PTSD is to check in with them and alert them of your plans before lighting off fireworks.
“I think a reason to care and a reason to be mindful of firework usage is to just know that even though you are well intended with fireworks and they're fun for you and you're having a good time, know that they are stressful or can be stressful for other folks,” says Tyler Halford, Clinical Psychologist at the Montana VA.
Additionally, veterans and those with PTSD can reach out to family members, friends, and support systems. Veterans with healthcare from MTVAHCS can speak with a counselor for methods to deal with PTSD. Earplugs, headphones, and even getting out of town can be helpful options.
Pat Moritz, a veteran with PTSD herself and Peer Support Specialist at the Montana VA, says that she wants to remind fellow veterans that they are not alone and that there are resources to help them get better
“Well, I think it's important for all the veterans to know that they're not the only ones going through this. It's not exclusively to veterans, but for the folks that are in the military or veterans themselves that have PTSD, that there is treatment. Doesn't mean it's going to completely go away, but you can learn how to handle the symptoms and the reactions and responses to it. And I think that that's worth its weight in gold because it can give us our life back,” says Moritz.