Every year the month of March is Brain Injury Awareness month. Today, March 4, on Brain Injury Awareness day, four representatives introduced the TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act. This legislation is intended to “implement several measures to better train law enforcement for interactions with individuals suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
It is not easy to understand the symptoms of TBI and PTSD which can easily be confused with aggressiveness, drunkenness and being high. Just last week I got upset at a store because I was in line to pay and they kept helping people that weren’t in line or showed up after me. As I began to lose my temper I got a hold of myself and walked away, but not everyone realizes it and walks away. Something as simple as being ignored in a store can set us off and other people will not understand why or how to deal with it.
A situation like this can lead to misunderstandings, aggression and maybe even incarceration for innocent people if police or first responders don’t know how to identify a TBI/PTSD or handle these situations. TBI/PTSD are not visible or easy to identify so unless they have been trained to identify the symptoms and given information on how to keep themselves and others safe, there is no way to understand what is going on.
The more educated the public is on mental illness, the easier it is to end the stigma.
I’m a TBI survivor and I see a psychiatrist. This is what has helped me realize when I’m about to lose my temper over something stupid and what helps me be able to work it out like everyone else.