Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Patient Advocacy 

by Lisa McPhee, Open Arms Content Writer | July 5, 2023

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PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a debilitating mental health condition that affect individuals who have experienced or witnessed traumatic events. In Canada, the prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is significant and poses a considerable burden on individuals, families, and the healthcare system. According to the Canadian Mental Health Division, it is estimated to affect 9% of Canadians at some point in their lives. It is more common in refugees, women, military personnel, first responders, healthcare professionals and amongst the indigenous population. Given the significant impact of PTSD on individuals and society, it is crucial to explore the challenges faced by those with PTSD and the role of patient advocacy in addressing their needs and promoting a more supportive and inclusive society. 

Challenges Faced by individuals with PTSD.

Stigma and Awareness: Despite growing awareness surrounding mental health issues, there remains a stigma surrounding PTSD. This can result in individuals facing social isolation, discrimination, and reluctance to seek help. Increasing awareness and reducing stigma associated with PTSD is crucial to ensure those affected can receive the support they require. 

Access to Timely and Quality Care: Long wait times, limited availability of mental health professionals and geographical barriers are all challenges afflicted individuals face. Timely and quality care is essential to prevent worsening of symptoms and promote recovery. 

Socioeconomic Impacts: PTSD can significantly impact a person’s ability to work, engage in daily activities and maintain relationships. The condition often leads to increased healthcare costs, loss of productivity and economic burden. Addressing the socioeconomic impacts of PTSD requires comprehensive support systems including financial assistance and workplace accommodations.  

Role of Patient Advocacy in Addressing PTSD. 

Patient advocacy plays a vital role in addressing the needs of individuals with PTSD. Advocacy initiatives can focus on several key areas. 

Education and Awareness: Advocacy groups can collaborate with healthcare providers, community organizations and the media to raise awareness about PTSD, the symptoms, and resources that are available. Educational campaigns can help reduce stigma and promote early intervention. 

Policy and Systemic Changes: Advocacy efforts can influence policy changes to improve access to mental health services, increase funding for PTSD research and enhance workplace accommodations for individuals struggling with PTSD. Engaging policymakers and participating in public consultations are valuable strategies to bring about changes in the system. 

Resources and Support Services: Patient advocacy groups can support individuals with PTSD by providing resources and support services. This can include support groups, helplines, informational materials, and online forums that provide guidance on treatments options, coping strategies, and further information on community resources.  

Empowering Self-Advocacy: By empowering individuals with PTSD to become self-advocates, patient advocacy groups can provide knowledge, tools, and resources to assert their rights, navigate the healthcare system and access appropriate care. Encouraging individuals to share their experiences can also contribute to efforts to reduce stigma. 

Patient advocacy plays a crucial role in addressing the challenges of accessing timely and quality care for those individuals with PTSD. By working collaboratively, healthcare professionals, policymakers and patient advocacy groups can provide a profound positive impact on the individuals affected by PTSD, reduce the associated stigma, and promote a more supportive and inclusive society. 

How can Open Arms Advocacy Help? 

We advocate for a wide array of patient issues from emergency room care, senior care, women’s health, mental health, and acute care to medical fatalities. We help patients get a second opinion, find a physician, place a complaint, or access medical documents. Open Arms also helps families of patients with guidance, support, and resources to get the answers they require. 

If you need a patient advocate, please contact us at or fill out our intake form.