Mental health experts sound off on Trump's PTSD comments - KCTV5

Mental health experts sound off on Trump's PTSD comments

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Glen Shepard, a Navy veteran visiting the Liberty Memorial, said some of the toughest people he knows have been through trauma. (KCTV5) Glen Shepard, a Navy veteran visiting the Liberty Memorial, said some of the toughest people he knows have been through trauma. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Mental health experts are sounding off following Donald Trump's comments about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

After experiencing trauma, especially in a war zone, it can be difficult to admit you're suffering after you've come home, health experts say.

They say encouraging people to be "strong" and talk about their emotions is how the conversation should be geared instead.

Trump's comments were made at an event that was sponsored and organized by the Retired American Warriors PAC: 

When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat and they see things that maybe a lot of folks in this room have seen many times over and you're strong and you can handle it but a lot of people can't handle it. They see horror stories, they see events you couldn't see in a movie, nobody would believe it.

You know when you hear the 22 suicides a day, it's a big part of your question, but when you hear the 22 suicides a day, that should never be. That should never be. So we're going to be addressing that very strongly. 

And the whole mental health issue is going to be a very important issue when I take over, and the VA is going to be fixed in so many ways, but that's gonna be one of the ways we're gonna help. And that's in many respects going to be the number one thing we have to do because I think it's really been left behind. 

Glen Shepard, a Navy veteran visiting the Liberty Memorial, said some of the toughest people he knows have been through trauma. 

"These people that are saying these comments, had no idea what they were under," Shepard said. "I was under some and this was peace time."

Health experts at North Kansas City Hospital worry about how PTSD is discussed, particularly when coming from a national figure.

"Their words carry power and there is still a stigma to PTSD," said James McMillan, a Signature Behavioral Health Care Program Director. "It makes them less likely to seek out the help that they need."

Amber Reed, director of clinical services, says PTSD is an illness that unfolds differently for those that have it. 

"It does change the way our brain reacts," she said. "It doesn't have anything to do with somebody's strength or ability to overcome. It's an illness that needs to be addressed like diabetes or cancer."

Both professionals stress opening up about the illness is the strongest thing one can do. 

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