Managing PTSD Triggers During Independence Day Celebrations

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

The American Tradition of celebrating Independence Day brings people together, but the mental health of those who have served in the Armed Forces can suffer due to stress and the reminder of wartime. 

Fireworks, large crowds, bright lights, and certain smells and sounds of explosives can bring back traumatic memories for veterans. Fifteen out of every 100 veterans who served in Vietnam suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). About 30% of Young’s peers in the service will experience PTSD in their lifetime (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs 2021). 

This holiday season, here are some tips for veterans:

Talk With Your Neighbors

Find out from your neighbors if they plan to light fireworks. This can help with planning ahead to minimize the risk of increased anxiety or panic attacks. If you do not feel comfortable talking with your neighbors, ask a family member to talk to them instead.

Create a Relaxing Environment

Plan ahead of time to figure out what you want to do or have during the holiday. Some ideas include:

  • Sitting in a hard chair or on a flat surface with your back up against the wall. This can make PTSD sufferers feel safer.
  • Create a soothing music playlist or a favorite movie for distraction.
  • Find activities to keep busy, such as a good book or board game
  • Find a deep breathing exercise 
  • Avoid crowds 
  • Acceptance & Gratitude

Don’t be critical of how you may react. Friendly reminders that you are okay, the fireworks are temporary, and you are safe are ways to be good to yourself. 

Veterans and their friends and family are encouraged to call the veterans crisis line if there's a concern about PTSD. PTSD looks different for every person. Some of the signs to look for include, but not limited to, clenching teeth or fists, pacing, shortness of breath, and strong emotional reactions.

For more information, you can reach out to us, where you can schedule a consultation and talk about your counseling needs. 

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 25 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information about our funeral, cremation, memorial, repast, and grief counseling services, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at


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