NEWS: Rep. Tuck Champions Increased Awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries

Senate Bill 152 Names June 27 as Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Awareness Day in Alaska

Anchorage – Today, legislation was signed into law naming September 11 as Patriot Day and June 27 as Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Day in Alaska. Senate Bill 152, sponsored by Senator Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage), was initially only focused on recognizing Patriot Day but through the legislative process, the bill was amended to include language sponsored by Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) establishing a Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) Day in Alaska.

“Post-traumatic stress injuries can happen to anyone put into a position where they fear for their safety. Like almost everyone, I thought PTSI only impacted soldiers and those who experienced the horrors of war, but I was wrong. The latest research shows that PTSI is more common and more significant than previously thought, which is why it is time to raise awareness and work to eliminate the stigma associated with post-traumatic stress injuries,” said Rep. Tuck, who serves as the Majority Leader in the Alaska House of Representatives.

The Global Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Foundation estimates that almost 260 million people worldwide suffer from PTSI and in the United States about 3.5 percent of all adults are diagnosed annually with PTSI. It’s estimated that up to 20 percent of the over 2.6 million U.S. service members deployed to Iraq have or may develop PTSI symptoms. The negative impacts of PTSI are not just limited to adults. A recent study found that over 60 percent of all children experienced or witnessed at least one traumatic event before the age of 17. The impacts of traumatic events on children are often more far-reaching than trauma to adults because children have fewer emotional and intellectual resources to cope with trauma.

“My hope is that by having a Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Day in Alaska we can focus the attention of the news media, health care professionals, and other stakeholders on what PTSI is and the ways these injuries can be treated. The data is clear that the best chance to recover from post-traumatic stress injuries is when they are detected and treated early,” said Rep. Tuck.

Senate Bill 152 unanimously passed the Alaska State Senate in February and the Alaska House of Representatives unanimously passed the bill in April. Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed SB 152 into law today during a ceremony at the Anchorage Fire Department’s Station 1 in downtown Anchorage.

For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.