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Politicians Share Post-Traumatic Stress Challenges

Overcoming the stigma is one of the first steps for seeking help for Post-Traumatic Stress, and dropping the term "Disorder" from the name is seen by some as a start. (U.S. Army)
Overcoming the stigma is one of the first steps for seeking help for Post-Traumatic Stress, and dropping the term "Disorder" from the name is seen by some as a start. (U.S. Army)
June 28, 2019

MANCHESTER, N.H. – How you cope with Post-Traumatic Stress isn't an issue politicians typically cover on the campaign trail. But that's what two candidates are discussing this week in New Hampshire, hoping it will help others.

Don Bolduc, a GOP candidate for U.S. Senate here in New Hampshire, and Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton – D-Salem – who is running for president – made time to share their thoughts for Post-Traumatic-Stress Awareness Day. Both decorated combat veterans, Bolduc and Moulton talk freely about their own challenges with PTS, in an effort to de-stigmatize the issue.

For retired Brigadier General Bolduc, it's about setting an example for others to seek help.

"The first step is for people who have the honor to be in leadership positions to come out and say, 'Hey listen, I got this, too; I struggle with this, too,’” says Bolduc. “‘This is something I struggled with and this is how I got help, and this is how it works for me. This is how it can work for you, and this is how we're going to make it work for you.'"

Bolduc, who announced on Monday that he's seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate from New Hampshire in 2020, made a private stop in Hudson yesterday to meet with first responders, one of the many professions at risk of experiencing traumatic stress and the high suicide levels related to it.

In separate interviews, neither Bolduc nor Moulton used the word "disorder" when discussing Post Traumatic Stress, nor did they use the common acronym PTSD. As Moulton explained, a natural reaction to trauma shouldn't be seen as a "disorder."

"When we talk about getting rid of the stigma, one of the first things I say is, 'Let's make sure we call it Post-Traumatic Stress and not Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,'” says Moulton. “This is something that's a normal human reaction to traumatic experiences. And if you seek help, and you get treatment, you can manage it and move past it."

Moulton, who returns to New Hampshire tomorrow to attend the Pride Festival in Nashua, is proposing that all active-duty military personnel and veterans have annual mental-health exams, just like a physical exam, to help prevent increased suicide rates.

Kevin Bowe, Public News Service - NH